Applexus: Innovate to transform
Innovate to transform is what global technology leader Applexus offers its customers in the retail, fashion, life sciences, consumer goods and manufacturing industries.
As the pandemic continues to shift the business landscape, Applexus helps its customers navigate the ‘new normal’ by offering advisory, implementation and on-going management of SAP technologies and Applexus innovative solutions.
Applexus delivers an intelligent enterprise through transformative business solutions, calling on its 15-year industry expertise and led by a stellar team of industry and technology veterans under the leadership of founder and CEO Sam Mathew.
“We are really excited at the current opportunities to deliver digital transformation around the SAP landscape,” said Nittu Thomas, Chief Operating Officer, speaking from the company’s headquarters in Seattle. “For our customers it is more important than ever to get digital transformation right as the industry changes rapidly. Along with SAP, we have the right industry expertise, people, IP assets and technology toolset to deliver this transformation,” he said.
“We help our customers modernise their technology landscape with SAP S/4HANA, analytics and other leading technologies,” said Thomas. Applexus stands out from other firms in the space by bringing industry-specific IP assets, methodology and add-on products to SAP programs to help their customers:
Deliver a superior user experience
Infuse actionable insights through analytics embedded within the SAP process flows
Automate processes to drive up productivity
“We have built specific industry-focused IP solutions and pre-configured SAP packages that help us deliver faster business value,” commented Thomas.
AI-powered digital solutions
The pandemic has forced companies to innovate at speed. Applexus enables customers to scale up their businesses with innovative AI-powered digital solutions which include InSITE for automated accounts payable processing, nEXIM for global trade management and SimpleRetail for digital store enablement.
“Over a two-year period before the pandemic, we built a platform called SimpleRetail that enables brick-and-mortar retailers to embrace digital channels, while increasing the efficiency of store operations,” said Sam Mathew, CEO.
SimpleRetail offers three main solution components:
Digital shopping enabled by SimpleRetail consumer apps for curbside pick-up, delivery or touchless in-store purchasing. It also enables headless commerce by connecting with any shopping or delivery platform used by the retailer.
The secret sauce for SimpleRetail is its powerful in-store module that enables high efficiency of store operations through features like efficient pick-pack and delivery of digital orders, and real-time visibility of inventory across all stores.
SimpleRetail offers unified pricing and promotions across channels, and consumer loyalty management that leverage AI to better manage consumer experience and drive loyalty.
“Customers have found new use cases post pandemic. A grocery and pharmacy customer of ours will be using SimpleRetail to schedule Covid vaccine appointments across nearly 200 stores for their large customer base,” said Mathew.
SAP Gold-level Partner
Applexus is an SAP Gold-level partner. “Due to our singular focus around SAP technologies, our partnership with SAP is deep and covers many areas that help us better serve our joint customers,” said Chris Couch, VP of SAP Solutions.
“Applexus has been a co-innovation partner with SAP and collaborates to build products that address specific white spaces in SAP offerings. Our solutions, like Simple Retail, InSITE and nEXIM are listed on the SAP Store and we jointly address market needs through these solutions.
“We are also excited to be partnering with SAP on the Retail Industry Cloud by helping to curate and deliver a composable retail solution landscape around SAP ERP,” said Couch.
“In addition to delivering SAP programs end-to-end, we also offer certain services as plug-and-play including program management, organisational change management, quality engineering services and data migration” said Norb Brumbergs, VP of Delivery. “We have built centres of excellence around each of these areas with an exceptional leadership team, IP assets, methodology and multiple proof points” said Brumbergs.
Gartner: CFOs should use AI in a transformative way
The finance functions of organisations must invest in artificial intelligence (AI) within the next few years, so as not to be left behind. And they must think 'big' about how AI can transform their businesses in the long term.
That’s Gartner’s advice to CFOs and finance leaders. Investing in AI is not just a business imperative, adoption of which needs to be done within the next few years, it's an imperative that needs to be undertaken intelligently with a long-term vision if businesses are to gain competitive advantage.
And to do so intelligently means to look beyond projects that only aim to modernise the function. Because, while there’s nothing wrong with using AI to “modernise the finance function”, says Clement Christensen, director in the Gartner Finance practice, “the most impressive rewards of AI will fall to the CFOs who think bigger about how the technology can fundamentally change the way their company does businesses”.
According to Gartner, the top priorities for organisations when it comes to AI are as follows:
- To improve the company’s data architecture to support future AI goals
- To invest in citizen data scientists so that AI production can be rapidly scaled where successful
- To redesign the organisation’s reporting suite so that is best aligned with internal customer needs rather than with traditional ‘finance tasks’
Using AI in a truly transformative way
While most CFOs are aware that to reach their functional digitilisation goals, they need to pursue more “experimental, less familiar digital technology projects”, says Christensen, many still “follow use-case-focused approaches to AI projects that tend to have a bias towards modernising and improving familiar processes to drive easily-quantified ROI gains”.
Gartner points to a common use case of AI as being the use of machine learning to predict customers prone to late payments and issue earlier payment reminders to such customers or chase later payers automatically. Reducing late payments has a definite ROI in that it will improve the organisation’s cashflow. That said, according to Gartner, this is not using AI to do anything new, just helping to do something a bit more efficiently.
In this use case, to really make the most of AI and use it in a way that Gartner describes as “truly transformative” would be to identify likely late payers at the sales stage so that sales prospects are prioritised according to which is likely to pay more promptly. And this could transform a company’s approach to mitigating late payments and improve cashflow further while further reducing the need to chase for payments in future and ultimately freeing up finance for higher-value work.
And while this transformative use of AI doesn’t deliver an immediate and measurable ROI like that of the common use case of AI, the ultimate long-term payoff “is potentially much bigger”, explains Christensen.
To therefore get to the transformative stage, one where AI is used for long-term business transformation, Gartner advises CFOs to shift their mindset in how they think about deploying AI and to start with a problem that needs solving, rather than with a process that needs modernising.