Let’s use the analogy of autonomous electric cars to explore the new opportunities for the intelligent enterprise.

New Capabilities

What’s different about intelligent enterprises?

Visibility

Autonomous cars use a variety of sensors that constantly gather information about what’s going on—not just traditional indicators such as speed and temperature, but also the world outside, using cameras and advanced image recognition. All the data is processed and combined on the fly to provide an optimized journey.

Organizations also now have much more visibility into business processes using sensors and the internet of things. These new technologies collect and connect data that was previously siloed and use it to recognize previously unseen patterns. They can predict the future instead of reporting the past, looking to the road ahead rather than having to steer using the rear-view mirror.

Focus

Autonomous cars are constantly weighing all the data and choosing the best course of action.

Organizations are doing the same thing, more automatically than ever before. With modern, cloud-based in-memory systems, organizations can easily simulate the impact of potential options and direct scarce resources to the areas of maximum impact.

Agility

Electric cars can accelerate as fast as supercars at a fraction of the cost, and autonomous systems can perceive and react to potential accidents in as little as 0.3 seconds, compared to the 3-4 seconds required by a human being. New functionality can be obtained with an upgrade rather than having to buy a whole new car.

In today’s fast-moving markets, organizations have to be more agile than ever before. With new real-time business systems they can respond faster to changes in the marketplace and pivot business processes towards the right customer outcomes, more cheaply than ever before. Today’s agile organizations can anticipate, simulate, and innovate new opportunities on the fly.

Cloud-based platforms mean organizations can get fast access to new technology capabilities without having to wait for painful, on-premise upgrades.

New Opportunities

These capabilities lead to new opportunities:

Do More with Less and Empower People

Electric cars have far few moving parts than traditional cars (for example, there are around 18 parts in an electric engine compared to more than 2,500 in a traditional gasoline engine) and so require less maintenance and are cheaper to operate. And autonomous cars share data with headquarters, so that every car benefits from the constantly-improving global system of knowledge—the driving experience improves automatically over time and as people drive the cars.

Today’s organizations can store information just once using in-memory systems, accessing detailed transactional data when it’s needed, in real time. There’s no complex aggregation and data duplication required. The lack of wasteful data movement means less complexity, reducing costs by over 30%. And new machine-learning-enabled business processes can improve automatically as people use them.

With full autonomous driving, people will be able to use their commuting time more productively. Machine learning elevates people’s roles to more meaningful and human work.

Best-in-Class Customer Experiences

By embracing new technology, autonomous electric cars provide a superior driving experience—and can be as much as ten times safer. By taking advantage of the new possibilities, such as using the batteries to provide a low, stable chassis, the latest models combine a smoother ride, more interior space, and record-breaking scores on official safety tests.

Organizations can use the latest technologies to anticipate, and proactively respond to end-customer needs, using design-led methodologies and new technology to improve every aspect of the end-to-end customer experience. New interfaces mean that you can interact with technology more easily than ever before, including intuitive self-service voice and chat interfaces.

Invent New Business Models and Revenue Streams

The electric-car companies are gathering vast troves of valuable information. Researchers at McKinsey and Co. estimate that the market for vehicle-gathered data will be worth $750 billion a year by 2030. And they are in the forefront of the new connected transportation systems of the future, with cars available on-demand instead of sitting unused more than 95% of the time.

Organizations can move from selling products to providing usage-based services. New pricing and packaging opportunities open up new customer segments and service opportunities. And they can turn information into income more directly than ever before, with new platforms that allow them to aggregate, augment, anonymize and package information for sale to new customers, while respecting security and compliance.

But organizations aren’t just about technology—we can extend the analogy further by looking at other aspects of the electric car industry.

People

One of the leading vendors of electric cars has recently stumbled, with production levels much lower than had been anticipated. A major culprit proved to be a misguided attempt to over-automate production lines, when skilled employees could provide faster, better, cheaper alternatives to even the best available technology.

The thriving intelligent enterprises of the future will use new technologies such as artificial intelligence to augment the abilities of their employees rather than trying to replace them.

Purpose

Electric cars are good for the planet, with zero emissions, less noise polution, and more sustainable sources of energy, and are increasingly being used as an integral part of the decentralized, integrated energy management systems of the future.

Technology isn’t just about better business, it’s about making the world a better place. Now more than ever, being the best in business means making a difference, and the best-run businesses that make the world run better.

Integrated Applications Offer Unparalleled Business Value

The Intelligent Enterprise is a virtuous cycle: data is used to create proactive business actions that improve the customer journey, leading to more customers, more data, and even better products and services.

Learn More

Learn more about how SAP is working to enable Intelligent Enterprises:

This article originally appeared on Timo Elliott’s blog, Digital Business & Business Analytics, and has been republished with permission.

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