Going Digital Means Retooling, Even For Providers and Integrators
SAP’s Recent Job Cuts Announcement is a Prime Example
By Clay Thomas, Principal SCMO2
As cloud apps and “going digital” have invaded our everyday vernacular, my inbox and LinkedIn update stream are filled with articles and posts about the necessary workforce changes and skills retooling required by companies to successfully adopt these new technologies.
And now, this past week saw SAP announce significant job cuts for 2019 as they transform their own workforce and adjust to their new reality as a cloud service provider rather than a straight software play. This announcement comes on the heels of two major cloud acquisitions late in 2018 as market competition accelerates. A reminder that all of us are facing this challenge and none of us are immune to these realities!
So of course that applies to us system integrators as well. Since SCMO2 has been providing SAP Supply Chain Planning process consulting for more than 18 years, we got a jump start engaging with our consultants on skills realignment a few years ago. We have also made a deliberate effort to educate our global customer base on these inevitable new methods of planning through events like our three-day SAP IBP Bootcamp or our SAP IBP in a Day workshop because we recognize that it’s the customer that has the most difficult transition.
Not only do they need to nurture updated skillsets to use these new tools, they also have to make challenging decisions regarding whether to keep or discard their legacy tools. Knowing that SAP may not have a “complete” solution for their requirements, or their system integrator may not be able to navigate the appropriate path with them, many are feeling adrift in the process. To complicate matters more, many of these companies have lost all understanding of how or why their legacy APO (or other) system is so heavily customized with code, macros and lengthy job schedules, and are having to revert to spreadsheets again to fill the gaps.
My perspective—focus on these three core disciplines, and you will most certainly realize a net gain in benefits.
- Ensure your workforce really understands your business and how supply chain planning contributes value to the bottom line.
- Work with SAP so they can provide the technical capability you require; yes, SAP is much more receptive to that input these days!
- Collaborate with a supply-chain-focused service provider who can straddle the legacy and cloud divide and build the right skillset in your organization for making the digital transition.
The old adage still applies, even in these exciting, fast-moving days of cloud data: doing it right takes time, patience, passion and dedication.