This article was written by our Guest Blogger, Michael Foster, Chief Product Officer of Third Wave Business Systems
What’s being said about technology?
There seems be two conversations happening today about the use of technology in small/mid-size companies. The first conversation encompasses the ongoing assessment and planning of technology investments that a company engages in. This is the same familiar annual or semi-annual conversation that’s been happening between Owners, IT, Finance, and Operations Managers for the last few decades. This planning typically seeks to leverage existing tech investments to the greatest extent possible while carving something out for incremental new investments. The second conversation is about digital transformation and disruption and what those words mean to a company. We observe that this conversation is still primarily spurred by the technology and analyst community, who urge digitally transforming your business model or risk disruption. While some attention is given to it, it seems to us that most SMEs (Small/Mid-size Enterprises) are not turning this second conversation into the focused and intentional strategic initiative that the tech sector and analysts would advise.
The Case for Digital Transformation
The conversation we like to have with customers about digital transformation is one that dovetails more gracefully with that first conversation that they’re more accustomed to working on (i.e. annual technology planning and incremental improvement). The fact is that it’s hard for most companies that were not born digital to process a big concept like ‘digitally transform or be disrupted’ particularly when they don’t perceive an imminent threat. It’s much easier for our customers to process a statement like… “Over years, your company has incrementally become more automated and connected. You’ve confirmed how essential that has been to your growth. We would propose that there are still many opportunities to become more connected internally and externally while continuing to leverage the tech investments you’ve made, like the one you’ve made in Business One.” Invariably a few examples get the customer thinking about how much more connection they could have in their business with just incremental investment and voila, a conversation about digital transformation just happened that connects to the reality of their investment capacity and their perceived need to evolve.
We’re really looking forward to sharing ideas on connectedness in our upcoming Biz.One session, “Killer Combinations of Web/Mobile/Process Automation”. What we won’t be doing is intimidating the attendees with ‘sea change’ ideas about “digital transformation” that call for them to go home and change their business model. Rather, we will make this topic approachable and the benefits palpable by showing pragmatic real-world examples of processes within product and services companies that have been simplified and enhanced via affordable modern technology that connects people and systems to each other and importantly to SAP Business One. The technology used is in these is examples is Third Wave’s web/mobile portal platform Versago and process automation platform, Bizweaver.
“I accepted the opportunity to present at Biz.One because we whole heartedly agree with this perspective on incremental digital improvement. I’m with Innovation Communication Systems (ICS), a Third Wave customer, and as a full-service IT provider, we’re right in the middle of the digital transformation our customers are undergoing and it is evolutionary not revolutionary for them. Even internally at our company it’s an evolution that takes place in the context of prior investments we need to continue to leverage, SAP being one of them. But, as long as we are continuously looking for ways to be more connected internally and with customers, then we know that we will remain both competitive and a leader in the market.
At ICS we’re establishing some really important connections using Third Wave’s tools. Our goal over the next three years is to utilize the combination of Versago and Bizweaver to integrate all of our varied software programs and databases so we are utilizing one single database (SAP) for data integrity. These tools will be integral to our sales process, ordering, customer self-service, project management, job costing, etc…Versago and Bizweaver are opening SAP up to our mobile workforce hence extending the life of the investment we’ve made in SAP.
Biz.One will be a great opportunity to share our vision with other SAP users, get their feedback, and also learn what other companies are doing to become more connected with SAP at the center. We’re also happy to evangelize for the Versago and Bizweaver tools on behalf of Third Wave as they really augment SAP Business One beautifully and the flexibility and ease of use they offer is something I think other users will appreciate.”
– Jason Simons, VP Operations, ICS (Presenter)