10 Things You Need to Know About Digital Transformation | Featured Image

10 Things You Need to Know About Digital Transformation

Digital Transfomration

Digital transformation isn’t just a phase or a buzzword. Business leaders are now fast waking up to the important role technology is set to play in their growth strategies, with the latest report from Gartner showing a rise in the number of CEOs ranking IT as a priority – “The IT-related area rose from 19% mentioning it as a priority for 2016/2017 to 31% in 2017/2018.”[i] The recent explosion of connected devices and platforms, for example, has made it imperative for companies to quickly adapt their products, services and processes, and move towards the digital world. This, naturally, requires transformation of some kind.

However, the reality is that digital transformation will require some tough choices to ensure your business isn’t dragged along or left behind. But we all know that change is not easy. You might be thinking how do you start transforming? Does it have to cost lots of money? Or perhaps you’re experiencing resistance to change. What’s the problem with doing things the ‘old’ way anyway? Here are ten considerations that that will help companies on their digital transformation journey.

Digital transformation will change your business, but focussing on the right level of change is key

New digital technologies should be seen as an enabler for better, more seamless and streamlined business operations that make your business competitive – driving growth. Focusing on where digital transformation can deliver the most benefits and add the most value in your quest for growth should be where you begin the change process.

Technology investment is crucial to growth but just because the technology is new, doesn’t mean it’s right for you

Sometimes less is more. The right use of technology can radically improve your business, but the deployment of technology for technology’s sake can be self-defeating. Being open to the transformative impact of new technologies is the most important consideration for companies around the world.

Consider where your company is on its digital transformation journey

Growing your technology platform doesn’t necessarily mean your business will grow too. Sometimes it’s better to have fewer solutions than more, but it can be challenging for business managers to keep on top of the latest tech trends and new solutions being launched in the market.

Many competing technologies profess to drive digital transformation, however, the utility of solutions depend on the stage your company is at in the transformation journey. From mobile sales and field services, to wireless sales counters and warehouses, to advanced inventory management – different solutions provide new ways to reduce costs, improve the customer experience, and improve the bottom line.

Not everyone in your company will feel comfortable with digital transformation

Society and technology are changing more quickly than most companies can adapt. From enterprise resource planning (ERP) to cloud computing, new tools, platforms, and channels are creating unprecedented opportunities to connect with customers and improve internal processes—but only for the businesses agile enough to transform and adapt to these new digital realities.

Even so, there’s no single roadmap for digital transformation and the path is different for every company and industry. However, there must be attempts to get employee buy-in from the start. This requires a commitment to digital technology from the boardroom to all levels of staff. You should have leaders with the right mind-set and motivation to lead the digital transformation process.

It’s no good having data if you don’t know what it means

Firms that undergo a true digital transformation programme put data and information at the heart of their technology focused business models. Many are shocked to see just how much information they had but were not utilising properly. The new data landscape provides you with unique opportunities to turn data into insights – the fuel for any digital transformation journey – with real-time updates providing opportunities for better business decision making.

In fact, Forrester Research has found that more than 70% of decision-makers report planned or current initiatives to encourage more data-driven decisions, making unlocking the value of integrated business data critical to success in today’s modern distribution marketplace.

Digital transformation won’t grow your profits overnight – embrace change as part of a wider growth strategy with measurable goals

Change is a constant in today’s dynamic marketplace, but it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve in a short time. A recent survey we sponsored, highlighted how high-growth companies embrace change. Seventy-six per cent of high-growth companies prefer constant innovation to business stability, while only 49% of low-growth companies do so. In an age where innovation is driven by rising customer expectations, growing companies have distinct short-term goals that embrace innovation and business change as part of a wider transformation journey for growth.

Digital transformation should make your business more adaptable but it won’t make you immune to competition

It has never been more important for business leaders to carry the torch for digital transformation, but the most important factor is making sure digital potential is translated into competitive advantage. This requires top executives to champion the deployment of flexible, digital technologies that change the way they engage with their customers.

