Reflections on Transformation NOW! 2021

As I sit writing this it is 1 week since Transformation NOW! 2021, the NTT DATA Business Solutions UK&I annual conference.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we took the decision to be 100% online using the collaborative, distributed, and interactive capabilities of the Hopin platform which served us so well during last years “itellifest” event.

Despite widespread “zoom fatigue” we are proud that the event attracted over 300 attendees on the day. The keynote sessions were beamed live from a studio in our Coventry Thinktank space and the afternoon breakout sessions included customer guests and NTT DATA colleagues from all around the UK.

I hope this post can serve as an “event digest” that summarises and points to further links for some of the key takeaways from the day.

Transformation through Togetherness

The day kicked off with a panel Q&A discussion featuring Justin Brading SVP and MD of NDBS UK&I, plus our special guests Michiel Verhoeven, SAP UK&I MD, and Ian Mallinson, IT Director at Warburtons.

 

This was a wide-ranging conversation with some excellent questions from the audience. Topics covered included the impact of the pandemic on operations, transformation projects, budgets, and of course people. Ian shared some candid insights into the trend for IT budgets to be pushed further towards business departments and the challenges this can bring when IT are working on cross functional initiatives like ERP!

We drilled deeper into the wider effects of the pandemic with Michiel highlighting the work that SAP are doing to promote and support resiliency, transparency, and sustainability in global supply chains.

Justin reflected on the change in working patterns that we have seen and the impact that has made on how we deliver projects to customers, with distributed project teams leading to lower cost implementation cycles.

Navigating Climate Change with Supply Chain

Reflections on Evolving Working Practices at NTT DATA Business Solutions

 

The Journey to the Intelligent Enterprise

We know that a great many of you are yet to commit to your S/4HANA journey and the potential options can seem confusing. Convert your existing system or perform a fresh implementation? On premise infrastructure or Cloud? Traditional license models or the new RISE with SAP subscription offering? This session explained the SAP Intelligent Enterprise vision through the lens of both business and technology challenges being experienced by organisations operating through the pandemic and beyond. Building on a point made in the previous session, we emphasised the criticality of a synergistic relationship between the business and IT to deliver working transformation.

 

It was a pleasure as always to be joined by NTT DATA Business Solutions UK&I VP for Managed Services Karen McLaughlin to discuss how our provision has evolved to meet changing customer demands. We touched on organisational and technology changes such as the difficulties for customers in retaining SAP Centres of Excellence, and the impact of Hyperscalers and the RISE initiative.

Just before the lunch break, I was joined by the leads for each of the afternoon breakout streams for a preview of their sessions.

 

Interested in finding out more about Rise with SAP, then watch our session from earlier this year.

Watch Rise with SAP

Harness the Power of Your Digital Core with Transparent Licensing from SAP – Read more

Find out more about Value Acceleration here

Discover more about our Managed Services here

 

Focus on CX and Digital Interactions

Jon Brooks was joined by NTT DATA colleagues Stephen Jerram and Marcus Castle plus special guests Simon Green and Matt Brown from Warburtons for a discussion on the essential need for, and value to be derived from, improving digital interactions with customers, suppliers, and employees.

 

A key insight was the closing of the gap between traditional B2B and B2C scenarios, with B2B being much more design-led than in previous years due to the increasing consumerisation of IT.

Find out more about our B2B Commerce Packaged Solutions

 

Focus on Human Experience Management (HXM)

Kulan Kandasamy was joined by NTT DATA colleagues Denise Jay, Harriet Howarth, and James Shipway plus special guest David Bigley from Quorn Foods to discuss the demands of modern Human Experience Management platforms with a particular focus on SAP SuccessFactors.

 

The sessions covered several key topics ranging from the positive impact of packaged software on implementation timelines and risk, to the challenges of managing cultural change during the pandemic and how best to plan for critical skills and leadership changes. As with all the other sessions there were some great customer questions as well.

Accelerate your HR Transformation with it.talent management Ready-to-Run

Read more about our partnership with Quorn 

Read the Mercury Engineering case study

Find out more about our Change Assurance and Training Services

 

Focus on Data and Intelligence

Asad Mahmood led a discussion featuring NTT DATA colleagues Matt Sisley and Anooj Behanan plus special guest Chris Hodgetts of Sanctuary Group. Focused on the ever-popular topic of how best to leverage data to deliver insight.

 

Chris shared his experiences using SAP’s latest Data Warehouse Cloud service in conjunction with SAP Analytics Cloud to streamline the process of delivering actionable insights to key leaders within his organisation. Following this, Matt discussed the role of a solid data strategy in supporting wider analytics and insight goals, including some good advice on how to get started. Anooj took on the challenge of explaining the latest technology offerings from SAP in order to help customers who are planning upgrades and roadmaps.

View our range of Analytics Services and Assessment Services here

 

Focus on SAP S/4HANA

In the highest attended breakout session Richard Stokes, Graeme Hughes, Nick McFetrich, and Stuart Welsh of AESSEAL wrestled with some awkward questions around the journey to S/4HANA.

 

Stuart shared his experiences of running a global S/4HANA rollout during the pandemic and how the partnership with NTT DATA also helped to deliver a loosely coupled bespoke Repairs module whilst also keeping the S/4HANA core clean and therefore easier to manage and upgrade.

Richard explained how the experience from nearly 500 S/4HANA projects has shaped the NTT DATA approach to co-developing living roadmaps with customers. Graeme and Nick then went on to elaborate on how customers can identify the benefits of a move to S/4HANA and unlock incremental value through the fast deployment of native innovations such as UX, Analytics, and Machine Learning.

Find out more about our S/4HANA assessment services

Read the AESSEAL case study

 

Closing Keynote

For our closing keynote it was my absolute pleasure to be joined in the studio by renowned author and organisational and individual performance guru Matthew Syed.

 

Touching on topics as diverse as growing up in Reading in a street full of table tennis prodigies, to watching cricket with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Matthew shared his insight and passion for the benefits of cognitive and cultural diversity in teams and organisations. With questions coming in thick and fast from the audience it was hard work keeping up.

More about Matthew Syed Consulting

 

NOW AVAILABLE!

If you missed Transformation NOW! 2021 or if you want to re-live and catch up with the sessions you can now access the event On Demand.  Watch here

Andy Steer
Andy Steer
Chief Technology Officer

I have responsibility for defining and driving the evolution of the business in step with our customers and partners. I spend most of my time listening and learning from 3 sets of people; our customers, our partners and our employees to ensure that we are able to imagine, describe and deliver the innovative solutions that will ensure our customers future success. Before NTT DATA Business Solutions I worked in a variety of Consulting and Management roles in the field of Data Management and Business Intelligence for nearly 20 years and I regularly present at industry events in the UK and beyond. When not at work I spend most of my spare time either drinking wine with my Wife, playing Lego with my sons or getting depressed supporting Tottenham Hotspur.

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