Senior Director of Digital Economy, Technology, & Innovation, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
President, SAP Canada
Canadian organizations continually look for ways to improve efficiencies while also providing a great customer experience. To do both, companies need to modernize their businesses by investing in digital transformation. It’s the most effective path to improved business performance, stronger competitiveness, and flexible operating models that can survive and thrive in the face of often unpredictable market forces.
In an interview with Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, Senior Director of Digital Economy, Technology, and Innovation at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Andy Canham, President at SAP Canada, discusses how Canadian companies are shifting to the Cloud and reaping benefits.
Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia: How important is digital transformation to the success of a business moving forward?
Andy Canham: Digital transformation can offer the most pervasive and valuable investment a Canadian business can make in its future. It can position companies to improve business insights, capitalize faster on opportunities, improve efficiencies, accelerate cost reductions, and much more. Digital transformation is no longer something to “get around to one day,” rather it has become foundational for organizations to thrive and remain competitive. According to results from our most recent study with our partner IDC, three times as many businesses have a fully integrated digital strategy today as compared to just two years ago.
Bahr-Gedalia: The Internet of Things has become the Internet of Everything. Could the same be said about the Cloud and why has the demand for cloud transformation increased so significantly?
Canham: Companies are telling us they need new business models and approaches, a modern way of conducting business that also optimizes operations. One example is how volatile supply chains have significantly hampered traditional legacy designs, while also providing new opportunities for flexible businesses. The winners have leveraged technology to build closer collaboration with trading partners over open, secure digital networks. In fact, Canada has a higher dependence on global trade than many countries. It’s imperative that we leverage technology to lead in global business supply chains.
Cloud transformation enables an end-to-end and real-time view for organizations, from their suppliers’ suppliers to their customers’ customers and more. The ability to seamlessly collaborate with a vast network of trading partners for up-to-the-minute insights on order volumes, inventory levels, and more can change the game. Each transaction generates a plethora of data. Seeing this information in real-time allows for strategic procurement and supply chain decisions to be made.
And it’s not just about what’s possible today. Ongoing innovations such as Predictive Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and more, and many yet to come, can be delivered and enhanced continuously for companies leveraging cloud platforms in their businesses.
That’s why the demand for cloud transformation continues to grow.
Bahr-Gedalia: Transitioning to the Cloud and its benefits to businesses and consumers alike seem to go hand-in-hand. Could you expand further on this?
Canham: As consumers, customers, and competitive expectations continue to rise, organizations need to adopt new technology strategies to create an amazing experience, improve service levels, and outpace their competitors. We’ve seen companies of all sizes and across all industries benefit from cloud transformation. The ability to have increased visibility and transparency into business processes is allowing them to remove the complexities and introduce a new level of accountability.
Companies generate a wealth of spend data that’s often vastly underutilized. Intelligent use of data has created the opportunity for new insights and new ways of delighting their customers and their employees. The Cloud gives us a better look at every dollar spent, allows us to make more strategic decisions, boost profitability, and enables new investment. At a time when hybrid work is permanently integrated into most companies’ business plans, there’s an even bigger need to understand end-to-end procurement, travel and expense, and external workforce to better align spend decisions with business strategy. And an investment in the Cloud can create that transparency.
Bahr-Gedalia: We spoke about interconnectedness earlier. Are ESG, Tech4Good, and as such, sustainability objectives impacting cloud adoption?
Canham: Transparency is a top priority for SAP customers and an increasing imperative for companies across all industries. Business is no longer just about the top line or the bottom line, the green line is just as important. Companies are looking for ways to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of their business and the only way to do this is through end-to-end transparency of all aspects of their business. You cannot manage what you cannot measure. According to McKinsey, companies are risking up to 70 percent of their profits if they aren’t running sustainably. True sustainability requires complete transparency which Cloud capabilities can enable, with data transparency to embed measurable sustainability into their core business. Shareholders, customers, employees, and suppliers are demanding responsible business from every company, and the companies leading in these efforts are winning.