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There is a lot of buzz in the market about how we can leverage the technology to become the intelligent sustainable enterprises for tackling the business disruption in the markets and change the way how SAP customers and their consumers interact and transact in the business. Can we repeat Ant Financials history with SAP?

We can leverage SAP BTP and hyperscaler technologies to reinvent the business processes and reshape the markets of our customers but this potential is highly untapped. It is untapped and not translated fully into the marketing, sales and delivery stories due to the below barriers on SAP pursuits. In this blog, I want to share my ideas on how we can change this equation together and will be delighted to hear your experiences and ideas.

Breaking the Barriers 

Barrier 1 :Customer sends an Request for Quote to either implement an SAP S/4 HANA or other SAP Cloud transformation projects to the Consulting Partner. Consulting Partner will review the Request for Quote and provide their proposal on how they are the best fit to implement the requested SAP products in less time and cost using the right approach. This approach wouldn’t work if we really want to build intelligent sustainable enterprises for the future.

How can we break this barrier :  Customer does some internal homework using first principle based design thinking to change their critical and time consuming non-sustainable business processes to hit their ESG targets. We need to have a finalized version of the Industry Specific ESG Critical Business Process Catalog with clearly defined ESG goals and outcome impact metrics that the customer wants to change or implement in a SAP Transformation Programme . In reality, a customer may not be able to arrive at that without the help of consulting partner but I think incorporating this step in or before the phase 0  (Ex: Hackathon as a service or ESG Business Case and Value Assessment) will be enormously helpful for the organization to reinvent their business processes and business models as they are rising with SAP.

Barrier 2:  Innovation is stifled by commercial constructs. A lot of clients request consulting partners to do either a quote for a fixed price or T & M with a clearly defined Statement of Work and legally binding contract. Innovation is very risky as you need to give yourself permission to fail and we are trying something new to reinvent the business processes and models. It is very risky for both consulting partner and client to go into legally binding agreement for these type of scenarios using traditional commercial contracts.

How can we break this barrier :  A outcome risk and reward based approach (Ex: Business Gain Sharing, Expense sharing, Hybrid structures) will be a win win deal for both the customer and consulting partners resulting in long term gains.  We can use this approach to reinvent a set of business process that will help customers to meet ESG targets in high impact areas and a traditional T & M or fixed price for the rest of the implementation services.

Barrier 3 : SAP functional experts are not well versed with the capabilities of intelligent sustainable enterprise technologies and SAP technical experts don’t have domain knowledge to reinvent and build intelligent sustainable enterprise processes. The skill gap of SAP techno-functional consultants sometimes limits the level of business process innovation as we simply configure the SAP S4  solution than looking at options to optimizing and reinventing the current business processes to meet the Intelligent ESG targets using either BTP or SAP Sustainability Propositions.

How can we break this barrier :  We need to train more SAP techno-functional architects who can help to plug this gap and help  train others to unlock the true intelligent sustainable enterprise transformation potential of the SAP products. While  SAP offers high level class room based basic training, we need more specific and advanced SAP ESG certifications with hands on boot camp training and joint hackathons for partners to develop this capability. It will help SAP and Partners to build the industry specific intelligent sustainable enterprise  business process catalog  based on first principle based design thinking with clearly defined ESG metrics. The collaboration between SAP and Partners should be more informal,open and collaborative than the current structured SAP industry cloud initiatives.

Barrier 4:  While there are lot of leadership initiatives to improve ESG metrics, the change is not happening at the pace that leaders want it to happen as it is not easy to change the old mindsets and behaviors and habits of the people.

How can we break this barrier :  We can only execute a great vision when every user understands how the vision will impact and improve their story. We need to develop several user story variants for every intelligent enterprise sustainable business process to bring the benefits and value and how it impacts each user. How about we develop ESG Impact Metrics for each user and add it to the best practice scope item? How about having a ESG variant for each best practice scope item?

Barrier 5:  A complex process will not just impact one organization , it usually touches many organizations and suppliers and customers. Hence, organizations can’t build their intelligent sustainable enterprise  processes without the support of their partners, customers, suppliers.

How can we break this barrier :  We need to build more stronger Ecosystems with our partners, customers and suppliers and break the organizational boundaries that we originally set up to truly innovate. We can open up data using leveraging data and integration platforms via the block chain and API technologies, but that alone won’t help. We need new disruptive commercial and compliance and regulation and legal policy block chain platforms that will allow people from the different industries to collaborate ethically and securely and innovate using a common cross industry communication platform during the SAP implementation programs to achieve greater good for the overall economy. Ex: Can we change our external  facing cross industry legacy interfaces and processes to fulfill ESG metrics and share the legacy modernization costs with suppliers and customers as we are building a greater ecosystem for the future?


While we are long way off building Intelligent Sustainable Enterprises, I think these small steps to break the barriers will help us to build a better world for our children.  What are the other constraints you are facing or do you have any other great ideas to make the Intelligent Sustainable Enterprise a reality for all of us? Please refer  Sustainability with SAP S/4 HANA for more insights and the old course for further details.

21st Century Doughnut Economics (Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist) and How to Avoid Climate Disaster (The solutions we have and breakthroughs we need ) are great books to reshape and refine our Geo-Political demographic environments.