German software company SAP has for many years now been viewed as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) specialist. With the SAP HANA product, its core ERP function exists to perform what technology vendors are fond of calling functionality for ‘systems of record’ to underpin business operations. These systems typically include finance and foundational business measures such as order processing and sales. But digital business is supposed to go a lot further than sales dockets and money, isn’t it?
No IT vendor worth its salt goes five minutes without mentioning the words innovation, cloud and digital business — and it is for this reason we hear firms like SAP talk about the need to move from ‘systems of record’ to ‘systems of innovation’ and ‘systems of intelligence’ today. This (perhaps slightly woolly marketing-spun) term does in fact mean something if we understand that it is essentially a case of bringing more business systems and things into digital control.
When we can apply software intelligence to more aspects of business, then we can start to use automation and apply so-called machine learning to more of the total enterprise. Well, in theory at least.
Systems of record, innovation & intelligence
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