When you decide to implement or upgrade an outdated ERP system as part of a transformation strategy, it’s not all about the technology. Consider your talent, automation of tasks, reputation, risk transparency, and put your client first.

By Wayne Davies

Businesses typically decide to implement or upgrade an outdated legacy ERP system as part of a tech transformation strategy. In our experience, these large projects are often driven by a need to solve complex problems such as challenges with productivity, an inability to provide insights into business growth, expensive inaccuracies, or problems meeting client expectations.

If this sounds like your business, you may very well be in the midst of putting together a business case for new applications or technology to both, solve your current business pains and even disrupt your position in the market.

When we started out at sa.global, ERP looked quite different. Micro services were yet to be ‘invented’, and the cloud was actually a cloud. Over the years, we have actively participated in thousands of digital transformations and gained valuable insight into what it takes to succeed.

Here are our five often forgotten essentials we feel are critical as you embark on this journey.

  • Talent
  • Automation of tasks
  • Reputation and risk
  • Transparency
  • Client first


Technology is always about doing more with less, yet that combination is effective only if you pair technology with the right human skills. More than anything else, digital transformation is a culture transformation and requires talent. Assembling the right team of technology, data, and process people who can work together — with a strong leader — may be the single most important step that a company contemplating digital transformation can take. Of course, even the best talent does not guarantee success. But a lack of it almost guarantees failure.

When leaders think about investing in technology, they should first think about investing in the people who can make that technology useful.

Another key to success is leadership commitment. When people in key roles (both the senior leaders of the business and those in transformation-specific roles) are more involved in a digital transformation, success is more likely.

Automation of tasks

Automation involves applying technology to make processes run themselves, making those processes more efficient and increasing transparency and reporting capabilities. In short, automation is a means to an end, and the desired end is digital transformation.

Successful transformation is proactive not responsive: it is the territory of businesses leading the charge in their industry, not simply responding to disruption. Think about companies like Netflix and Uber – they completely disrupted their industries by using the technology and data available to them to reimagine their products and address client needs they didn’t even know they had.

Automating day-to-day workflows lies at the heart of successful digital transformation but you need to be sure you are automating in line with your overall strategy. That might sound obvious but it is easy to get caught out with great ‘ideas’ that might not actually add value. Here are questions to consider:

  • What are you hoping to achieve through automation?
  • How will automation add value for your clients?
  • Can you take it a step further and deliver value that truly differentiates you from your competitors or changes the parameters of your industry completely?

Reputation and risk

Digital transformation will fundamentally change how you operate your business and deliver value to your clients. But, with change comes disruption, and disruption introduces risk. Risk involves every single aspect of your business, including reputation and brand. How will adopting a new technology—or failing to adopt a new technology—impact your reputation?

Risk management isn’t just about staying in the black but rather, it is about elevating your company at every level, because that is what succeeding in digital transformation requires.


Transparency has become a vital quality that digital ready organizations must possess today. A transparent culture is built on trust and instils an openness where employees feel safe to voice their concerns or ideas and share information and plans once they have been implemented successfully or not so successfully.

For a culture to be transparent, it is essential to put active communication channels in place that would facilitate conversations. Breaking down the hierarchical barriers and reaching across the silos into cross-functional teams can go a long way.

Client First

Digital disruption signals the need for a fresh client service strategy. The real importance of digital to business is not in the emergence of new technology; the importance is the shift in client behaviour. Clients increasingly want access to information anytime and anywhere.

Clients are increasingly using multiple touchpoints to resolve service issues, expecting an integrated and seamless experience. A fitting example is how traditional law firms have been challenged by disruptors such as Elevate and Lawyers on Demand who are adopting new business models to service clients in a more digital friendly way (and yes, it is more agile and cost-effective too). Architects, accountants, and engineers are facing similar challenges from tech disruptors.

Remember, becoming a digital first company doesn’t start with an IT department or a sales and marketing team. It begins with a commitment to client experience (CX) more than anything else. Instead of depending on channels, devices, and platforms to drive digital transformation, cues should be taken from the client. When the client’s habits, needs, and expectations are catered for, CX naturally drives digital innovation and adoption — clients want and need their experiences to be fast, responsive, and interactive while remaining easy to access and available anywhere.

Recipe for success

Technology is the engine of digital transformation; data and transparency is the fuel; process is the guidance system; and people together with organizational change capability is the landing gear. You need them all, and they must function well together.

At sa.global, we are helping professional services organizations become cloud-first businesses, accelerating their digital transformation to realize greater value at speed and scale. Get in touch to find out how our business-ready solutions evergreen + empower can support your teams with collaboration and alignment today.