How to Compete with Speed, Agility, and Resilience

BrandPost By Andy Greig
May 28, 2017
Cloud Computing

Speed, agility, and resilience are essential components of a successful business strategy. Explore how managed cloud services can help ERP systems keep up with evolving market dynamics while tackling business complexity.

Digital transformation is becoming the expected (and often discussed) standard for every business. Big Data, predictive analytics, cloud, mobile, commerce platforms, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things – all of these technologies and concepts are creating opportunities that are exciting, as well as disruptions that are surprising.

In this competitive landscape, falling behind is not option – yet, even the most established brand leaders are losing their edge. More and more, businesses are finding that the pace of change is accelerating at such a scale that they have no choice but to evolve continuously. Otherwise, their market leadership will evaporate – just like the rotation of 14.2 companies that are disappearing from the Fortune 500 every year.

Companies winning in this digital economy are embracing an organic approach to business operations, called Live Business. They are seamlessly connecting assets, people, products, and customers and, as a result, generating approximately 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each year. Although this approach is helping businesses run faster with agility and resiliency, their traditional ERP systems are beginning to buckle under the weight of all of this information.

Handling this massive volume of data requires a unified, intelligent data platform. Through our digital business framework methodology, companies gain an expandable foundation for innovation, supercharged with a connected digital core of various applications, systems, and processes. Transactions and analytics are intertwined with applications and ecosystems across all the aspects of the business – all with a single, end-to-end digital enterprise architecture supported by managed cloud services.

Optimizing ERP systems for big data volumes

Running an ERP with a combined platform of in-memory computing and cloud solutions promises to accelerate growth and innovation, quickly deliver business outcomes, reduce risk, and drive IT and business transformation. By storing information in the main random access memory (RAM) of dedicated servers, rather than highly complex relational databases, this next generation of ERP technology enables users to cache data regularly and locate information faster. At the same time, decision makers can rapidly detect patterns by analyzing massive data volumes on the fly and in the same database.

European Schools, for example, implemented a cloud platform to reduce logistics and administrative workloads and costs across its network of 14 schools in seven countries. The school automated 95% of its core processes and deployed the latest technology without the need for additional IT staff. A significant improvement in accountability soon followed, and self-service procurement tools helped boost both cost control and compliance.

While adopting such a high-performance ERP in the cloud may seem like a simple decision, it will not automatically provide the speed, agility, and innovation that you expect. Without the right guidance, you may lack the internal resources and know-how required to maximize performance and drive business value.

Fast-tracking next-gen ERP with managed cloud services

Henry Morris, fellow for IDC’s Worldwide Big Data, Analytics, and Cognitive Software Research, advises, “Because they lack the necessary skills in-house for managing a portfolio of applications deployed within and outside the enterprise, many organizations are augmenting their internal IT staff with external services.” Without dedicated, expert management of your system, you could set yourself up for trouble, making it impossible to unlock the full potential of your business.

Through managed cloud services, you can choose which cloud environment – private, public, or hybrid – addresses core competencies and processes, reduces IT workload, and optimizes solution performance by considering five factors:

  1. Dedicated implementation and shared support: The right cloud setup can allow application customization without adding complexity and limitations. Your business can transfer the responsibility for ongoing software and infrastructure management to the technology provider that designed the software, wrote the code, and understands the technology best.
  2. Freedom to innovate: A dedicated environment maximizes the ability to tailor an IT system to align with how the business runs and evolves. Platform-as-a-service offerings enable IT and lines of business to extend applications or build entirely new processes. Adaptations can be innovated from scratch or pulled from existing solutions. And because the cloud environment is flexible, the opportunity to innovate is nearly endless.
  3. Pay-as-you-go subscription pricing: As one of the most appealing attributes of the cloud, this pricing structure offers more control and predictability to the IT budget. Although payments are made more frequently than that of an on-premise model, the IT organization is liberated from the responsibility of investing time, money, and resources to support the technology.
  4. Service provider management: By contracting a service provider, the buyer receives regular access to software as scoped out in the service-level agreement and maintaining it through frequent upgrades, security measures, and delivery of sufficient infrastructure resources to meet varying load demands.
  5. The balance between trust and security: Although security is often cited as a benefit of migrating to a public cloud, not every CIO is comfortable with the inherent risks of entrusting sensitive data to a third party. For instance, a single-tenant environment dedicates hardware, data storage, and networks to a single customer with enterprise-grade security and removes any intermediaries. 

When adopting next-gen ERP in the cloud, all three levels of the solutions landscape – infrastructure, technical operations, and applications – need to be coordinated and managed. By choosing a managed cloud offering, you can address unique business goals while taking care of every business requirement and operational complexity. Only then will you achieve the speed, agility, and resilience that you need to remain competitive.

Explore why managed cloud services may be a safer, smarter, and more strategic option for your business. Check these resources from IDC, sponsored by SAP:

  • White paper: SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud: A Managed Approach to Deploying SAP S/4HANA
  • Webinar: Deploying SAP S/4HANA: What You Need to Know