For IT executives, the year 2022 brought with it a new set of challenges that are impacting how they prioritize investments. Pandemic-induced slowdowns, supply chain reliability, the Great Resignation and budget cuts are forcing CIOs to re-evaluate their priorities and adjust investments to achieve their strategic goals.
SAPinsider surveyed nearly 200 CIOs to get first-hand insight into their key focus areas for 2022.
Increasing process efficiency and visibility
In response to the survey, 67% of respondents said increasing efficiency and visibility of processes is their top priority this year.
Within SAP environments, one of the largest opportunities for improving process efficiency and visibility is in change management. Many SAP teams rely on traditional, manually driven ‘waterfall’ development to build and deliver change which severely limits the ability of these critical systems to adapt at the speed the business requires. These error-prone manual methods also significantly increase the risk of costly unexpected downtime. The key to eliminating these risky, stifling inefficiencies is with automation.
Tools like ActiveControl from Basis Technologies reduce errors and cuts down the time it takes to make changes to critical SAP systems. With the ability to automate the entire change management workflow, and integrate SAP with non-SAP DevOps tools, companies can break down silos across the IT organization and gain visibility into the enterprise development lifecycle.
Supporting new business models and products
The second highest priority for CIOs this year is supporting new business models and products. To deliver on this priority and to keep up with the demands of the business, IT executives need the ability to change critical systems like SAP frequently and reliably. The traditionally slow, opaque, manual ways of managing and adapting SAP simply can’t keep up with the pace that companies need to stay competitive.
SAP automation can support this priority in three key ways:
- Improving the speed and quality of change management to eliminate effort, errors and delays across the SAP release cycle.
- Enabling SAP teams to adopt agile and DevOps methodologies to achieve fast, frequent, high-quality change delivery.
- Integrating SAP with other best-in-breed tools to enable greater transparency, collaboration and efficiency across the IT landscape.
With the right SAP automation in place, executives can quickly and efficiently support new business models and products. This case study explains how a North American bank implemented ActiveControl’s DevOps technology to deliver innovation faster across their IT landscape, including SAP, to manage the digital disruption and a highly competitive consumer finance market.
Lowering cost of IT operations
Half of the decision-makers surveyed ranked lowering the cost of IT operations as their top priority. As companies recover from the operational dynamics of the past couple years, they’re looking to trim back costs and keep budgets under control.
Finding a faster, more efficient approach to deliver change to the business is one way to save meaningful costs in both the short and long term. With automation, the amount of manual effort required to build, test and deploy software is significantly reduced. A recent Forrester Total Economic Impact™ report showed that firms who adopt ActiveControl eliminate 90% of deployment errors and 98.5% of remediation effort. That means less time spent finding and fixing errors, and increased focus on strategic projects that bring more value to the business. And the higher quality software being deployed virtually eliminates costly unexpected downtime.
Simply put, automation means that tasks can be carried out more quickly, in greater volume, at higher quality, with lower cost.
Keeping up with the latest technology
The number one challenge cited by CIOs was keeping up with the latest technology. For SAP users, adopting new technology in today’s environment means moving to S/4HANA and unsurprisingly, nearly 60% of respondents said S/4HANA is the top strategic investment for them this year. And while the true number of organizations who have fully embraced the new platform may be up for debate, SAPinsider found that across the board, companies were farther along in their S/4HANA journey than they were last year, indicating adoption is indeed on the rise.
One of the most important factors to consider when moving to S/4HANA is the role automation can play. Here are some of the biggest challenges we hear from our customers and how automation can help:
- Managing multiple landscapes. ActiveControl allows companies to automatically keep S/4HANA landscapes in sync with legacy systems to avoid change freezes, accelerate S/4 migration and support regular S/4 upgrades.
- Remediating custom code. Automation can support the entire process of SAP custom code analysis and remediation, cutting down on the time and budget it would take to do so manually.
- Synchronizing deployments. Automatically deploy change throughout the landscape of choice (legacy or S/4) and then selectively apply those changes to the other as required to keep both in sync.
I encourage you to explore more of our S/4HANA resources to learn how ActiveControl can accelerate and de-risk your S/4HANA journey.
Keeping up with technology also means adopting and implementing new tools quickly so they begin to deliver value as soon as possible. ActiveControl is typically up and running and ready to use within a couple of weeks.
Hiring and retaining staff
Hiring and retaining staff was the second greatest challenge cited by CIOs as firms across the globe have been impacted by ‘The Great Resignation’. Research shows nearly half of professionals are anticipating moving jobs in the next 6 months while two-thirds of employers are actively recruiting. So, while you’re looking for top-notch talent, other firms are trying to hire yours away.
I recently wrote a blog about the hiring challenges facing SAP businesses in the current market, specifically how to insulate yours from the potential risks. One such risk is that change and release processes tend to be manual, so when an employee leaves they take all of their valuable knowledge and skills with them. Alternatively, companies who automate these processes won’t skip a beat if someone leaves the team. All workflows are fully documented, including the appropriate approvals, checks and analysis.
Automation can also help keep people from leaving in the first place by reducing stress and demand to deliver more, faster. Without having to focus so much on daily mundane tasks, employees are freed up to focus on more strategic projects which is better for the business and gives them a greater sense of value and contribution to the team.
And, learning that your organization uses best-in-class automation tools can be a draw for new talent when it is time hire.
Aligning with business objectives
31% of respondents listed aligning with business objectives as their top challenge. Often these objectives include driving growth through internal transformation or product innovation.
With SAP powering so many vital operations, the business can’t afford to wait when they’re trying to meet strategic growth goals. Organizations need to innovate quickly across their IT landscape to stay ahead of the competition and exceed customer expectations. SAP must be as agile, flexible and responsive as the rest of the IT stack.
DevOps automation for SAP closes the gap between the development of business requirements and the delivery of innovation through safe, on-demand, continuous change. Deployment of functionality as soon as it’s ready, rather than waiting for the next release cycle, reduces time to market for products and services that provide a competitive edge.
A DevOps approach also breaks down silos, enabling SAP teams to collaborate more effectively with the business. Now, IT and business teams can effectively build and deliver customer value faster and more effectively.
There’s a lot on CIO’s plates today with the need to determine key priorities and focus areas for their teams while working to overcome the challenges of the new business environment. Overall, the speed of modern business is faster than ever before and firms that can’t keep up will be left behind. The right tools can empower companies with the agility, flexibility and stability needed to thrive, this year and beyond. Connect with us today to discuss how our automation solutions can help.