As Gartner rightly states, “technology shapes business strategy, but market, political and financial factors prevail.”[ii] Nevertheless, embracing the right technology brings people together, allows businesses to land and expand into new geographic locations with minimum resources, and makes the product development lifecycle more responsive to consumer demand than ever before. 

It takes more than just digital technology to encourage collaboration across departments and divisions

To begin digital transformation, you need to look at your business from the inside out – consider the tools and systems you use, what works well, what doesn’t and ways these can be improved. But when technology is heralded above all else, there becomes an even greater disconnect between employees and the challenges that their business is trying to solve.

There might be isolated investments that are doing very well, but they’re still isolated. New solutions must be an enabler aligned with a bigger mission – to evolve internal processes, structure and culture, or to match the evolution in customers’ behaviour. Consider how you communicate both internally and externally, the strengths and weaknesses of your staff and if their skills are fit for purpose. Do you need staff with more digital skills and will you need to recruit them throughout the process?

Your customers don’t think about your digital transformation, but they do expect it to happen

The digital trends that are impacting every part of business operations will not slow down, and it’s the same playing field for all of your competitors, and every start-up that’s gunning for a piece of your world. Your customers expect that you are embracing digital transformation because they are doing so, and they need you to join them on the journey. 

You can talk the talk, but make sure you walk the walk

To make digital transformation happen, high-growth companies don’t just pay lip service to ideas such as new technology and innovation – they back them up with investment. The growth survey we did, found that in the coming year, 88% of high-growth companies are planning significant investments in technology and innovation, while only 49% of slow-growth companies are doing so.

Digital transformation is different for every business. While some manufacturers will have more challenges than others, and while some will also embrace more technologies than others, being aware of the ten considerations above will be helpful to every business that is embarking – or has already embarked on – this journey.

[i] Gartner, 2017 CEO Survey: CIOs Must Scale Up Digital Business (March 2017)

[ii] Gartner, 2017 CEO Survey: CIOs Must Scale Up Digital Business (March 2017)

About the Author:

Sabby Gill, EVP, Epicor Software

Sabby Gill brings more than 20 years of international sales, operations and enterprise software industry experience to Epicor. In the role of executive vice president (EVP), International, Gill is responsible for operations including sales, professional services, and field marketing, with a focus on accelerating company growth throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).

Prior to Epicor, Gill was senior vice president of International Sales for IGT, a gaming technology company. He has also held executive management roles with leading technology companies including HP, CA Technologies, Oracle, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), and DEC.


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People you hire will be pivotal in shaping business culture and maintaining success!

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Today our guest is Mr. Sabby Gill, Executive Vice President (EVP) International at Epicor Software.

Sabby Gill brings more than 20 years of international sales, operations and enterprise software industry experience to Epicor. In his role, Gill is responsible for operations including sales and professional services with a focus on accelerating company growth throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).

Prior to Epicor, Gill was Senior Vice President of International Sales for IGT. He has also held executive management roles with leading technology companies including HP, CA Technologies, Oracle, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), and DEC.

The interview is hosted by Alexey Mitkin, Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The HR Tech Weekly® Online Media Co.

  1. In your recent article you have told us about how as companies grow and expand, there is a tendency for employees to be disengaged in the workplace due to heavier workloads, pressures, and deadlines. You explained how investing in the right technology can help companies manage this growth. What other drivers can you point to for ensuring employee satisfaction, engagement and wellbeing?

As your business grows you need your team to be strong, so the people you hire will be pivotal in shaping its culture and maintaining its success. Ensuring that your employees are happy and fully engaged is also vital. Take for example a traditional business that acquires smaller, nimble entrepreneurial entities to gain a competitive advantage but find the newly acquired talent assets that the company paid highly for start leaving the company. This is a common mistake made by many companies that are growing through acquisition but failing to consider the wellbeing of, and engage effectively with the organisation’s new employees.

Another important aspect for companies to consider is the influx of Millennials in the workplace. I would argue that it’s even more paramount for organisations of all types and sizes to create workplace environments that nurture the free-thinker and their entrepreneurial spirit. But where do organisations start? To begin, they need to understand the characteristics of entrepreneurial teams and what motivates them. You can almost forget about traditional incentive plans; when dealing with entrepreneurial types, “challenge” trumps traditional notions of compensation/rewards, because if the work environment isn’t challenging enough, they are likely to leave. They need to understand what the entrepreneur works for (and what they live for): The vision, the dream, the challenge – it’s their oxygen. To fully engage, entrepreneurs must buy into the vision.

