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How to Lead a Digital Transformation

July 28, 2020

Blog
Author
Maarten Rikken Maarten Rikken
Maarten Rikken is a Senior Solutions and Product Marketing Specialist in the SAP Digital Strategy Team.

Digital transformation means something different to every company that goes through it. For some, it might mean going paperless. For others, it's implementing data analytics or machine learning. One thing that all digital transformations have in common is the integration of digital technology into a business. When successful, a digital transformation will change how a company operates and how they deliver value to their customers.

Regardless of where a company is on its digital transformation journey, integrating digital technology will always affect its employees. For this reason, a digital transformation is primarily about people. Digital transformation will not only change job titles and functions but fundamentally alter deeply embedded business processes. Fundamental change will understandably make people nervous as they see their jobs change or longstanding tasks disappear. For CIOs tasked with leading a digital transformation, they will need to get people on board, allay any fears, and help people understand the benefits and their new roles.

Implementing technology in your digital transformation, like SAP HANA Cloud as a database-as-a-service that offers quick, tangible improvements for employees, can go a long way in ensuring companywide buy-in. When employees can access their data faster or run transactional and analytical operations in real-time, they will see the immediate value of the digital transformation.

 

Sign up for the SAP HANA Cloud free trial.

 

The good thing is that modern CIOs are more prepared than ever to lead a digital transformation because they have seen their role transform. An IBM Global C-suite study found that most CIOs now recognize that they are no longer conventional IT managers. Instead, they are an integral part of a company's digital culture and a key driver in defining new growth opportunities. As a key strategic business partner, CIOs must convince their C-suite peers that a digital transformation will make life better for the entire business.

 

Where to Start on the Digital Transformation Journey

When leading a company into a digital transformation, CIOs need to know what they want their business to be able to do that it could not do before. Determining these goals requires CIOs to understand the connection between business initiatives and technology. Of course, the cost is another critical element to consider. So, where can you look? What efforts represent excellent opportunities for your business?

First, you should review your current strategy (read more here). It's worth investing some time to make sure you know the capabilities of what you already have and where you want to go with your digital transformation.

 

How to Start Your Digital Transformation

For a lot of companies, the digital transformation process is sparked by an explosion in the amount of data and data sources they are dealing with. As their data grows, it's difficult for them to get an overview or a centralized space that provides a single source of truth for their data. Scattered data and lots of sources can also make it difficult to extract value from your data with analytics.

So, if you haven't already started with your data, that's a great place to begin. Data is one of the most valuable resources a company has, so optimizing it should be one of the first goals of any digital transformation. Properly managed data will help drive better decisions at every level of an organization. Data can improve your customer experience by predicting customer needs and preferences or better target your marketing initiatives. It can also help with the development of new products or optimizing the ones you currently have.

Getting value out of your data means overcoming modern data challenges like expanding data volume, varying data formats, multiple sources, and cost. Even with a solid strategy and buy-in from the whole organization, it's important to have the right solution for the job. SAP HANA Cloud can solve these challenges and help you with your digital transformation.

 

Digital Transformation with SAP HANA Cloud

 

Cost-effective Scalable Data Storage

The volume of data coming in is growing exponentially, but embarking on a digital transformation doesn't mean storing it all needs to cost a lot. SAP HANA Cloud keeps your costs down with virtualization and its built-in data lake, allowing you to store massive amounts of data without a massive price tag. SAP HANA Cloud is a SaaS, so you only pay for what you use. You can quickly scale your storage and computing up or down, depending on your needs. There's also no upfront costs or additional maintenance.

 

Centralize Your Data

Data comes in from different departments, social media platforms, and in a myriad of formats – IoT and location, to name a few. SAP HANA Cloud is a central data management solution that brings all your data into one place regardless of its source or type. To make your digital transformation easier, SAP HANA Cloud comes with adapters out-of-the-box to connect to multiple sources.

 

Run Advanced Analytics

Real-time data paints a more accurate picture of your business and helps empower effective decision-making. SAP HANA Cloud can run advanced real-time analytics on live transaction data in any format. It also supports predictive algorithms and analytical engines, in addition to built-in spatial and graph engines.

 

Begin Your Digitial Transformation Today with SAP HANA Cloud

With low cost, centralized data, and advanced real-time analytics, SAP HANA Cloud will help your entire business see the immediate value of your digital transformation initiatives. If roles and job titles do change, the CIO can allay fears by demonstrating these tangible benefits and reiterating the overall vision for the digital transformation. Training employees in the new products is also a critical element of a successful digital transformation [see SAP HANA Cloud's onboarding guide for training resources].