How critical thinking will reshape business and technology
|About the Author|
|Steve van Wyk is the Head and Senior Vice-President of Platform & Technologies, GCO, at SAP Asia-Pacific (including Japan)
talk a lot about the constantly accelerating pace of change in the technology industry.
If you look back to 2013 it was incredible to think that 90% of the world’s data had been generated in the past two years. It was estimated that more data would be created in 2017 than in the previous 5,000 years.
It’s easy to get immune to statistics like this but the impact of technological progress is all around us. Take education as an example. When I did my first degree we relied on books from the library because there was no internet. We were tested on the content of those books. We were taught what to think but not really how to think.
As a father it is incredible to see how the way people engage with learning has changed so much in a relatively short period of time.
Modern education is more about critical thinking. Young children are picking subjects, doing some research, forming an opinion and communicating it back to a group.
Even seven year olds get more credit for demonstrating process than they do for ending up with the right answer.
When you bring this critical thinking into business, it creates a fundamental problem. Traditionally, large businesses have put static systems in place to manage processes.
Critical thinkers will look to challenge those processes but the systems get in the way. So how do you free the potential of different ideas from the reality of systems and processes?
As more processes become automated and the nature of work evolves, software will be positioned to do most of the mundane tasks.
If you think about data analytics, there are currently a large number of people designing dashboards to help business people visualise the information that matters to them.
But when you look at advanced analytics from a cloud perspective, a piece of software will connect to the same data, understand the relationships that sit within it and give you a visualisation.
The work is done by the software so you can accelerate past that point and apply thinking to changing how your business operates.
Faster, smarter decisions
To use another example, you might run a sales report today to get some information tomorrow morning. Then you’ll look and see what has changed in your business.
You’ll want to ask more questions to understand why these changes happened. If you’ve had a sale move out of this quarter you’ll start by making a series of phone calls, before figuring out a strategy and then going back to the customer. This reactive mode of following a chain is time-consuming.
Thanks to advanced analytics you can progress this much quicker. You’ll know the business is down first thing in the morning, will easily trace that to a deal and who owns it, then chat to that person and collaborate with all the relevant information on hand. That frees up your day to drive more revenue rather than trying to solve this problem.
|Asmore processes become automated and the nature of work evolves, software will be positioned to do most of the mundane tasks.|
Predictive capability looks at deals coming through and gives you visibility of how likely you are to close them based on previous experience. It provides guidance on what you need to do to get them over the line.
While it is true that business has never been faster but fast forward another year and it will be faster again. We’re generating more data but also collaborating more effectively than ever before.
You no longer need to be sitting in the same room, you can be anywhere in the world. And it is not just collaborating with people in your business.
Open innovation means we are working more with partners to unlock shared benefits that are bigger than we could get to on our own.
We talk about digital transformation as a goal but in reality it’s an iterative process. As we learn more, we’re building accelerators designed to help specific industries unlock potential without starting from scratch.
The excitement lies in connecting intellectual property with technology processes and design thinking to create new ways of doing business. Our shared progress will be built on critical thinking and collaboration.
|SAP will be at the first-ever HR Festival Asia, brought to you by the combined experience of HR Technology Conference & Exposition (US) and HR Summit (Asia).
For more information, visit www.hrfestivalasia.com.