DSAGLIVE 2021 kicked off on September 20 with keynotes from DSAG Board Chairman Jens Hungershausen and SAP CEO Christian Klein. The motto of this year’s virtual alternative to the DSAG Annual Congress is “Courage and Intelligence – Now!”. What is meant by this: There is considerable backlog in Germany when it comes to digitization. Consequently, companies are challenged to set the course for a successful future decisively and courageously.


The coverage of DSAGLIVE 2021 at a glance:


Impetus for proactive change

The Corona pandemic is generally regarded as an important stimulus for digitization. Jens Hungershausen agreed with this thesis in principle in his keynote, but also emphasized that companies’ efforts and investments were primarily focused on virtual collaboration and mobile work. In contrast, future-oriented digitization and automation of core business processes had rarely taken place. Therefore, DSAGLIVE 2021 aims to provide important impetus for digital transformation and give participants ideas on how to proactively approach fundamental change.


Today vs. tomorrow

The DSAG Board Chairman outlined a digital dilemma: On the one hand, companies must secure their existence today, but at the same time prepare for tomorrow. This balancing act presents many companies with a huge challenge. What is striking here is the lack of awareness of the need to review their own business processes in terms of their future viability and, if necessary, to restructure them.


Among other things, this is due to the fact that the economic impact of the Corona crisis was less severe than feared. According to figures from a recent DSAG survey, revenue is down at 42% of companies this year, down from 74% in 2020. Due to the economic recovery, many companies apparently feel less pressure to act. They do not see any urgent need to implement fundamental changes – and perhaps they lack the courage to do so. Accordingly, the pace of digitization in Germany has slowed. What’s more, when it comes to IT investments and the use of smart technologies, the focus is more on increasing process efficiency than on renewing or adapting business models.


Transformation must continue after Corona

Companies are part of a fast-moving world and have to cope with changing conditions at short notice. Therefore, DSAG appeals to its members not to scale back investments in digitization even after the Corona crisis has finally been overcome and to embrace new technologies more strongly than before. “The German doubterism can cause companies to lose touch,” says Jens Hungershausen. He advocates digital optimism: if companies see the benefits of change and not just potential dangers, they will be better able to meet the challenges ahead and ensure lasting business success.


More agile, resilient and sustainable with SAP

Christian Klein, CEO of SAP, followed up on Jens Hungershausen’s remarks in his keynote address, “Intelligent, connected, sustainable: shaping the future together.” He also called on companies to show courage and intelligence in order to master the digital transformation. In doing so, they will improve their competitiveness, make their supply chains more resilient, and make their value chains more sustainable. SAP provides support with the right software solutions and with RISE with SAP, the holistic offering for business transformation-as-a-service. Intelligent technologies also play an important role. They can increase the degree of automation of business processes by up to 90%.


For the future, Christian Klein identified two megatrends that will shape the business world in the long term. On the one hand, business networks will become increasingly important for success, in which companies share and jointly use data and insights across company boundaries – an important prerequisite for optimizing supply chains, for example. For another, sustainability will become even more established as a business dimension than it has been in the past. Sustainable business practices along the entire value chain will become a fundamental success factor for companies, as will making sustainable business decisions. Christian Klein concludes: The pace of digital change is fast. Those who digitize their business processes holistically with the help of SAP are best prepared for the transformation and can react flexibly to changes in the future.


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