As companies grow and with it create entrepreneurial teams, larger organisations may need to rethink placing talent in the constraints of the traditional hierarchical structure. These teams may be more effective when they are free to look at projects holistically: to craft a vision and define how problems will be solved. Remove as much process, structure, and bureaucracy as is feasible; as they prefer working without walls, and that includes traditional “job description” boundaries. 

  1. What do you expect from HR Managers delivering to the change management initiatives?

Employee ‘buy-in’ is the cornerstone of any change initiative and the onus often falls on HR to manage this process. Changing business processes can have an impact on employees’ familiar work routines whether or not they are directly involved in the project, so this process must be managed for the entire workforce. Employees need to be gradually introduced to new processes and job roles over a period of time so that they can accept and familiarize themselves with these developments. Neglecting this aspect or putting it off until later on in the project may result in organisational resistance to the new system, even to the point of operational risk. 

  1. Do you observe any distinctions when people from different industries, functions, and maybe regions, implement new software? For instance, what scares HR professionals more comparing with other business roles?

Change is never easy and most people are averse to change – this is true regardless of culture, industry and job function! HR’s challenge, given where it sits in an organisation, as opposed to other business roles, is helping employees, navigate and embrace any changes made in the organisation. 

  1. What are the core advantages Epicor®Human Capital Management delivers to HR and business when their demands and expectations grow toward self-service, engagement, micro-learning, and people analytics solutions? 

Today’s economy needs HR to adopt a more proactive and strategic role. To add to this, managers and employees are demanding direct access to human resource (HR) systems and information. Epicor Human Capital Management (HCM), delivers this and more, helping HR departments better manage a dispersed workforce, improve human resource processes, and make HR an integral part of an organisation’s strategic planning.

Epicor HCM is an intuitive, functional, and adaptable HCM solution that helps HR departments to spend more time managing talent than data. With Epicor HCM, HR teams have the ideal tool to manage their organisation’s most valuable resource—the workforce, who are pivotal maintaining a company’s success.

Epicor HCM automates everything related to HR in a single software system, enabling the organisation to track, manage, and analyse all data for the employees, from application to retirement. Through automated workflow, Epicor HCM allows organisations to improve efficiency. With powerful reporting and analytical tools, HR teams can gain a complete picture of the company’s workforce to enable better strategic planning.

  1. What technological trends will influence ERP and particularly HCM vendors in the nearest future, in your opinion?

The Cloud has without a shadow of a doubt been one of the biggest drivers of change in our industry. Organisations across the globe are beginning to realise the benefits of moving to the cloud, specifically:

  • Compelling connectivity — the ability to collaborate in real-time across remote sites, mobile employees, and trading partners
  • Enhanced operational efficiency — seamless operations, unparalleled scalability and flexibility, upgrade management, and business continuity
  • Improved security — higher level of security, network monitoring, and disaster prevention
  • Smart economics — the opportunity to achieve lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and positively affect the bottom line
  • Better resource allocation – improved ability to focus resources on core business activities and applications

These benefits are magnified when it comes to HCM because HCM has always been viewed as a non-critical, labour intensive function. By moving HCM applications to the cloud, organisations can make sure their HR teams focus on more business critical activities, reduce operational costs, and, most importantly, stay connected with an increasingly mobile workforce. 

  1. You have proven C-level experience in business development and managing people within global technological companies in EMEA, Asia Pacific and Latin America. What do you recommend to managers who strive to build their careers at the international markets?

My number one recommendation for managers is to be understanding and respectful of the various cultural differences. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to dealing with people across markets. What works in the US might not be the right tactic for China, but sadly too many C-level executives take this for granted.

