SAP CEO addresses the Top 4 Technology Focus Areas for Economic Resurrection in the COVID Era

Published: January 10, 2022

In a social media message, SAP CEO Christian Klein highlighted the top four technology focus areas that would accelerate digitization and drive the resurgence of the economy in the COVID era. While the reference was specific to Germany, it remains relevant to businesses across the globe, as the pandemic led to a sluggish economy that now needs a resurrection. Here’s a look at the four technologies mentioned, along with their utilities and adoption in the current COVID era.

#1 Cloud and Edge Computing

COVID-19 caught businesses unaware, creating massive disruptions in operations and a forced shift to a remote working model. The chaos impacted the on-prem technology environments, with maintenance, support, and high operating costs becoming enforced challenges.

The shift was towards building resilience to overcome these implications, and Cloud technologies emerged as the ideal solution. These offered lowered costs, better support, maintenance, extensibility, flexibility, and easy adaptability.

In the harsh economic conditions, businesses no longer had to pay a huge upfront cost to access new technologies, as the cloud model works on a pay-per-use subscription model, giving them a much-lowered TCO.

The cost and value-driven advantage that the cloud offers were the key to its growing adoption, giving the much-needed impetus to struggling businesses across the globe.

Global cloud revenue is expected to hit $474 bn in 2022, up from $408 bn in 2021. The ongoing pandemic and the surge in digital services are making cloud the centerpiece of new digital experiences, said Gartner, Inc.

Edge Computing Architecture also saw an uptick in adoption as businesses moved towards processing the vast amount of data that their operations generate, right at its origin, rather than at a centralized data center. Be it from IoTs, factory floors, retail outlets, or across the field, edge computing facilitates data processing at the location itself and then sent back to the central repository for consumption.

Edge computing during the COVID era has seen a strategic shift in adoption, as it does away with network latencies and delays in processing the humongous amount of business data, enabling real-time data insights, and increased operational responsiveness. It gives businesses the much-needed agility in the current times to drive better strategies for sustenance and growth.

A study by GlobeNewswire estimated the Edge Computing market to grow at a CAGR of 29.4%, moving from $2281.8 Million in 2020 to $10971.54 by 2026.

#2 Secure Data exchange for Networking Strategic Supply Chains

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global supply chains. Lockdowns and transport restrictions caused several businesses to experience shortfalls in raw materials and impacted the supply of finished commodities. Global supply chains were caught unaware and struggled to keep with the pace of demand, with many small businesses shutting shop amidst the pandemic.

An Ernst & Young LLP study saw a staggering 72% of surveyed companies across various sectors report a negative effect, with 57% reporting a severe impact on their operations during the COVID era.

The ongoing pandemic forced a restructure of supply chains to make them more robust, resilient, and efficient. It saw a shift towards adopting new technologies such as AI and RPA for networking and a keen focus on improving secure data exchange between supply chain checkpoints to ensure continuity and uninterrupted networking. The pandemic led to the establishment of new communication channels across global supply chain networks to prevent future volatile implications and ensure sustenance. The outcome was the rapid adoption of the agile supply chain networking model used by healthcare verticals to ensure the uninterrupted flow of commodities locally and globally.

#3 Building Sustainable Business Models

COVID-19 has forced businesses to rethink their strategy towards achieving a sustainable business model. Be it their responsibility towards the environment, society, better customer relations, and innovative ways to cut waste – sustainable businesses are here to grow in current times. The pandemic and its ramifications have led businesses to improve their CSR activities, address issues that society is facing, and work towards resolving them to the extent that they can contribute. The pandemic has exposed the flaws that conventional business models follow, which have failed amidst the chaos and uncertain business environments.

The turbulent times have also seen businesses moving towards an eco-friendly operating model and ensuring that their products and services do not adversely impact the environment. Whether manufacturing, distribution, packaging, or waste disposal, every aspect of the operations is being refined to achieve a sustainable business model.

Businesses are also improving customer relations by being proactive to dynamic customer requirements, delivering enhanced quality and greater customer experience. The way ahead after the pandemic would be to ensure a sustainable business model that aligns with profitability and business growth for every business sector.

#4 Extend Digital Working

Digital working has become the norm in the COVID era. Remote and hybrid working models have replaced conventional work culture. Every business sector has significantly reduced physical employee presence to the extent possible, with the widespread use of AI, ML, and Robotic Process Automation to reduce manual intervention. The pandemic caused multifold changes in the operating model of businesses across the globe, with its effects being profound on the existing workforce and customers.

In this aspect, Christian Klein’s message was to Governments and policymakers to make fundamental changes in education, infrastructure, and labor laws to cater to the new norm of digital working. Across the world, there have been significant policy shifts that aim to foster digital working in the current times, with the safety of the employees being a major consideration.

While the entire world is still reeling in the current pandemic, the current conditions call for increased technology adoption by businesses across the globe to cater to the prevalent situations. The challenge lies in identifying and implementing strategies to foster sustenance and future growth. The trend has been favorable towards the move to digital transformation across businesses of all sizes and sectors, and the coming times will see radical changes in the way businesses conduct their operations.

Microexcel is an SAP partner for small and mid-sized product companies delivering end-to-end SAP transformation and migration services. The services increase value and compliance through change management, automation, analytics and an optimized global delivery and partner model.

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