April 20, 2017

If you have been around for the past couple of decades, youve probably noticed that the case for digital transformation has changed dramatically.

In the beginning, ideas like digital experiences, ecommerce, automation and the like were viewed as fashionable marketing or sales experiments, with little proof of how they would pay off.

The Case for Digital TransformationSome companies didnt pursue digital strategies, some took a me-too approach, while others plodded ahead slowly. As the digital opportunity became more real, the imperative for digital transformation changed.

The case for change evolved. Take for instance the case for ecommerce that went from lets see what happens, to we have to be competitive, to where it is now: a fundamental and essential business function. Not surprisingly, the corresponding strategies and approaches also changed. Ecommerce went from a stand-alone operation, to a bolt-on for existing channels, to eventually overcome traditional sales operations in many organizations. It didnt happen to just consumer-facing start-ups, but it included long-standing business-to-business (B2B) organizations selling complex products and solutions.

Forrester estimates that B2B ecommerce will top $1.1 trillion and account for 12.1% of all B2B sales in the US by 2020. As the case for ecommerce gets stronger, so does the need for operational excellence and business integration. The ecommerce environment can no longer stand alone as its own silo or be solely owned by one part of the organization. It needs to be integrated into the core transactional, planning and financial systems of the enterprise. Its relationship to the organization must be integral, strong and comprehensive.

Companies are now at a place where digital transformation is a must have to be competitive.

Digital transformation does not just present new opportunities; it ties into fundamental business drivers like core revenue generation, operating income, cash flow, market valuation and profitability. Its an imperative to delight customers, make transactions and reduce operational expense. All of these metrics are part of the business case for really embracing comprehensive and strategic digital transformation programs.

At SAPs SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016, several companies presented their digital transformation plans, strategies and stories, including a leading B2B life sciences provider of equipment and supplies with over 500,000 customers. The life sciences company changed their ecommerce game in a big way by implementing a powerful and enhanced ecommerce solution that integrated into their core systems. With the implementation delivering a simplified, integrated and enhanced ecommerce platform, the company has since created engaging customer experiences, increased revenue, accelerated time-to-market and achieved the scalability to meet its future business goals.

This company made the strong case for digital transformation: this wasnt about working at the edges of the business but taking on the fundamentals of fulfilling core sales and operations.

This years SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando promises to be an exciting and thought provoking event. Like last year, TCS is going to be big and bold with our all-star line-up, showcasing real work we did with real clients, all who are excited to share their successes. Dont miss it, and certainly dont miss us.

Akhilesh Tiwari is the Global Head of the SAP Practice at Tata Consultancy Services. He is responsible for driving the business growth and strategic direction of the SAP team – a dedicated group of talented consultants who work in close collaboration with SAP and TCS industry experts to design, implement and execute enterprise-wide projects for many Fortune 500 companies. Under his guidance, TCS has strengthened its long-standing relationship with SAP and delivered market-leading results for clients.