Posted on December 2016 By Speller International
One of the great joys – and challenges – of working in a sector so intertwined with technology is that things are always changing.
New product releases, novel processes, faster and more efficient ways of doing things… the pace can be relentless! While it’s exciting to be part of such a dynamic industry, it pays every now and then to take stock and read the tea leaves for what’s coming next.
Thankfully the trends that will define the industry as we move into 2017 are familiar enough. ‘The Big Three’ of Cloud, Mobility and Analytics continue to be the overriding themes. The key differences? The instrumental technologies and platforms have matured and, for many businesses, are starting to truly deliver on their promises.
With that in mind, lets look a little closer at what’s happening in these areas at present, and what we can expect for each over the year ahead.
Cloud continues to spread
Given the cost savings and reduction in technological complexity that a shift to the cloud can achieve for many businesses, it comes as no surprise that we have seen – and will continue to see – companies either investigating or transitioning to cloud-based platforms for their SAP systems.
The move away from on-premises services has been dramatic, with less than a quarter of companies even considering traditional infrastructure for their future software purchases and the running of their business.
In fact, the majority of the clients that we recruit for are looking closely at the advanced capabilities the cloud enables – particularly with S4/HANA – in order to offer their business users the power and flexibility of the new features on offer.
But with all big changes comes some key challenges.
One of the challenges our clients have faced are the Updates – being periodic and not always controllable.
This has been an area some of our FMCG clients have particularly struggled with as a balance needs to be struck between staying up to date and not impacting the system in crucial business periods.
Another challenge has been Integration. Cloud has opened the door for very mixed IT environments, and it is usual for previously full SAP customers to now have non-SAP systems as well as SAP on-premise and SAP Cloud….. needless to say they still need to be integrated!
On this point, we are now seeing an increase in Service Delivery Manager related roles as new support frameworks need to be established which are harder to manage, support, and ensure KPI’s across many different vendors.
Anywhere, anytime access everywhere: the growing reach of Enterprise Mobility
Enterprise Mobility has been a massive topic over the last few years in the marketplace, with many workplaces discovering the transformative potential of remote working.
From our perspective the Utilities, Infrastructure and Logistics companies were the ‘early adopters’ in this space and they continue to invest more and more into it.
With Fiori apps being the latest topic of discussion, more specifically who is the right person to develop them?
Big data, analytics and the numbers game
Big data has been a buzzword for a good while now. The difficulty has been in deriving value from it, given the challenges of accurately leveraging insights from the sheer volume of information that is collected today. How good the data is, and how easy it is to pull together and actually use, have been ongoing issues for many companies.
Having quality data readily accessible has been a major focus over the last year, and will become even more important in 2017. The benefits of being able to easily co-ordinate and interpret large datasets will prove to be an inestimable worth. Pulling together business reports quickly and efficiently with all forms of data – whether traditional data or big data – is now a business essential, rather than a ‘nice-to-have’.
Onwards to the future
Clearly, we see an ongoing evolution of what has been key foundational technologies of the modern enterprise continue to take centre-stage in 2017.
Whether it be the growing adoption of cloud-enabled HR software platforms like SAP SuccessFactors and how it centralises HR and payroll functions, or the streamlining of B2B supply chains through solutions like Ariba, the future is here.
Our advice for those looking to maximise the benefits of these shifts over 2017?
Stay agile, analyse the benefit/cost ratios of new technology, don’t underestimate integration and recognise that new frameworks and support models will need to be put into place … keep your feet on the ground and eyes on the Cloud!