by Mehmood Khan, Chief Operating Officer at SAP Africa
NAIROBI, Kenya, 21st August 2018 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The emergence and proliferation of exponential technologies such as AI and IoT will challenge organisations’ ability to innovate at speed and scale to remain competitive. Within a few years, modern executives will have to consider the impact of machine learning, artificial intelligence, IoT and even quantum computing on their businesses.
These technologies hold untold potential for economic growth and prosperity. One recent PwC study estimates the economic gains of AI at $15.7-trillion by 2030, increasing global Gross Domestic Product by a staggering 14%. A separate McKinsey study expects the Internet of Things to add $520-billion in global annual economic benefits by next year, climbing to anywhere between $4-trillion and $11-trillion by 2025.
As exponential technologies increase labour productivity, drive individualised consumer products, automate low-value repetitive work tasks and unlock as-yet-undiscovered opportunities for innovation and human ingenuity, organisations will need to build systems and processes that enable them to ride this wave of disruption. Technology has already transformed our world many times over; the new technologies on the horizon hold the potential to accelerate the cycle of business model reengineering, generating greater value and growth than we can reasonably predict right now.
These benefits, however, are not without risks: loss of job functions will challenge the ability of organisations to upskill and retain staff. The same AI advances that will increase productivity will also enable an entirely new set of cybersecurity threats that could potentially cripple entire organisations.
For the COO, this means a fundamental rethink of how organisations build sustainability into their business models. Global sustainability consultancy BSR’s latest State of Sustainable Business report found that business – not politicians – will lead the charge for a more sustainable future. Issues such as climate change, the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and increased demand for accountability will all be driven largely by the private sector.
The same report highlighted that C-level executives have the greatest measure of influence over a company’s sustainability. The COO, tasked with building the systems and capacity that enables organisations to adapt seamlessly to new opportunities and position better in the fight against emerging threats, is especially influential in this regard.
Sustainability priorities for COOs
So, what do COOs need to consider in light of increased demand for sustainable business practices in exponential times?
In an environment of constant accelerating change, organisations need to ensure they continually invest in their internal capabilities. Upskilling staff, redeploying productive team members whose jobs are affected by AI, and ensuring the leadership team is adaptive and responsive to change is key to ensuring sustainability.
With the entry of Generation Z and the domination of Millennials in the modern workplace, companies are also being forced to look at a world beyond profit. Striving for a higher purpose not only unites disparate teams in different geographies around shared goals but increases the emotional engagement within and outside of the company. This was illustrated in a landmark ten-year study of the world’s 50 fastest-growing brands that built the deepest relationships with customers and achieved the highest financial growth between 2001 and 2011 conducted by Millward Brown and Jim Stengel. An investment into this so-called Stengel 50 would have produced 400% greater returns than an investment into the S&P500 over a similar period.
Of utmost importance is the modern organisation’s own technology backbone and digital core, without which exponential technologies will disrupt and upend their operations and almost-certainly spell doom for their future growth prospects. Investments now into the likes of SAP’s S/4HANA digital core and its Leonardo platform that is purpose-built to enable and integrate exponential technologies will set organisations up for an era of unprecedented growth.
The exponential future is at our doorstep. We can hide behind the curtains and pretend these forces will pass us by. Or we can reimagine the way we build and operate businesses and take advantage of the untold benefits of this new era.
The choice is yours.
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of SAP Africa.
As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 345,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.com.
# # #
Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.
© 2018 SAP SE. All rights reserved.
SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx#trademark for additional trademark information and notices.
Note to editors:
To preview and download broadcast-standard stock footage and press photos digitally, please visit www.sap.com/photos. On this platform, you can find high resolution material for your media channels. To view video stories on diverse topics, visit www.sap-tv.com. From this site, you can embed videos into your own Web pages, share video via email links, and subscribe to RSS feeds from SAP TV.
For customers interested in learning more about SAP products:
South Africa: +27 11 235 6000
Kenya: +254 706 758764
For more information, press only:
Ansophie Strydom, SAP Africa, +27 (11) 235 6000, email@example.com
Adam Hunter, SAP Africa, +27 (711) 787 035, firstname.lastname@example.org