Secondly, “Be as good as your word – do what you say you’re going to do.” The idea of following through on commitments and being held accountable for your plans and actions is vital. It helps build trust and comfort with the people you deal with knowing that you bring credibility and will ensure that things get done. You want to be that person who others can rely on. People buy from people and your future is in the hands of what they say and what they do. When you enter a relationship, which is what we do when we implement ERP solutions, you need to care about the job you, and everyone else, does for that customer. Everything reflects on the promise you make to your customers, partners, investors and employees. Whichever way you look at it, their emotions, personal ambitions, etc., all play a part in the business at hand.

Thirdly, be an advocate of change and look for excellence in everything you do. Do not dither. C-level positions demand, as well as offer, respect. People expect answers and directions from those in these positions in a timely and articulate manner. Think about a driver of a high-performance car; with a professional driver behind the wheel you can obtain strong performance and look to break lap records. However if you put a novice behind the wheel, you will struggle to get the same results. You need to grow into the expert that people want to rely on to drive the business forwards.

Finally, I would say, continue “to reflect”. What I mean by this is always take a step back when you find yourself in a difficult or complex situation and reassess what it is that you are trying to achieve. Too many times we get fixated on finer details and can’t see the forest for the trees. Taking a step back can help us see the wider picture and realign our focus.


If you want to share this interview the reference to Sabby Gill and The HR Tech Weekly® blog is is obligatory.

Epicor Continues Cloud-First Strategy Rollout with the Middle East

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates, August 15, 2016.

Epicor to Utilise Microsoft Azure in Its Move to Lead with Cloud Deployments for Epicor ERP in the GCC Countries and Egypt.

As more enterprises in the Middle East, including the Global Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Egypt are looking to leverage post-modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms and tools to move faster, work smarter and grow their business, Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth, today announced its new cloud-first strategy for Epicor ERP deployments in the region. This follows an earlier announcement where Epicor said that it had chosen the Microsoft Azure Datacenter in Singapore to support new cloud deployments in Asia.

Sabby Gill - EVP - Epicor
Sabby Gill, Executive Vice President, Epicor Software

Commenting on the regional launch, Sabby Gill, Executive Vice President for Epicor International said, “Over the last couple of years, we have seen a growing appetite for cloud solutions from existing and new customers. Rolling out our cloud-first strategy in the Middle East means ERP customers in the region can now leverage cloud deployment benefits including business consistency, worry-free security, hassle free upgrades, reduced risk and faster time to value. Perhaps most importantly, given the current economic climate with depressed oil-prices, cloud solutions also offer lower total cost of ownership (TCO)”.

According to a report by Forrester Research, “No longer a tactical solution, cloud is a strategic enabler of connected economies. Technology leaders will orchestrate cloud ecosystems, connecting employees, customers, partners, vendors, and devices to serve rising customer expectations.”[1]

Epicor has made it easy for organisations to utilise the cloud to take advantage of a new cloud-first era of service delivery and flexibility, where ERP is delivered as a service and accompanied by value-added services to ensure scalability, security and business continuity. Building on the momentum of its successful move of hundreds of multi-tenant Epicor cloud customers to the new Epicor ERP 10.1 release in the United States and parts of Asia, Epicor is now expanding its global cloud footprint in the Middle East and Egypt.

Epicor ERP Cloud is based on the next-generation Epicor ERP solution. The on-demand system leverages core functionality that has been in use and proven at thousands of customer sites over the past 25 years. Recently recognized as a finalist in the 2016 SaaS Awards program, Epicor ERP in the cloud combines the rich feature set of Epicor ERP with the business and technical benefits of cloud deployment. The cloud-based ERP eliminates the need for separate applications, spreadsheets and “one off” processes and provides all the tools needed to manage opportunities, orders, and operations in one integrated web-based ERP solution.

“The Epicor ERP solution has been one of the strengths and indispensable tools of our business processes for the last six years,” said Raheel Shamim, business systems manager for Al Rajhi Holding Group, Building Solution Sector. “The decision by Epicor to roll out a cloud offering is not only a testament to their commitment to ensuring they provide us with best-of-breed solutions but the new strategy also affords us more choice and additional flexibility and agility, which is vital to our business growth.”

