The value and issues behind the drive toward digital transformation

Stano SimunekIs your company adjusting its strategy and activities according to long-term evolution in the markets? If you were at Afera’s recent Athens Conference last month, you would have learned from SAP Vice President of General Business Sales Programmes Stano Simunek about one marked trend: 72% of CEOs worldwide believe that the market is changing so fast that the next 3 years will be more critical for their industry than the last 50 years.

Another visible trend: Of the top 10 most valued companies today, more than three-quarters of them have business models founded on data—not just Facebook and Google, but those in conservative industries such as agriculture, construction, and oil and gas.

A third, very important trend: New technologies are increasingly fast, capable and, crucially, affordable. What does it mean for your businesses? “If new technologies are popping up, you can be sure that there will also be new start-ups which pick up those technologies, invent how to use them in business, and disrupt the incumbents in any industry,” warned Mr. Simunek, who has over 20 years of experience with SAP in solutions sales and delivery.

Making life and business easierTechnology Challenge

One cutting edge technology that is driving digitalisation is machine learning. Both conversational systems (software booking a restaurant by phone with realistic human interaction) and image recognition (Swarovski’s application applying similarity scoring to product photo uploads) can be utilised to develop digital assistants and product identifiers to gain efficiencies in areas such as customer service.

Digital transformation for small or large innovation projects

Mr. Simunek described digital transformation as identifying in the overall business of the company (the products, the operations) a way to collect data from products and assets and to process and analyse the data to gain insights. These can then be used to improve operations dramatically or to create new products and revenue streams.

The strategic priorities which are currently driving SAP customers’ decisions to start transformational projects:Strategic priorities

  • Getting closer to the customer, as in quicker delivery and customisation
  • Targeting the “segment of one”, delivering a unique product per customer
  • Smart products which offer efficiencies in cost and energy reduction for customers (and which are drawing young talent to businesses)
  • Smart factories with “self-healing systems” offering predictive maintenance of the production process, and
  • Servitisation and new business models, in which companies want to move from selling products to selling services.


Download the complete slide presentation of Stano Simunek (access code Athens2018)
Go to overview of articles on Athens Conference topics
Learn more about Afera membership