The Closing Speed of Transformation

Author: Dave Russell, Vice President, Enterprise Strategy at Veeam

 

We all know that software and infrastructure don’t typically go away in the data center. You very rarely decommission something and bring in all new gear or stop the application to completely transition over to something else. Everyone’s in some sort of hybrid state. Some think that they’re transitioning, and many hopefully even have a plan for this.

Some of these changes are bigger, take longer, and you almost need to try them and experience them to have success in order to proceed. I’ve heard people say, “Well, we’re going to get around to doing X, Y, and Z.” But they are often lacking a sense of urgency to experiment early.

A major contributor to this type of procrastination is that changes that appear to be far off, arrive suddenly. The closing speed of transformation is the issue. Seldom do you have the luxury of time; but early on you are seldom compelled to decide. You don’t sense the urgency.

It is not in your best interest to say, “We’re just going to try to manage what we’ve got, because we’re really busy. We’ll get to that when we can.” Because then, boom, you’re unprepared for when you really need to actually get going on something.

A perfect example is the impact of the cloud on every business and every IT department. The big challenge is that organizations know they should be doing something today but are still struggling with exactly what to do. In terms of a full cloud strategy, it’s oftentimes very disaggregated. And while we’re going on roughly a decade in the cloud-era, as an industry overall, we’re still really in the infancy of having a complete cloud strategy.

In December of last year, when I asked people, “What’s your cloud strategy? Do you have one? Are you formulating one?” The answer was unfortunately the same response that they’ve been giving for the last eight years… “Next year.” The problem is that this is next year, and they are still in the same state.

When it comes to identifying a cloud strategy, a big challenge for IT departments and CIOs is that it used to be easy to peer into the future because the past was fairly predictable — whether it was the technology in data centers, the transformation that was happening, the upgrade cycle, or the movement from one platform to another. The way you had fundamentally been doing something in the past wasn’t changing with the future. Nor did it require radically different thinking. And it likely did not require a series of conversations across all of IT, and the business as well.

But when it comes to the cloud, we’re dealing with a fundamental transformation in the ways that businesses operate when it comes to IT: compute, storage, backup, all of these are impacted.

Which means organizations working on a cloud strategy have little, to no historical game plan to refer to. Nothing they can fall back on for a reference. The approach of, “Well this is what we did in the past, so let’s apply that to the future,” no longer applies. Knowing what you have, knowing what your resources are, and knowing what to expect are not typically well understood with regards to a complete cloud transformation. In part, this is because the business is often transforming, or seeking to become more digital, at the same time.

With the cloud, you often have limited, or isolated experiences. You have people who are trying to make business decisions that have never been faced with these issues, in this way, before.

Moving to absolute virtualization and a hybrid, multi-cloud deployment means that when it comes time to set a strategy you have a series of questions that need to be answered:

  • Do you understand what infrastructure resources are going to be required? No.
  • Do you understand what skills are going to be needed from your people? No.
  • Do you know how much budget to allocate with clarity, today, and over time? No.
  • Do you know what technologies are going to impact your business immediately, and in the near-term future? No.

Okay, go ahead and make a strategy now based on the information you just gave me, four No answers in a row. That’s pretty scary.

On top of this, data center people tend to be very risk averse by design. There’s a paralysis that creeps in. “Well, we’re not sure how we should get started.” And people just stay in pause mode. That’s part of why we see Shadow IT or Rogue IT. Someone says, “Well, I’m going to go out and I’m just going to get my own SaaS-based license for some capability that I’m looking for, because the IT department says they’re investigating it.”

Typically, what happens is the IT department is trying to figure that out, trying to get a strategy, investigate the request. But in the meantime, they say, “No.” Now the IT becomes the department of “no” and is not being perceived as being helpful.

To address this issue head on, you need to apply an engineering mindset. Meaning, that you learn more about a problem by trying to solve it. In absence of having a great reference base, with something that can easily be compared to, we should at least get going on what is visible to us, and that looks to be achievable in the short term.

An excellent example in the software as a service (SaaS) world is Microsoft Office 365. Getting the on-premises IT people participating in this can still be a challenge. As the SaaS solutions start to become more and more implemented, they’re sometimes happening outside of the purview of what goes on in the data center. This can lead to security, pricing and performance and Availability issues.