Strengthening the Partner Value Proposition

The Company’s decision to offer cloud solutions in the region has also been warmly received by the partner community. “As a channel partner, our ability to compete and stay relevant in the market hinges on us tailoring our business model to be in line with the latest technology and customer buying models. I see building a cloud practice as key to this strategy. By offering cloud solutions, Epicor is helping us on this journey by allowing us to strengthen our value proposition to both our existing and new customers”, said Vetri Selvan, managing partner for RheinBrücke IT Consulting, an Epicor partner and the winner of a 2016 Stevie award under the category of IT Specialist of the Year – Technology and Architecture.

He concluded, “The Epicor cloud offering aligns directly to our vision of helping our clients quickly adapt to a changing marketplace by ensuring that their business ecosystems are relevant, efficient and perfectly tuned. Through our consulting, technology and Epicor cloud solutions, we will be able to help our clients stay ahead of competition, grow quickly and become more profitable, at the same time affording us the opportunity to grow our revenues and margins.”

Flexible Foundation for Growth

The award-winning Epicor ERP boasts a flexible business architecture built for multitenancy that is ideal for cloud deployments. Epicor gives businesses the ability to grow with the system however deployed — multitenant, single tenant, or on premises — a unique value proposition because it’s the same code base regardless of how a company decides to deploy the solution. Epicor is initially utilising the Microsoft Azure Datacenter to support Epicor Cloud ERP deployments in the region.

Epicor Cloud ERP is available now to new and existing customers in the Middle East and Egypt. For details about the availability of specific features or availability in specific countries, contact your Epicor account manager or channel partner. For more information on Epicor Cloud ERP, please call +971 (0) 4 391 3730 or email info@epicor.com. 

[1] Forrester Research, Inc., “Cloud Powers The New Connected Economy,” by Liz Herbert and Dave Bartoletti (May 27, 2016)

About Epicor Software Corporation

Epicor-Logo-Med-Blue-RGB-GB-1015

Epicor Software Corporation drives business growth. We provide flexible, industry-specific software designed around the needs of our manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industry customers. More than 40 years of experience with our customers’ unique business processes and operational requirements are built into every solution―in the cloud, hosted, or on premises. With this deep understanding of your industry, Epicor solutions manage complexity, increase efficiency, and free up resources so you can focus on growth. For more information, connect with Epicor or visit www.epicor.com.

Epicor and the Epicor logo are trademarks of Epicor Software Corporation, registered in the United States and other countries. Other trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners. The product and service offerings depicted in this document are produced by Epicor Software Corporation.

Contacts:

Ahmad Sameer, EpicorAhmad Sameer

Field Marketing Manager, Epicor Middle East, Africa and India

+971 4 3913730 | asameer@epicor.com

 

Vernon SaldanhaVernon Saldanha

Procre8 (on behalf of Epicor)

+971 52 288 0850 | vernon@procre8.biz

 

Growth fears: How can businesses align business growth with employee satisfaction?

Written by Sabby Gill, Executive Vice President (EVP) International at Epicor Software, specially for The HR Tech Weekly® blog.

Happy Employees

When a business experiences sudden growth, it creates a myriad of emotions from joy and excitement to dread and fear. The progressive mind-set that stimulates growth can inadvertently cause us to be less sensitive to the negative emotions that might emerge as a result. Because we are creatures of habit, it is probably not surprising that some of the increased complexity and ambiguity can be quite unsettling. Paradoxically, this emergent fear can start to hinder growth, as leaders pick up on it and start taking preventative measures to avoid damaging customer relations, reducing service quality, and minimize the mounting pressure on operations.

The reality is that progress is part of doing business, and with some careful planning and forward-thinking, the growth period does not have to be ridden with pain. The right IT infrastructure can help to facilitate some of these big changes and make the process a lot smoother.

Recent research conducted by Epicor has explored the different approaches organisations take to growth. It’s been found that the three priorities tend to be in turnover and sales, profits, and expansion into new industries and product areas. The outlook for 2016 is positive; 70% of respondents expect growth in 2016, and 79% have made (or are making) investments in integrated IT infrastructure as a key to supporting growth.

