“Knowledge is the closest factor to magic within the fashionable world…” – Digital Enterprise & Enterprise Analytics


This can be a English translation of an article by Thérèse van Bellinghen that first appeared on the SAP Information Weblog

Yves Lombaerts, Gross sales Supervisor for the Belgian market, picked up our World Innovation Evangelist Timo Elliott for an fascinating trip to SAP’s places of work in Brussels. They mentioned how medium and small sized enterprises ought to deal with the digital transformation, and the concrete roles of Knowledge Safety Officers and Innovation Evangelists throughout this course of. “We already reached the tipping level the place everybody realizes that cloud is the longer term for his or her IT-systems”, says Timo Elliott.

Yves: The time period “Evangelist” is used lots these days. What’s your concrete position at SAP?

Timo: I do know the title can appear a bit unusual (laughs). However mainly, it signifies that I work with organizations on modern improvements, collect the teachings realized after which share that information with as many individuals as doable, in order that we are able to all be extra profitable.

Yves: Once you take a look at Belgium particularly, do you discover some variations between our market and different international locations?

Timo: I really like coming to Belgium, I at all times discover a number of nice innovation initiatives right here. I believe Belgium punches above its weight in terms of innovation, in comparison with bigger markets. And I prefer to assume that a part of that’s as a result of Belgians are used to being uncovered to different factors of views and different cultures. It’s very exhausting to be an insular Belgian, you guys are actually immersed in worldwide traits.

Yves: Belgium additionally has numerous mid-sized corporations. We see that they don’t at all times have the funds to speculate closely in innovation. What could be your recommendation for them?

Timo: The excellent news is that we stay at the beginning of a golden age for medium and small companies. You not have to be an enormous firm to have an enormous imaginative and prescient, due to cloud expertise. A ten person-organization can now entry the identical pc energy as massive corporations. So small organizations can now do issues that have been beforehand unimaginable.

Yves: Will enterprise course of intelligence turn out to be extra vital for them?

Timo: There are numerous alternatives for organizations to innovate. One of many greatest questions organizations face is definitely: the place on earth can we begin? One new space certainly is enterprise course of intelligence. For instance, I’ve a knee harm at this second, and my physician mentioned that I needed to have an MRI scan.—as a result of she wanted to see precisely what’s happening. We are able to’t make things better till we all know what’s occurring—and that’s what enterprise course of intelligence is all about. It shines a light-weight into an end-to-end enterprise course of throughout completely different purposes and programs and finds out the place the blockage is. As soon as you discover out what the issue is, you may actually do one thing about  it. And sooner or later, that half will include simply clicking a button after which mechanically seeing a brand new subpart of the enterprise course of within the cloud. That’s incredible and it affords numerous alternatives for PME’s.

Yves: Do you assume persons are already totally satisfied about the actual added worth of digital transformation?

Timo: Sure. I work with numerous organizations doing superb issues. Actually, knowledge is the closest factor to magic within the fashionable world. You may create one thing out of nothing. You should use knowledge to enhance buyer outcomes and minimize prices and even make the world a greater place on the similar time. Firms understand these are win-win-win alternatives. And all of that’s simpler to take action with the most recent generations of expertise.

Yves: Some corporations additionally put a Chief Knowledge Officer in place. What’s their added worth?

Timo: There has certainly been an enormous rise of CDO’s. What their actual title is and the place they report within the group is much less vital than their underlying position, which is to leverage knowledge holistically as an asset for the group. These roles are driving the muse of the enterprise processes of the longer term.

Lots of organizations have spent tons of of 1000’s and even thousands and thousands of euros investing in programs for gathering knowledge, however they’re in all probability not getting all of the return they need to have. As a result of all that data is sorted in knowledge silos. So, the Chief Knowledge Officer is in truth simply somebody in your group who retains that holistic view, whose job is to insert these knowledge into your future enterprise mannequin.

Yves: You journey lots, you meet lots of people and corporations…

Timo: There’s not numerous travelling today (laughs). However I’m nonetheless speaking to lots of people on Zoom.

Yves: And which present mission do you discover most fascinating?

Timo: A really fascinating mission right here in Belgium is the one at Farys. The corporate retains a watch on the water high quality in Belgium’s areas. I obtained to speak to their CIO, Inge Opreel, and she or he’s placing collectively an important good water platform. It was already doable for them to observe the place they have been dropping water of their pipes. However now they will additionally see why they’re dropping it. For instance, it may very well be attributable to a leakage, however it is also that there are firefighters attempting to avoid wasting a burning constructing and are due to this fact utilizing numerous water. That’s an important instance of what numerous organizations try to do now: they aren’t solely attempting to collect extra knowledge, however they’re additionally attempting to leverage it extra. They should actually perceive what’s happening.