Percolate that up, what’s the effect of that? What does that actually mean? It means that the worst-case scenario is you’ve got an outcome of where the infrastructure operations people are increasingly viewed as less and less strategic going forward, because if you take this out to the extreme, you’ll end up being custodians of legacy implementations and older solutions. All while numerous other projects are being championed, piloted, put in to production and ultimately owned, by somebody else; perhaps a line of business that is outside of IT.

That’s where you see CIOs self-report that they think more than 29% of their IT spending is happening outside of their purview. If you think about that, that’s concerning. You’re the Chief Information Officer (CIO). You should know pretty close to 100% of what’s going on as it relates to IT. If your belief is that approaching a third of IT spending happens elsewhere, outside of your control, and that this outside spending is not really an issue, then what are you centralizing? What are you the Chief of, if this trend continues?”

The previous way of developing a strategic IT plan worked well in the past when you had an abundance of time. But that is no longer the case. Transformation is happening all around us and inside of each organization. You can’t continue to defer decisions. IT is now a critical part of the business; every organization has become digital and the cloud is touching everything. It is time to step up, work with vendors you trust, and move boldly to the cloud.

 

How Can the Channel Address Challenges Faced by Customers?

By K.S. Parag Managing Director, FVC

 

Enterprise technology is a booming industry and companies are creating software and hardware that better meets the needs of their customers and solves the problems they face. But the industry isn’t without its problems.

Enterprise technology as an industry faces many issues that are threatening the success of new software and new businesses. From cloud to customer demands, some of the biggest challenges in enterprise technology right now includes outdated UI/UX, mixing cloud and on-premise services, standing out of the crowd, following consumer technologies, catering to one customer, balancing feedback and focus, and lots more.

In such a scenario, companies often turn to their solution providers and partners for solutions to their key problems. Thus, your team as a channel partner has to come up with answers that are flexible and as per the requirement of the situation. You also have to give your team some leeway where, in the interest of your company’s reputation, they would be able to serve your customers better.

Customer service in today’s world is an essential part of a company. With the increasing competition in all industries, the challenge is to deliver high-quality solutions accompanied by great customer service. However, this task is not a piece of cake.

Here are some suggestions on how you, as a channel partner can efficiently address challenges faced by your customers:

Understand Your Customer’s Expectations

The first and possibly the biggest challenge is to understand the diverse and constantly changing customer expectations. Since customers can be diverse by gender, race, age, generation, and so on, it is very critical to speak to your customers to understand their specific problems. Always approach them with a “no one size fits all” strategy. It is important for a business to get to know its clients, customers, and consumers. Find out their needs, expectations, preferences, opinions, and suggestions for improvement.

Reach Out to Your Customers

Researching and gathering data about your customers is paramount to solving their problems. There are plenty of ways to advertise and get through the customers. Use a mix of print media, radio, television, phones, email, social media and of course, face-to-face campaigns to reach out to your customers. Indulge in surveys, competitions and so on to gather information about your customers’ pain points, so you are better prepared to address those problems. Implementation of a customer feedback service and gathering data from customers will help you understand and work towards better customer experience.

Consistency

Consistency is probably the most difficult challenge to achieve. Great customer service must be delivered to all customers, across all business channels, 24/7. Each and every experience of each and every customer must be equally good. What affects customer satisfaction are cumulative experiences across multiple touch points and in multiple channels over time. Hence, consistency can be achieved by having clear-cut policies on delivering great customer service.

Exceed Customer Expectations

As a channel partner, it is not just enough to meet your customer’s expectations. The fact that these expectations are constantly changing, you must then be always a step ahead. You need to understand that the expectations of customers are set by your competitors. Stay ahead of the competition by being updated with new initiatives and suggestions based on customer feedbacks and current industry trends.

Employ Skilled Professionals

Having a skilled workforce is the best thing a channel partner could ever have. However, you also need to understand that though hiring skilled employees is one thing, retaining them is another. Companies must have structured programs to teach and train new hires about company policies, values, culture and practices in dealing with customers. Additionally, considering that customer service is one of the most stressful jobs, companies must also provide benefits that offer work-life balance and support lifestyle activities that can reduce stress and boost productivity.

