Dubai: Blockchain needn’t develop into a mass technology that can be used for all business transactions — that is, according to SAP’s cloud chief.

Rob Enslin, board member and president of the Cloud Business Group at SAP, said its usage will be mainly in the financial, pharmaceutical, procuring and manufacturing sectors. “It will allow you to check whether it is a 100 per cent right document,” he said. “The blockchain is really from the view of making processes super-secure or risk-adjusted and use it to match it. It [blockchain] will tell exactly you who owns it.”

Blockchain’s architecture consists of a distributed ledger held by a community of willing participants. Since no one person or organisation is in possession of the entire transaction history, no one can game the system. In short, blockchain allows people who don’t trust one another to share valuable data in a secure and tamper-proof way.

Enslin said SAP enables enterprises to build and extend business systems with technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, internet of things and analytics as part of the digital transformation to enable enterprises be more intelligent. With AI, SAP is able to build applications and understand human behaviours in a much smarter way so that “we can run the whole consumer experience now on a smartphone by talking to it.”

Change bearing cloud

Digital transformation is taking place by industry and at different speeds, with the speed depending on the impact of what is happening in the economy. In digital transformation, a company cannot take everything at once to the cloud, Enslin said.

“You take what you need the most to the cloud. Companies that treat digital transformation as another IT project will not only just fall behind, but fail,” he said.

Cloud plays an important role in digital transformation, he added. “It is a massive enabler because the applications and the OS are updated regularly.”

Companies that are not massive on being cloud-enabled at the front-end and connected to the back-end will really have massive challenges. “The practical steps for CEOs to become cloud-first are to understand where they want to invest on the innovation side. And where they want to actually move their dollars on maintaining the systems on the innovation side.”

SAP has more than 40 data centres, including one in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. In the Middle East, Enslin said that SAP has more than 1,600 customers. “We don’t have plans to add more data centres, but will add more software on SAP into the data centres. Cloud will become slow if you have data centres in every country in the world,” he said.

The next phase for SAP is to add more partners and innovators join its cloud platform and build solutions that add value. “That will be a big catalyst for future business. We don’t want all the skill sets internally but form partnerships to deliver an end-to-end intelligent customer experience.”