Working out the Digital Puzzle With Information Management and SAP

We have all spent what seems like an age trying to unlock combination puzzles like the Rubik’s cube, trying again and again but never quite completing the cube. Worse yet are puzzles that are missing pieces, because no matter how hard you try, you can’t possibly create a complete picture. Building your digitalization strategy is similar – without all the necessary pieces, you’ll never achieve your goal.

The global health crisis we find ourselves in has shown that when it comes to digitalization, many enterprises are still far away from finding the right sequences to support an enterprise’s daily operations. Employees working remotely have no access to documents or SAP data, for example.

What you need to complete your digitalization puzzle is automation and intelligence built on an ECM solution to enhance specific SAP processes. Intelligent management systems integrated with SAP are the ideal building blocks for end-to-end digitalization, offering flexibility and agility on premise and in the cloud.

A smart approach

Enterprises need intelligent strategies and solutions for digitalizing their data and processes. They must continue to work toward digital transformation, optimize workflows and adapt services. Their goals must not center on quick wins that create short-term security alone. They must also establish resilient processes that can withstand the pressure of future change and the ability to innovate new solutions.

Like combination puzzles with their virtually endless resolutions, there is no single solution. Instead, enterprises need to focus on creating new dynamic solutions that support them through the pandemic crisis – the smarter the better.

Where SAP fits in

SAP can undoubtedly help companies achieve their vision of an intelligent enterprise. As opposed to being a passive bystander, however, the new ERP system is designed to simplify work for users by using intelligent processes.  It also promises an enhanced user experience. SAP delivers on this promise by utilizing operational data from the business together with so-called “experience data.” This can help improve the customers’ experiences and boost customer satisfaction, loyalty and – importantly – willingness to make a purchase.

But the customer experience is doomed to failure if the back office does not possess an intelligent basis. It isn’t just about interactions with AI chatbots and personalized product recommendations. What customers actually want is a fast and efficient response to requests and orders. Short lead times in processing and intelligent inbound goods together with production planning are also imperative to provide the agility customers now demand.

Putting this successfully in place requires close collaboration across multiple locations alongside streamlined processes.  This is where automation and artificial intelligence (AI) need to come on board.

SAP’s answer is its intelligent ERP system. However, it focuses in on data driven processes, and business processes are made up of more than data. They are also comprised of documents, which don’t fall into SAP’s remit.

Users cannot automatically forward documents and tasks to the right colleagues and need help selecting the correct processes such as contract approvals, for example. It is even more difficult to find non-SAP documents. Compliance, retention periods and escalation processes fall on the user.

The missing piece of the puzzle

Anyone who tries to solve the digitalization puzzle with SAP alone will come up against an enormous barrier; the lack of a full set of building blocks. Intelligent information management, however, pulls down this barrier giving users access to the right information at the right time and in the right process for smarter decision making.

ECM systems that also offer process services and cognitive services for intelligent, automated information management are the perfect addition to SAP for seamless document and process management in many different areas. It is important to remember, however, that the ECM system must have intelligence at its core if it is to be deployed for all information and processes that are managed using the ECM system.

Enterprises that are looking to exclusively use cloud-based solutions to solve their digitalization puzzle should note that SaaS offerings and managed services not only make the implementation, administration and maintenance of ECM solutions calculable, but they also enable rapid, scalable deployment, and integrate fully with SAP solutions from the beginning.

Completing the digitalization puzzle

By following this strategy, using an ECM solution to enhance specific SAP processes, enterprises benefit from an end-to-end interconnected and flexible system that can combine unlimited new intelligent and automated processes to solve digitalization challenges now and in the new normal.

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Jair Godschalk, vice president of sales at the SER Group, has been working for over 20 years in ECM projects in diverse industries and business areas. He has held a wide variety of positions and responsibilities in which he has been able to inspire people with digital solutions – in sales, international project management, professional services, product management and development. In his private as well as professional life, he is a true digital enthusiast.