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The transformation from existing on-premise legacy systems to SAP  Business Technology Platform without disruptions can be demanding for organizations and IT departments, especially when complex business processes, multiple systems and layers of integrations are involved.

One key aspect that typically gets overlooked during this transformation is the Digital Experience (DX). It can become quite complex and irreparable if you don't have a proper strategy in place.


Below is my list of the top 5 strategies that have worked for many customers across industries during their cloud transformation journey.

 

What is Digital Experience? 


Digital experience can mean different things in a cloud transformation context. To most, it implies User Interface, user experience, or look and feel. Below is a representation of what the real Digital Experience is all about. UI is just the tip of the iceberg.



 

Digital Experience is about innovating, restructuring and streamlining what's under the hood and making the systems and processes non-intrusive for its end users.

Achieving the ideal Digital Experience includes:

  • Innovating business processes and new use cases

  • Applying automation and AI to remove error-prone and time-intensive areas.

  • Breaking complex transactions into simple mini apps.

  • Simplifying screens and reducing the number of clicks.

  • Applying a consistent and responsive design framework.

  • Enabling key business information and actions on multiple devices.



Strategy 1: Identify,
Innovate and optimise


This strategy should be at the top of the list when you transform to the cloud.

Its typical for organisations to choose a lift-and-shift migration model from legacy systems to avoid risks and disruptions. Though there is nothing wrong with a lift and shift model, for the end user, nothing changes from the old legacy system. It's the same complex screens, frustrating workflows and countless clicks to complete a simple task.  

Start with identifying time-consuming, error-prone business processes, transactions, workflows, and user journeys. Innovate better ways of doing them in consultation with the actual end users of the system. No one can better point you to the exact problem areas and how best to fix them than your actual users. Once you get the pointers, apply technology and cloud services (Currently, there are 95 services available), such as AI, to optimise business processes and workflows. 

The human-Centred Approach to Innovation is a repeatable framework we use within SAP to co-innovate with our customers. It's a step-by-step approach involving the key users and stakeholders at the centre of the solution decision-making.


More details about the  Human-Centred Approach to Innovation. Its a DIY framework that anyone with a flair for innovation can easily learn and apply.   

 

Strategy 2: Make frequently used tasks into custom BTP Apps


Typically, organisations are reluctant to change the old existing workflows and tasks for end users even after moving to the cloud. The argument is mostly that the users have been using the workflow like this for many years without any problems, so why change?  If you zoom in and analyse deeper. into how the user completes the task, it's most likely you will find the users have to refer to multiple screens, jump tabs and copy details in excel sheets as a reference to complete certain tasks, making them extremely time-consuming and ineffective. 

This strategy will ease such complex workflows, reduce users' mental load and improve task efficiency. 

BTP apps are highly customisable and can be tailored for a specific purpose and user roles. This is super useful when users need a simplified version of the workflow that they can access from mobile phones or tablets.  For example, the Plant Manager whats to see what's happening on the plant floor in real-time, the Mining supervisor wants to create and assign a work order or the finance controller wants to see all the invoices that he/she needs to approve. These tasks can be easily created as mini BTP apps and accessed selectively from anywhere. 

Learn how to create fit-for-purpose BTP apps on the cloud.


Here is an example of how a BTP mini app for  Creating a Purchase Order looks. Customised to fit-for-purpose, removing all unwanted controls and tabs and keeping only the bare minimum of what the user needs to accomplish the task.

 

Strategy 3: Automate and digitise manual processes


Business processes designed with unwanted user interventions or manual data entry from handwritten or printed paper  (e.g. invoices, notes etc.), excel sheets to digital formats are absolute culprits of poor Digital experience. Employees, on most occasions, need to spend a lot of time and energy fixing errors caused by manual entries or doing repetitive tasks.

Unless these time-intensive and error-prone areas are identified, innovated and fixed, employees still will have to go through dreadful interactions with limited operational efficiency.

The first step in this strategy is identifying time-consuming, error-prone business processes and automating them. There are easy DIY visual business process automation tools available that allow you to identify, and automate business processes without any development experience.

Enabling BTP AI services, such as Document Information Extraction and Business Entity Recognition, that can scan photos, extract text from uploaded documents, validate and fills the data into the form fields automatically is when the real magic happens. 


Digitising error-prone processes and converting them to simple data-capturing apps is a fantastic Digital Experience strategy to accelerate process efficiency and mitigate errors. 

 


Strategy 4: Unify User Experience and make them accessible across devices for better adoption. 


An organization's IT system landscape can have many integrated solutions based on the business needs. For the end users, interacting with multiple systems and screens to accomplish a simple task can be overwhelming. The layouts, behaviours, controls and actions can change drastically, creating inconsistent user journeys and poor User Experience.


With mobile devices becoming a dominant workstyle to access enterprise applications, it is crucial to make the solutions and the features available on users' mobile devices for better adoption.

SAP Mobile Start and SAP Fiori UI framework are two key facets IT departments should strategize as part of the transformation journey to make user journeys consistent (including the third-party solutions via APIs) and to tailor mobile experiences. 


Strategy 5: Use DIY tools to build apps and pre-defined templates to fast-track development. 


While transforming to BTP, it is important that you are agile and fast-track development processes. This strategy is about smarter ways to achieve your solution development goals.

There are tons of industry templates and pre-defined Fiori layouts that you can download, edit and customize for your own use cases. It's much simpler and faster than starting from scratch.

And with the new SAP build release, you no longer need technical knowledge to build a BTP mobile application or web page and even define business processes.

Here is the list of tools that can help you be agile and fast-track development process:

 

  1. SAP Build Apps
    For creating low code, no code mobile apps. It's an easy drag-and-drop tool that lets you design and connect with your existing database.

  2. SAP Build Process Automation
    Easy drag-and-drop process automation builder to automate business processes.



  1. SAP Build Work Zone
    To design webpages and home screens like Launchpad.



  1. SAP Fiori Apps Reference Library
    Download hundreds of pre-defined application templates based on industry best practices.



  1. SAP Fiori Elements
    To download pre-defined floor plans and screen layouts.



There you go, 5 strategies for a better digital experience when you move to BTP.


Digital Experience BTP Transformation Enablement


We at the SAP APJ Innovation Office run a series of Digital Experience enablement sessions to support and handhold customers in defining Digital Experience Strategy while transforming to BTP.

The engagement is a 1:1 co-innovation approach with a defined time duration.  During the programme duration, subject matter experts with BTP technical, development and design skills will work with the customer counterparts to co-invent solutions and define the DX strategy blueprint for your business.

Please reach out to Sujit Ramesh or Varun Thamba to know about the prerequisites and for more details about the enablement sessions.

 

Below is an example of how a typical DX enablement process would span:

 


 

 

Useful Resources:



  1. What Is SAP Mobile Start?

  2. What is SAP Build Process Automation?