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SAP User Survey Finds Customer Experience, User Productivity, and AI/ML as Top Priorities Across Business and IT

SAP User Survey Finds Customer Experience, User Productivity, and AI/ML as Top Priorities across Business and IT

Digitate, a leading provider of SaaS-based enterprise software for IT and business operations released a study conducted in partnership with ASUG, America’s largest network of SAP customers, partners, and professionals, probing the issues that are top-of-mind for SAP users. The results revealed that 90% of the SAP users experienced SAP application downtime. Furthermore, two-thirds of respondents report that they spent up to 25% of their daily time resolving these unpredictable issues.

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“Users across the SAP landscape are looking for technology optimizations to reduce their challenges of scale, speed, and performance – and this is confirmed by the findings of the survey”

SAP dominates the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market and its ability to automate, optimize, and analyze a vast range of business functions makes it the first choice for many organizations. Yet SAP solutions can be complex and challenging to administer, particularly as users are being encouraged to migrate to SAP’s latest cloud-based S/4HANA platform.

The survey, Evaluating Automation and SAP Transformations, polled SAP power users and administrators from more than 150 different organizations in North America spanning industries ranging from manufacturing to retail to utilities. The goal of the study was to better identify how they experience SAP operational transformations, business process redesign, and automation at their organizations.

While internal downtime impacts were said to be experienced much more than external impacts, business user impacts due to SAP downtime were, unsurprisingly, the overriding concern for respondents, with 39% noting a direct impact on customers. Integration challenges were identified as the top contributor to unplanned downtime. In fact, almost all respondents (95%) reported facing integration issues, with data inconsistency representing the most widely experienced challenge.

“Users across the SAP landscape are looking for technology optimizations to reduce their challenges of scale, speed, and performance – and this is confirmed by the findings of the survey,” said Ugo Orsi, Chief Customer Officer at Digitate. “We have applied AI/ML and automation to SAP operations across the IT and business landscape and helped enable digital transformation across many of the major global enterprises.”

Keys findings of the survey include:

  • Impacts of downtime
    • For the majority of respondents (66%), up to one quarter of their time is spent on unpredictable issues that affect SAP application downtime.
    • Overwhelmingly, business user impacts are the top concern/impact due to downtime. Internal downtime impacts are experienced much more than external impacts, though 39% still noted direct impact to customers.
  • Leveraging SAP automation solutions
    • Leveraging SAP automation solutions represents uncertainty as almost half of respondents were unable to assess this at their organization.
    • That said, when they were certain, the largest share (42%) feel their organizations are not leveraging solutions as much as they could. Overall, more openness and efforts to adapt new technology, back-end support, and automation across systems are needed to realize benefits.
  • Transforming SAP operations
    • Given the anticipation for automation to reduce the amount of time spent on manual patch upgrades, reducing manual processes is the top-ranked initiative needed to improve SAP operations.
    • Data analytics/dashboard insights and supply chain optimization are other leading technologies/initiatives needed. More than half also selected automation.
  • Usage of AI/ML and monitoring tools
    • Though just 15% are currently using AI/ML, 33% are considering it in the future.
    • The majority of respondents are using up to 20 tools to monitor different elements of their SAP systems.

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  • Operational KPIs and ticket resolution
    • The KPI of resolving tickets without human intervention is still a distant goal for many; only 41% said they often met it. The largest share of respondents said 10% or less of tickets are resolved automatically. 29% had no tickets resolved automatically.

It’s clear from the survey that automation and SAP S/4HANA are top-of-mind for customers. While some respondents are eager to move from their legacy systems to S/4 to take advantage of new capabilities/features, quite a few others must migrate their legacy systems to S/4HANA as a mandate.

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