But what happens if the growth is unforeseen, or experienced as a surge? Leaders can find themselves on their back foot if they have not developed the appropriate skillset to handle the new changes.

Rob Morris, Head of Innovation and Thought Leadership at YSC, the premier global leadership development firm, believes that hiring for and developing the right skillset for growth goes a long way in dealing with the excessive demands placed on the workplace.

“Although we plan for growth in linear and rational ways, it often looks more like chaos in practice. When growth happens at such an unpredictable pace and scale, you don’t usually hire for that growth. As a result, you will not have the people resources to deliver on the new scale that you have created for yourself. The downside is people end up doing more than they expected, and often outside of the roles they were hired or trained for.”

A growing business can hinder employee satisfaction

A risk associated with business progress is employees becoming increasingly disengaged in the workplace due to heavier workloads, pressures, and deadlines. According to the Epicor research, 43% of leaders are concerned that as their business grows, workloads may increase to a level that places too much pressure on staff, prompting key personnel to leave the organisation.

Morris believes that a key predictor of job satisfaction is whether employees find ‘meaning’ in their work and warns that an employee’s personal values and missions can become misaligned with the company’s goals once the company starts growing.

“If I am asked to do things outside of the boundaries with which I joined the company, suddenly I may be less committed to it. If employees have less of a connection with the tasks involved or when they take on too many new tasks, too fast then it creates job dissatisfaction.”

It is vital to have the right infrastructure in place to support employees during growth. If technology can be used to ease the strain of increased workloads, employees can even find themselves empowered by growth. They may, for example, find themselves working on a wider variety of tasks, working closely with leadership to drive growth, and gaining more access to corporate knowledge if their roles are facilitated by the right technology.

How can businesses reduce the ‘pain’ of growth and plan ahead?

Any big change in a business – especially a surge in growth – can be disruptive and can filter through the organisation. According to Morris, this collective expression of pain typically manifests as resistance or disengagement. But businesses can get ahead of this curve by planning for any potential problems and ensuring they have enough resources to cater to increasing demands by the workforce[1].

The Epicor survey findings revealed that the top two stimulants for growth are ‘technology leadership’ (40%) and ‘skilled workforce’ (39%). This can be a two-edged sword. Organisations that are stuck with legacy systems might find themselves falling behind, unable to adapt to new business processes, or meet the demands of employees who expect modern technology in order to do their jobs. On the other hand, the organisations that leap onto new technology, will find themselves ahead of their competitors, ready to embrace new challenges.

A key facilitator in managing this process smoothly is to make investments in the right technology as the “demand for quick communication and transaction” increases[2].

Many progressive businesses are already doing this – according to the Epicor research 79% of businesses have made or are making investments in integrated IT infrastructure. Increased data visibility, for example through the use of the latest enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, can allow businesses to perform in-depth analysis of key KPIs, so that they can manage costings and profitability more confidently. Customer relationships can likewise continue to prosper during the growth period with agile and scalable ERP and manufacturing execution systems (MES) that meet their demands.

According to Morris, employees need “emotional support to withstand the pressures of growing.” He also recommends “fostering a robust culture so people can be resilient throughout the growth surge.” It’s clear that this culture can be more robust if people are supported by the technology they need to do their jobs. Although it seems counter-intuitive, e.g., deploying technology in support of an emotional challenge, investment in the right IT infrastructure is therefore essential, and will help maintain the emotional well-being of employees throughout this transitionary period.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/apr/22/growing-a-business-efficiently

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/business/the-elevator/12095150/steps-to-business-growth.html

About the Author 

Sabby Gill - EVP - EpicorSabby Gill brings more than 20 years of international sales, operations and enterprise software industry experience to Epicor. In the role of executive vice president, International, Gill is responsible for operations including sales, professional services, and field marketing, with a focus on accelerating company growth throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).

Prior to Epicor, Gill was senior vice president of International Sales for IGT, a gaming technology company. He has also held executive management roles with leading technology companies including HP, CA Technologies, Oracle, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), and DEC.


If you want to share this article the reference to Sabby Gill and The HR Tech Weekly® blog is obligatory.