SAP Digital Supply Chain Partner News & Blogs
Posted on May 30, 2017
by Jim Lodwick

Preparing for the Demands of Gen Z – S/4HANA, SAP Cloud and SAP Leonardo

Preparing for the demands of the Generation Z is driving technology and enabling radical business changes. Digital innovation platforms such as SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Leonardo can provide fast, agile innovation and speed to market alongside legacy systems. Digital enterprise platforms such as SAP S/4 HANA are now providing a digital capable backbone of these new generation real-time connected businesses, creating more connected, more responsive, more predictive businesses.

Today’s enterprises cannot afford to stay still. Business may be booming now, but the world is moving fast and there is disruption from all sides. Much of this is threatening traditional business models that, while they have worked well for decades, can no longer guarantee survival. Clothing manufacturers may suddenly find themselves up against wearable technology providers for example, whose offering monitors body temperature and heart rate. And the automotive industry, for years under pressure to produce more environmentally-friendly vehicles must now contend with self-driving cars becoming a reality. A fitting testament to the required progression are the customer relationships we have today which originated in excess of 20 years ago when Windows 3.1 was released and Intel launched the 486-DX2, latest processors being 12500 times faster

The first truly connected consumers

These changes are already being further driven by end-user expectations. While millennials, or Generation Y, have grown up with technology, they have generally adopted it to enhance and extend activities that were already undertaken. Generation Z however, as the first truly digital natives, present a whole new ball game.

Their elders may find it difficult to fathom this generation’s need to be always on, always connected, but there is no escaping that this is where we are headed. They take for granted the technology and social ecosystems entwined in the way they interact. At the same time, they put less emphasis on owning things outright – it’s a sharing economy (think Uber, AirBnb, music streaming services, etc) that encourages technology-enabled collaboration – all of course delivered immediately.

Uncharted territory

But while we know a good amount about Gen Z, they’re also uncharted territory. In many instances it is difficult to predict the exact demands they will put on organisations; the only certainty is that businesses will need to adapt – fast. Both how they interact with their customers but also their staff. If they don’t, there’s no shortage of agile start-ups, whose global ambitions are accelerated by technology platforms that allow them to transcend geographical and industry sector borders at a pace inconceivable to traditional product centric businesses.

This is undoubtedly challenging, but it also provides an unprecedented landscape of opportunity and change. Businesses that adopt a ‘digital disrupter’ mindset will reap the rewards because they are able to mould themselves to the needs of this new generation of consumer.

Disruption starts at home

Pioneering ways of working and digital business models take more than the right mindset; for many established businesses one of the urgent hurdles is how to operate in a digital economy on business systems and technology fit for the pre-digital era. Migration from established ERP systems such as SAP ECC to digital operations platforms like SAP S/4 HANA plays a pivotal role in shifting to a digital capable business. However, with first mover advantage often key to successful disruption other faster more agile approaches to innovation can provide valuable competitive advantage. Digital innovation platforms like SAP Cloud Platform and Internet of Things (IoT) platforms like SAP Leonardo enable organisations to start their journey to real-time connected businesses – a prerequisite for thriving in a Gen Z demographic - working alongside your existing ERP giving you fast time to value while maintaining alignment to your long-term IT strategic roadmap.

These powerful technology solutions give organisations the freedom to ‘re-imagine’ their operations for a changing outlook and move from reactive to proactive and responsive. At a recent event many businesses told us that they are actively investigating how to approach this transition and that it was key to their future business model.

In summary, digital natives will drive digital disruption. Organisations need to prepare for this now.


• Technology is both driving and enabling radical changes.
• However successful they are now, organisations need to look ahead and re-imagine their business model so that it meets the needs of the digital natives.
• Digital innovation platforms such as SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Leonardo can provide fast, agile innovation and speed to market alongside legacy systems
• Digital enterprise platforms such as SAP S/4 HANA provide a digital capable backbone of these new generation real-time connected businesses.
• More connected, more responsive, more predictive. Find out how to run your business real-time, connected

Rocket can facilitate the creation of flexible paths to innovation for our customers helping businesses adopt Internet of Things (IoT) technology providing implementation services for SAP Leonardo IoT. Learn More

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