Yves: I’ve the sensation that numerous corporations assume that they will use their knowledge to their profit by hiring a knowledge scientist. However that that’s simply not sufficient, they first have to centralize their knowledge?

Timo: I’m an enormous believer in knowledge scientists, however they’re very costly. And sadly, based on analyst companies like Gartner, digital transformation initiatives fail in 85% of the instances. That’s an terrible waste of assets.

Yves: Why are all these initiatives failing?

Timo: I see two most important causes. The primary one is: corporations ought to make investments extra in enhancing their knowledge high quality earlier than doing anything. It’s essential to grasp your metadata and guarantee that every part is lined up. To make an enormous step ahead with knowledge science, you first want to do this painful work. When you’ve finished that and when you might have massive quantities of high-quality knowledge, knowledge science initiatives and machine studying could be applied comparatively shortly and simply. The second facet the place corporations are failing is industrialization. They’re usually doing nice work in a single small space, however don’t take note the larger image. Once more, we try to do our half by integrating machine studying immediately into each enterprise course of, in order that our shoppers don’t must.

Yves: Do you assume that the cloud transformation can even carry an added worth to corporations that wish to accumulate extra knowledge or extra completely different sources of information?

Timo: We in all probability already reached the tipping level the place folks understand that the cloud is the longer term for his or her IT programs. For those who work in IT, you in all probability have the next danger of dropping your job by not implementing cloud than by implementing cloud programs (laughs). If I nonetheless meet someone who’s skeptical, one of many areas I level out is synthetic intelligence. It solely works when you’re amassing numerous knowledge and are then utilizing numerous pc energy. It’s an important instance of one thing that simply worksmuch higher within the cloud.

Yves: Speaking about folks once more: who must be main this transformation? CIO’s?

Timo: There was a protracted transition from CIO that means Chief Infrastructure Officer, to Chief Innovation Officer. Clearly for an formidable CIO, you wish to be the second. Nevertheless it doesn’t must be a particular IT position. It simply must be someone who is powerful at understanding what expertise can do after which translating that into enterprise influence.

I just lately had an important dialog with Dr. Astrid Fontaine, CIO at Bentley Motors. What I discovered fascinating is that she’s additionally answerable for the enterprise features of digital transformation and human assets. On the finish of the day, it’s about change administration — digital transformation is one thing you could do with your employees, not at your employees. You actually need to incorporate them within the course of. And so at Bentley Motors, they put all of it collectively in a single perform. I think that’s the way forward for how expertise and enterprise will come collectively.

Yves: What about sustainability? How can digital transformation assist deal with the local weather disaster?

Timo: We’re already seeing the consequences of maximum climate occasions. They’re already impacting industries reminiscent of agriculture and insurance coverage. And sadly, we’re going to see extra of that sooner or later. So, what organizations have to do is to spend money on platforms that allow change typically.

In the case of sustainability, doing good is simply good enterprise today, as a result of your clients and workers care lots about sustainability. Our job in IT is to guarantee that it’s as straightforward as doable for enterprise folks to incorporate sustainability tradeoffs and selections as part of each enterprise course of. For instance, permitting a designer to incorporate carbon footprint as one of many values they take into account, to allow them to make the perfect selections for the corporate, society, and the world.

Yves: What would be the subjects we’ll be discussing in 5 years once we do that once more?

Timo: One factor I dream about is making use of innovation to the method of adjusting enterprise processes. At this second, we are inclined to do innovation as a sequence of guide steps. However through the use of machine studying, now we have an incredible alternative to study extra mechanically than ever earlier than. So, each enterprise course of in your group can mechanically get higher over time, simply because persons are utilizing it. That basically is the imaginative and prescient of the clever enterprise.

Yves: What recommendation may you give to our Belgian corporations?

Timo: The enterprise fashions of the longer term are based mostly on digital suggestions loops: collect knowledge, enhance your buyer relationships, create new merchandise and restart the cycle once more. In Belgium, there are numerous smaller and medium sized enterprises and so they have two massive benefits: they’ve nearer buyer relationships and they’re extra agile. They will make faster adjustments than greater organizations. However greater corporations even have a bonus: they’ve extra knowledge, and so they can use it to extend their dominance in sure industries. And we see that in numerous areas these days. However I consider PME’s can react and compete with them, by ensuring additionally they double down on knowledge and use it as successfully as doable.


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