Saudi Arabia’s Hoshan Holding Partners with Seidor to Become the Kingdom’s First Adopter of SAP S4 HANA Public Cloud

Hoshan Holding fuels digital transformation by migrating from SAP ECC to SAP S4 HANA Public Cloud. The company will benefit from AI-powered decision-making capabilities, optimized business processes and reduced cost of ownership

Seidor, a global system integrator that provides SAP Consulting services, has announced that Hoshan Holding, widely recognized as one of the largest holding companies in the Middle East, has become the first Saudi company to implement SAP S4 HANA for Public Cloud. The group will also integrate SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Cloud for Real Estate, to digitally transform the company’s capabilities and offerings in Saudi and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The latest ERP solution from SAP, SAP S4 HANA is a next-generation business suite with built-in artificial intelligence (AI), that will empower Hoshan Holding employees to capture every opportunity, while optimizing business functions across the entire enterprise. SuccessFactors will allow coverage of the entire talent-acquisition lifecycle from onboarding to offboarding, and SAP Cloud for Real Estate will turbo-charge the company’s asset management and insights.

Among the many benefits Hoshan Holding will reap from Seidor’s integration of next-gen SAP solutions into its technology stack is the “significant lowering of cost of ownership”, which was cited by Khalid AlBabtain, Board Member, Hoshan Holding, as a major impetus in selecting a cloud solution.

“For many years, we ran our core ERP on SAP ECC,” he said. “While the solution met all our business needs, we felt there was a need to move to a more simplified, standardized and agile environment with an enhanced UX and, at the same time, migrate to the cloud, which reduces our cost of ownership. SAP S4 HANA Public Cloud solution also requires less implementation time, delivers global standard processes, provides a more coherent roadmap for future solutions, demands less maintenance, and reduces other costs, such as hardware expenditure.”

Seidor has 35 years of experience in implementing SAP solutions around the world. Given SAP’s decision to stop support of SAP ECC, beginning in 2025, Seidor MENA, based in Dubai, UAE, is taking a leading role in the region’s digital transformation, helping organizations across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region leverage SAP S4 HANA to reinvent their business processes and optimize delivery of products and services.

“With SAP ECC soon reaching end of life, all roads lead to SAP S4 HANA. Organizations have several migration options available but unfortunately most businesses in the region are either not aware of all the options or are unsure of which strategy would be best suited for their business,” said Ignacio Ruiz de Equilaz, Managing Director, Seidor MENA. “In this respect Hoshan Holding serves as an excellent example of an organization that has worked closely with Seidor and taken the step of migrating their core business systems to the SAP cloud, realizing unprecedented leaps in their agility and the speed at which they can innovate—vital capabilities in the new global digital economy.

“Seidor’s values are built around world-class quality and delivery of all the very latest offerings from SAP, along with best-in-market consultancy, provided by our experts in solutioning. Taken together with our global reach and regional presence, MENA customers such as Hoshan Holding can be assured of a true digital-transformation partner that is ready to guide them, on their migration journey, to new standards of security, optimization and empowerment, “continued Ruiz de Equilaz.

Hoshan Group’s SAP implementation roadmap covers its KSA headquarters, as well as branches in the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Kenya and Morocco. Phase 1 of implementation was conducted in KSA and UAE simultaneously, involving five separate company codes and 28 plants. SAP S4 HANA Public Cloud modules deployed were Finance, Sales Order to Cash, Procure to Pay, and Inventory. SAP Cloud for Real Estate and SuccessFactors modules included Payroll and Employee Central. A further six locations―Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Kenya and Morocco—will follow in subsequent deployment phases.

“Hoshan Holding, in its search for a solution that delivered best-in-class industry processes and decision-making capabilities, found in SAP S4 HANA Public Cloud a robust, consistent, easy-to-use tool that optimizes daily operations and frees up employees to focus on the more intellectual parts of their jobs,” Ruiz de Equilaz added. “This is digital transformation in action.”

Hoshan Holding plans to continue its partnership with Seidor as it grows into new markets. The company also intends an expansion of its SuccessFactors implementation to include other talent-management modules.