KARACHI: Digital transformation journey is vital for Pakistan and at the same time world is becoming increasingly connected and digitized. Business and investor confidence is surging in Pakistan. The current state of digital business in Pakistan can be best described that government-led initiatives such as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and recent government initiatives, Pakistan’s organisations are eagerly outlining digital transformation agendas. Saquib Ahmad, Managing Director for Pakistan at SAP, which co-innovates on digital transformation for over 413,000 organisations worldwide, discussed how Pakistan’s organisations are evolving into intelligent enterprises. He outlined importance of digital transformation, adopting a digital core and integrating emerging technologies. While digital transformation is rapidly moving from theory into practice, there is much work to be done. Pakistan’s chief executive officers are in line with global trends while 84 percent of organisations say that digital transformation is critical. However, only 3 percent of organisations worldwide have completed their digital transformation. In discussions with Pakistan’s organisations from agriculture and banking to construction and telecommunications, he advised that C-suite executives should take a three-step approach to their digital transformation. First is to outline digital transformation agendas. Second is to run on a digital core for real-time insights on budget and financial planning, customer needs and supply chain-driving business competitiveness. And final step is to adopt emerging technologies leading to digital business innovation, he remarked. Working with specialised channel partners and systems integrators can help organisations to outline digital transformation agendas and integrate existing systems, processes and business knowledge for seamless connections and innovation. Intelligent enterprises can use predictive insights to better manage customer solutions, provide seamless user experiences across all applications and gain real-time awareness on any situation, he maintained. Digital transformation is an organisation-wide re-imagination of how to optimise technology to meet business goals and prepare workforce for digital future. Organisations that digitally transform can gain new levels of market share, profitability and revenue growth. Digital leaders can become intelligent enterprises that can manage, share and analyse information anywhere, at any time, he hoped. The main enabler of digital transformation is to run on a digital core. A digital core can automate business processes, transform user and customer experiences and break down data silos to share real-time insights. Increasingly, Pakistan’s organisations are looking to leverage emerging technology to take business to next level, free up staff to focus on innovation and operating in real-time and predict customer needs. For example, in wider region, more than 70 percent of digitally-leading organisations are currently investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning, big data and analytics and cloud, according to recent SAP and Oxford Economics Digital Transformation Executive Study. In line with government-wide transformation initiatives, Controller General of Accounts is digitising government budgets and financial reports and salaries and payments for 3 million public sector employees and pensioners. In private sector, Agha Steel Industries became Pakistan’s first company to deploy SAP Fiori end-to-end on cloud to transform user experiences with real-time dashboards on manufacturing and operations. Our real-time business suite, called SAP S/4HANA is being leveraged for digital transformation in key industry verticals such as agriculture, with Fauji Fertilizer Company transforming operations and customer experiences and in construction, with Lucky Cement’s enabling new levels of business innovation. These customer examples are helpful but what if customers want more localised cloud solutions. Localisation and working with our channel partner ecosystem is an important part of our go-to-market strategy in Pakistan. Catalysing Pakistan’s organisations in their digital transformation, we recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Jaffer Business Systems to offer our solutions to organisations of all sizes and verticals. Having a robust telecommunications, network and security infrastructure can enable intelligent enterprises and nationwide transformation. PTCL recently joined our Partner Managed Cloud programme to offer our SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud solution, which can enable new levels of cloud digital business innovation. With Pakistan’s digital market reaching Rs 800 million, every industry vertical is accelerating digitisation to optimise costs, efficiency and customer experiences. Thanks to our live cloud data centre in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s enterprises can readily adopt secure cloud solutions for digital business success. It’s clear that Pakistan’s organisations that kickstart their intelligent enterprise transformation in 2019 by driving digital transformation agendas, running on a digital core and adopting emerging technologies that are those that will rise to top and support transformation of Pakistan’s economy, society and environment, he concluded. Published in Daily Times, December 28th 2018.