The pandemic impact on business in the SAP sector

Posted on July 2020 By Speller International
The Pandemic Impact On Business In The Sap Sector

Disruption to a business’s supply chain is not new. We see it during natural disasters, Geo Political issues and labour tensions. What is new is the global size and reach the effect the global pandemic has had on each industry.

In this blog we take a look at how the financial, retail and manufacturing sectors have been impacted.

Financial & Services Sectors

Most of our big banks and large service companies outsource an element of their work for either support, processing or call centres. When those support partners were unable to work from the office, it impacted the client’s ability to use these large labour forces to assist.

This was compounded further by job losses and stalled economy which caused a peak in administration as there was a new need for hardship relief, associated applications, system changes and customer care.

So, what will change?

This sector will quickly accelerate their digital offerings, and make face to face interactions truly out dated, they will increase their local hiring and bring back some of the outsourced services.

Their reliance on manual data entry and processing will be heavily scrutinised, and a revamp of their backend systems is well over due. Once the full impact of COVID is understood, we will see them spend big on leading digital tech to streamline efficiencies and run leaner.

This will lead to new applications and data sources entering their eco system which will require development, integration and support. With many of these companies running large SAP eco systems, this will result in an increase to business lead projects, and increase demand on SAP contract resources.


Retail has increasingly shifted to online. This means that this industry has had simple and easy ways to apply solutions to the disruption. However, what they had not accounted for was the disruption to their supply and freight network from their manufacturers and warehouses.

Delivery times lines were thrown out, uncertainty of when products will arrive to distribute, a total lack of forward planning and the ability to project demand lead to poor customer experience and identified weaknesses in business models.

So, what will change?

We predict an acceleration of businesses existing strategies, a focus on their customer experience and customer profiling through use of AI, CRM data, and digital interaction platforms, fixed supply chains will be heavily questioned and contingent plans will be made to address the supply demand speed discussion.

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Physical retail won’t go away, we still need to touch, feel and try things, however this experience will change. Physical retail will try to drive more customers to their website and reduce the number of physical stores.

In SAP terms Data and the customer will come front of mind, to assist them in delivering this change. This aligns well with the acquisition of Qualtrics, and the existing HANA suite’s continuing enhancements.


Manufacturing was first industry to see the full impact of the outbreak. The closure of factories in China started a ripple effect on production and distribution that would turn into the largest global disruption to manufacturing in history.

Whilst other countries had not yet felt the same impact from the pandemic, they were certainly feeling the impact from China’s supply chain, with many companies forced to scramble to find their alternate suppliers for key components. Many were forced to do so at a premium due to single points of reliance on a fixed supply chain.

So, what will change?

Robotisation adoption will be accelerated both in the manufacturing and logistics space. We have already seen fully robotised warehouses, and anticipate that this will increase resulting in opportunities for work in this growing space. The lack of visibility over physical location and accurate stock amounts will lead to companies looking at how this is monitored. I feel that the use of IoT will be further embraced, leading to again more work for SAP professionals.

So, what can the SAP world expect now?

Businesses will be changing and with change comes opportunity. I see this opportunity coming by way of technology which will need to be developed, customised, implemented and supported leading to opportunities for our SAP and cloud professionals across the board.

We may see a small delay in S4 HANA adoption and large scale implementations as businesses recover financially, but these businesses will still need change. They will look to enhance their existing systems to drive business efficiencies and cost savings, again requiring system specialist resources.

You will have to change too. Change how you think and challenge traditional concepts, embrace AI, new technologies and the cloud. If you never stop learning and looking for new ways to do things, you will remain relevant and competitive in the SAP world.

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