By Anthony Leaper, Senior Vice President, SAP Cloud Platform Extension Suite Go-to-Market Strategy, SAP
When businesses experience radical shifts in customer demand and expectations, a domino effect of exposed weaknesses and fragilities inevitably arise across all operations and interactions. But I also have seen many companies display incredible resilience by adapting to the current situation faster with greater agility, higher productivity, and stronger customer connections.
According to McKinsey, businesses that stay competitive in a disruptive environment often identify weaknesses and opportunities better than their competitors. This sense of clairvoyance empowers companies to quickly adapt existing processes and create new ones while resolving a long-standing trade-off between flexibility, efficiency, and resilience.
Most organizations find such an achievement easier said than done. They are often missing a flexible foundation that deploys agile processes and extends them quickly across the entire user experience for employees, customers, and partners. But it is possible to change their business resilience game with an application extension by using SAP Cloud Platform Extension Suite, as part of the SAP Business Technology Platform.
What is an application extension?
The concept of application extensions is centred around enabling customers to rapidly adapt and differentiate their business by extending the solutions they already use, building new ones, and scaling them in the same deployment environment. From the deployment environment to the application and consulting services, each element of the extension strategy is acquired to fulfil a determined purpose. And in most cases, the goal is focused on achieving a more-competitive future for the business.
IT organizations often view application extensions as enhancements to solutions that are developed and implemented without impairing existing system functions – or, what we call, “keeping the core clean.” But non-IT business functions take a different view, where extension provide the customizations needed to fulfil their needs for innovation and competitive advantage.
On their own, each solution implemented offers tremendous benefits; however, developers dedicate considerable time and effort to design, train, and retrain algorithms to support accurate decision-making and drive expected outcomes. To minimize wasted time, businesses can integrate an application extension of pretrained conversational AI bots with existing solutions, which sets a rapid, continuous cycle of updating capabilities, creating new ones, and ensuring timely delivery.
How an application extension changes business operations?
The key to a successful application extension is the delivery of innovation that creates competitive differentiation – without disrupting core applications. Using proven methodologies, enterprise-grade tools and services, ready-to-be-used business content, and an accessible deployment environment, companies can quickly implement the application extension and run it seamlessly with existing software.
Take, for example, Delivery Hero. The online food delivery service built a fast-growing operation with the assistance of a cloud platform supporting the creation and deployment of application extensions that protect and improve business performance. In return, the company keeps pace with explosive growth by leveraging standardized technologies and processes to accelerate the fulfilment of consumer requests with high satisfaction and augment the efficiency and flexibility of procurement and finance activities.
Delivery Hero's experience is one of a portfolio of use cases that application extensions are well-suited to support. I recently discovered three scenarios that are helping SAP customers gain the edge they need to recover from today's economic volatility.
Simplification of user experiences
Application extensions are boosting workforce productivity and engagement by delivering harmonized and contextualized user experiences. They are jumpstarting development efforts with prebuilt components and comprehensive mobile services, supported by low-code and cloud-native development options.
Agile process automation
ROI is realized faster by using application extensions to embed digital process automation technologies into existing software. Automating and optimizing processes and tasks help build greater operational resilience and flexibility, adapting and customizing business processes, managing process performance, and identifying improvements with data-based insights.
By enabling rapid innovation without disruption, application extensions allow organizations to become more agile and resilient to change. Business productivity can be enhanced with intuitive tools, collaborative access to existing expertise, and personalized workplace experiences that connect people, data, and processes.
Where managing change is flexible, prompt, and resilient
Surviving and thriving in a rapidly changing economy calls for a limitless ability to adapt. Through that drive comes the flexibility and agility to mitigate risk, capture new opportunities, and reimagine the way business is done.
Cloud-based application extensions developed through SAP Cloud Platform Extension Suite extend the power of intelligent operations by delivering consistent, personalized, and unified experiences across business processes and interaction channels. In return, businesses can automate, enhance, and adapt processes beyond the capabilities of their standard solutions.