During the inaugural SAP Forward Together virtual event held this week entitled “The New Reality of Businesses,” Rachel Barger, President and Managing director at SAP South East Asia, prompted businesses to ‘innovate and transform’ post Covid-19 disruption to be competitive and stay relevant, and reaffirms SAP’s goal of helping South East Asian businesses weather the crisis.
Barger addressed and encouraged South East Asian business leaders to start acting now and adopt a digital and intelligent enterprise transformation. She furthers adds that the key to surviving post-COVID-19 is to become an intelligent enterprise by leveraging innovative technologies and solutions,
“In a new reality, intelligent enterprises can ‘do more with less’, deliver best-in-class customer experience, build resilient supply chains, while inventing new business models and revenue streams.”
SAP Reveals the Extent of COVID-19’s Impact on SEA
SAP reports the results of the poll of 4,500 Southeast Asian business leaders:
- 63% of the businesses polled have already seen changes in customers’ purchasing behavior and motivations since the start of 2020, but 21% are still unsure or lack insight on changes in their customer’s needs.
- 20% of businesses foresee a need to adapt their customer experience strategies to meet evolving customer expectations and needs across various platforms.
- 22% of businesses expect significant changes in supply chain processes and operations.
- Over 80% of regional business leaders expect massive impact to change their business model or operations, with just 1% expecting “business-as-usual” in the long run.
Despite this awareness though, Barger shared during the SAP Forward Together virtual event that a significant number of the businesses surveyed (40%) are still currently adopting a “wait and see” approach, hoping for a resumption of ‘previous normalcy.’
Accelerating Business Transformation
By leveraging SAP’s innovative and advanced technologies (such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation) and acting now instead of “waiting and seeing,” leaders can better build a more resilient and agile business in a post-COVID-19 economy, according to Barger.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the world economy going through a period of ‘reset’ for the ‘rebound’. The race for competitiveness has already started again, and countries that sprint forward now would leave others trailing behind. For countries and companies that are complacent with a ‘wait and see’ attitude, they would be left behind – and may even become irrelevant. Winning companies are those that transform through innovation, more so in today’s digitally disruptive world.”
A study from McKinsey further drives down the importance of implementing a proactive approach and moving early to successfully ride the waves of uncertainty instead of being overpowered by them. The research shows that high-performing businesses were able to weather the storms and create an earnings advantage over others by focusing on growth (even if it meant incurring costs) through an accelerated digitalization strategy. The study further points,
“Digitization has widened the gap in capabilities and performance between digital leaders and laggards—a gap that is likely to grow during any downturn.”
The Resilients in Asia
At the onset of the pandemic, companies like Grab and Gojek successfully stepped up their operations by adopting advanced technological solutions from SAP Concur and Qualtrics to transform their employee experience management. By acting proactively, the two top ride-hailing and mobile service providers ensured business continuity despite the crisis and turmoil.
Indian conglomerate company Amara Raja Group also deployed their digital transformation with SAP S/4HANA during the COVID-19-related nationwide-lockdown imposed in the country. The move revolutionized Amara Raja’s business processes with intelligent automation—allowing the company to make better decisions more effectively in a highly volatile economy.
Clearly, to stay relevant in these uncertain times, digitalization is the way to go.