In a week I’m heading to SAP TechEd && d-code in Berlin, courtesy of SAP’s Blogger programme. It’s been a few years since I’ve attended a TechEd and I’m looking forward to getting the latest on their vision and strategy and how they, as one of the biggest tech players, are handling the tectonic shifts of cloud, mobile, social and other emerging technologies that are reshaping businesses everywhere, and the technology sector in particular.
I was struck by the vision that Bill McDermott, now sole CEO of SAP, expresses in these extracts of his interview with Fortune. I don’t care how big you are, or what business you are in, your business model is under threat. How will a tech giant the size of SAP handle the digital disruption that is happening, both for themselves as a business, and for their customers who depend on their technology? Can he make the SAP Elephant dance?
“Information now has to be in real time so people can make instantaneous decisions, and provisioning this information in a cloud environment is a more economic model. But the big idea — how we’ll win — is the business network.”
“Many large global companies today have too many management layers between the top executive and the ultimate customer. So we had to de-layer the company. When you think about innovation, the cycles are going so much faster than they ever have before. So what we used to innovate in 18 months is now coming out in monthly or even weekly cycles. The other thing you have to do is empower people. Once you come out with the plan, I have no interest in having management teams inspect people’s progress. I don’t want managers that report the news. I want managers who are out there on the frontlines making the news.”
Many big companies are in a similar position, and they need to change to avoid being the Blockbuster or the Kodak of their particular sector. Will he and his colleagues be able to pull this off? I’ll be trying to find out what progress they are making when I talk to old friends and new friends in Berlin.
and hat tip to John Appleby who tipped me off to the Fortune article with a tweet
(Cross-posted @ David Terrar on Medium)