Oracle Head of Apps Singapore Levent Tavsanci discusses why the pandemic has most likely revealed gaps in business management plans and argues that for those who have embarked on a digital transformation journey, this crisis will no doubt put business resilience to the test.
By Levent Tavsanci
Singapore as a nation has proactively sought opportunities to upgrade its technological capabilities, enabling it to fully benefit from being at the forefront of innovation. Year-on-year, there has been budget allocations dedicated to boosting the adoption of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data and robotics – driving businesses to execute their digital transformation.
In 2020, Singapore allocated SGD 8.3 billion over the next three years to enable transformation and growth, supporting enterprises in deepening their capabilities. However, the elephant in the room is that both businesses and employees are struggling to stay afloat in today’s extraordinary business climate.
With organisations faced with business continuity, cash flow and supply chain challenges, it is more relevant than ever to have a strong foundation in place for your backend services. Whether it is people, processes, security, or technology, businesses that are agile and able to adapt to change quickly, will emerge at the pinnacle of this crisis.
It is crucial that in times of crisis, businesses continue to innovate and pivot tactics in order to remain true to their business goals. Organisations need to look beyond the upfront costs of emerging technologies and understand the rewards they will reap from it over a prolonged period of time.
The pain of keeping your business systems up to date
Customers are accustomed to instant gratification and convenience, with product-based companies embracing a service model to cater for that. Flexible consumption models means a need to revamp and realign customer experience, finance, human resource (HR) and supply chain processes across thousands of customer touch points, pricing, delivery and billing options.
In a typical organisation structure, customer service and sales teams handle direct customer contact, while the finance and operations provide the necessary processes required to support the customer experience. Needless to say, there has to be a seamless integration and visibility into each other’s workflows. This is where many legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are put to the test.
When ERP systems (finance, HR and supply chain) are managed on-premises, end-of-life support and maintenance are constant concerns – and this can be an expensive process. Businesses may find themselves investing more time and manpower than expected to ensure they have the latest technology.
Seamless integration between software as a service (SaaS) and legacy systems is a great challenge too. Some companies acknowledge the need for more agile and modern systems but replacing everything at once would kill the budget entirely. The apprehension to do a complete system overhaul also prevents these companies from adopting newer and more efficient cloud solutions.
Nevertheless, there is a way to reduce such growing pains and to make digital transformation an easier journey. SaaS applications for core business processes are an attractive alternative with automated updates and there is no need for regular hardware maintenance. In the long term, businesses can enjoy reduced downtime and free-up resources for more strategic and innovative tasks.
For instance, global marine services provider Swire Pacific Offshore is leveraging Oracle ERP Cloud to create an integrated financial system that would drive work efficiency, financial accuracy and data integrity across its operations worldwide. In doing so, the marine services provider hopes to enhance their internal controls, compliance and reporting.
Building business smarter
At its core, SaaS allows users to subscribe to and use applications in the cloud while the software vendor manages and updates the application. A modern cloud suite provides a complete, agile, secure, and integrated solution for an entire business, across finance and accounting, procurement, project management, supply chain, transportation management, HR, sales, customer service, marketing and more.
Managing core business processes and customer experience data on a single platform helps create operation efficiency, improves insights and enhances decision-making to enable more adaptable business that can outpace market changes.
Strengthen for a digital economy
Difficult times are drivers of change. The current situation would most likely have revealed gaps in many business management plans. For those who have embarked on a digital transformation journey, this crisis will no doubt put your digital capabilities to the test.
Technology can address critical needs and build a more resilient future for businesses. Now is the time to review your plans and identify gaps that need to be filled.