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How IBM and SAP are Helping to Accelerate Clients' Journeys to the Intelligent Enterprise

By Matt Schwartz | SAP Global Practice Leader
April 08, 2021

The Evolution Partnership initiative between IBM and SAP continues to enable end-to-end transformation for clients during the pandemic. By Matt Schwartz, SAP Global Practice Leader April 8, 2021...

The Evolution Partnership initiative between IBM and SAP continues to enable end-to-end transformation for clients during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital transformation for every company in every industry -- the majority of C-Suite executives surveyed by IBM reported they've accelerated their digital transformation, and 66 percent say they have been able to complete initiatives that previously encountered resistance. Given future disruptions are as inevitable as they are unpredictable, leaders know they need the agility to seamlessly adapt to ever-changing market conditions and customer demands. 

Recognizing the urgency of helping our clients drive faster transformations for their businesses, IBM and SAP introduced new industry offerings early in the pandemic. Since announcing in June 2020, we've helped our clients navigate uncertainty by reinventing their core business processes into intelligent workflows with the help of technologies like AI and automation, driving faster business transformation time to value and leveraging data to make more informed decisions. 

As we continue to further accelerate the journey of our clients in every industry around the world to become an intelligent enterprise and help them emerge even stronger post-pandemic, together with SAP, we've collaborated on new offerings, including:

  • Intelligent Industry Cloud Solutions for Industrial Manufacturing: We've seen new business models in the industrial manufacturing and components industry accelerate because of changing global market requirements and expectations. To help address this, we've teamed up with leading industrial manufacturing companies to create and build out capabilities for intelligent workflow offerings on SAP's intelligent suite with industry cloud solutions focused on lead-to-order, plan-to-manufacture, order-to-cash and maintain-to-resolve business processes. This has been designed to help these industrial manufacturers reinvent their workflows, increase win rates, as well as enhance productivity and customer satisfaction. 

Integrating AI and analytics in areas like quotation, pricing, visual inspection and the connected plant are growing business needs for industrial manufacturing companies. Patrick Lamm, SAP Senior Director - Industrial Business Unit - Industrial Machinery and Components, considers this RISE with SAP Industries solution an integral part in accelerating digital transformation: "We've seen tremendous traction with this solution given the end-to-end process capabilities in the processes that matter most to industrial manufacturing companies. The intelligent workflow design integration leveraging SAP Workflow Management allows for API based orchestration, business process management and optimization."

  • Cognitive Care for SAP Utilities: The pandemic has had a direct impact on customer service, as industries have had to take a step back and reevaluate how digital technology and applications can be used to meet new customer demands. For the utilities industries, COVID-19 has driven high customer call volumes to contact centers. Many utilities are also struggling with call center work-from-home options and have limited capabilities to serve customers through digital channels. So, we've identified the opportunity for utilities to adopt a more efficient approach to their customer service and ultimately, reinvent how business gets done. The Cognitive Care for SAP Utilities solution, integrated with SAP Customer Experience and SAP S/4HANA, helps utilities meet the demand and requirements for inbound and outbound customer communication. It can also transform the customer service experience into an intelligent workflow with embedded machine learning, conversational AI and automation. This enhances chat capabilities on the customer's channel of choice and enables customer service agents to answer questions faster and provide valuable services. The solution also leverages SAP Qualtrics for “lifestyle data” through surveys, which is integrated into machine learning models to identify the customers’ level of green advocacy. 

Juergen Kuhmann, SAP Senior Director of Energy Retail Transformation and CX, has seen the shift in customer service. "As one of the first industry cloud partner solutions under Cloud for Utilities, Cognitive Care for SAP Utilities enables our clients in this industry to benefit from the conversational AI capabilities and machine learning insights on how to best serve their customers while reducing the overall cost to serve." 

  • Continuous Intelligent Planning: As companies emerge from the lingering effects of the pandemic, many are focused on reviving their strained supply chains and understanding the ongoing vulnerabilities, risk areas and volatility. We've created a new supply chain solution called Continuous Intelligent Planning designed to help companies better deal with supply chain disruptions - even in unforeseen events like COVID-19. The solution augments SAP's strong planning capabilities in Integrated Business Planning (SAP IBP) for better forecasting and demand sensing in the short-term planning horizon to help better predict demand for a client's goods or services.
  • IBM Accelerated Move Center: We created the IBM Accelerated Move Center, a next-generation migration factory designed to further automate and accelerate the journey to the intelligent enterprise and give clients more predictability on their path to SAP S/4HANA. This offering addresses the brownfield migration requirement we see by many mid-market companies and divisions of larger companies. This new offering can help reduce prep and project timelines, maintenance team effort and system down time. We've already seen strong momentum with clients in markets like Europe and India.

We'll continue to co-create and enhance solutions as businesses continue to operate in this new normal, complementing our collaboration on cloud and RISE with SAP. Over the next year, IBM is looking to release three to five cross-industry and industry offerings each quarter. The next offerings are in the retail and defense sectors that provide our clients with greater flexibility for hybrid cloud solutions. We're also combining efforts in sustainability with the SAP Climate 21 initiative

Statements regarding IBM's future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only.


Matt Schwartz
SAP Global Practice Leader

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