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Blog Digital Transformation

Book Review: ‘The Transformers’ By Andreas Graesser

Andreas Graesser’s new book ‘The Transformers: Simplification Strategies for the Digital Enterprise’ focuses on a new approach to digital transformation: making a company’s historical data front and center to any digitalization efforts.

Digital transformation has become indispensable to survive in today’s business world. Companies unwilling to embrace new technologies, big data and automation will struggle to adapt in an increasingly digital – and more competitive – market landscape. In his newest book ‘The Transformers’, author, entrepreneur and former SAP top manager Andreas Graesser shows how companies can turn crisis into opportunity by leveraging historical data.

Andreas Graesser explains, “I wrote this book for business leaders, the entire C-suite management, and decision-makers who lead digital transformation projects. I want to show the advantages a data management platform can yield in digitalization efforts, especially for SAP customers.”

According to Graesser, established businesses have a significant edge over their much younger competitors like start-ups: historical data. Stored within these documents are decades of experience, intellectual property, and customer history. However, historical data are usually dispersed throughout numerous different systems and applications, making them hard to access and benefit from. Digital transformation and big data remain distant visions of the future for as long as historical data are not managed in the same way as more recent information – that’s Andreas Graesser’s core thesis. Companies need to rethink the entire concept of historical data management.

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How does SAP factor into this?

No other software portfolio so perfectly represents the technological aspect of digital transformation as SAP’s new product generation. Database Hana enables real-time processing and analysis of business data in larger quantities than ever before. Size and cost of main memory are the only limitations, making it even more crucial to continuously separate historical data (H-data) from up-to-date information, meaning both operational data from transactional systems (O-data) as well as experience data from customer touchpoints (X-data).

Gerhard Oswald, member of SAP’s supervisory board, commented, „The Transformers describes not only SAP Hana’s compelling predictive analytics capabilities, but also explicitly explains the required data transformation for the digitized enterprise. The simplification of companies’ data architectures will unleash innovative power never seen before.”

What ‘The Transformers’ is about

After a brief introduction explaining the contents of the book, Andreas Graesser describes the crucial role that data, especially historical information, have in the digital age and defines key success factors for digital transformation efforts, like big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning. This is Andreas Graesser’s segue into the more technical aspects of corporate data management encompassing O-data and X-data as well as H-data. He follows it up with a detailed retelling of the database revolution that came with SAP Hana, laying the foundation for a new generation of applications like S/4 Hana. Graesser also covers SAP’s Movement program designed to facilitate customers’ transition to Hana and S/4.

As previously mentioned, to leverage historical information to their advantage, companies need to consider a completely new approach to lifecycle management of historical data and documents. According to Andreas Graesser, Swiss provider Data Migration International has already successfully realized this approach with JiVS IMP. JiVS IMP is an information management platform independent of underlying systems and certified by auditors. It enables highly automated transfer of historical data from numerous different systems. State-of-the-art filter technology allows for clean separation of historical and recent data. While the more up-to-date information is being transferred to live systems, the historical data is cleaned of duplicates and optimized for e.g. big data scenarios.

Companies that decide on JiVS IMP can completely decommission their legacy systems. Legacy information, however, remains unchanged and immutable as well as 100 percent accessible. Furthermore, the built-in retention management allows for targeted deletion of data as stipulated in the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

To show what JiVS can do under real-life conditions, Andreas Graesser uses five customer testimonials to show various use cases of the software in different industries. All five companies report massive cost savings and simplified digital transformation projects.

To conclude, Andreas Graesser turns to three successful transformation experts – Thomas Failer, Bjoern Braemer, and Peter Hartmann – for their advice and personal recommendations for businesses willing to embrace this change. Thomas Failer is the inventor of JiVS IMP, Bjoern Braemer is Senior Vice President and Head of the SAP Movement program, and Peter Hartmann is CIO of Geberit. All three of them know that collaboration, strategic planning, profound know-how and stringent project leadership are the only way to successfully turn visions of digital transformation into reality.

Bjoern Braemer said about Andreas Graesser’s book, “The JiVS Information Management Platform and how it extracts data out of any system shows how strong collaboration between SAP and a partner ecosystem creates solution environments all SAP-using companies can benefit from. […] ‘The Transformers’ not only describes the end-to-end capabilities of both SAP S/4 Hana and JiVS IMP, the book also provides profound insight into strategic thinking for business leaders and technology executives.”

‘The Transformers’ is available here as hardcover or e-book.

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