There was much speculation about how the audience would react to SAP CEO Léo Apotheker when he took to the stage at the DSAG Annual Conference, the annual event of the German-speaking SAP user group. But the users who had made the journey to Bremen received Apotheker, who held a keynote at the DSAG Annual Conference for the first time, with warm applause.
In his keynote, Apotheker spoke of a new reality, a challenge, which companies are currently having to face. The global financial crisis is just a symptom of these new times, he said. Companies must react to this changed reality and adapt.
This also applies to SAP as a company, he continued. By his own admission, Apotheker has set himself the goal of transforming SAP. Greater transparency, customer focus, innovation, and sustainability are the objectives he has defined for the company. These will enable the company to retain its very good market position. SAP is the global leader in business software, with a market share of ERP software and software-related services of 32.8% in 2008 – twice as much as Oracle, which ranks second in the field.
The open approach: timeless software
According to Apotheker, SAP wants to ensure that companies can protect their investments and innovations in the long term. This will be enabled through what’s known as “timeless software” – in other words, software that moves with the times – because innovations in the IT world are surfacing faster than ever. The only thing that helps here is an open approach, both for hardware and for software.
Sustainability is on everybody’s lips at the moment, and it’s an important item on the SAP agenda, too. But where some companies just join in the sustainability chorus, Apotheker revealed that SAP has other objectives. For example, there are plans to cut SAP’s own CO2 emissions by half by 2020 (compared with 2007). Furthermore, SAP intends to give the almost 90,000 organizations that are SAP customers effective support in reducing their CO2 emissions. Apotheker promises that, in the future, every SAP software product will include a sustainability component.
Working together – SAP and DSAG
Apotheker professed to be very happy with the cooperation between SAP and DSAG. However, he hopes that the dialog will become even more constructive and that topics involving DSAG and SAP will be discussed directly and not through the media.
Apotheker concluded his keynote with a look at current software developments such as SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and the “Constellation” prototype. With Constellation, users can gather, weight, and process information from different sources – such as the Internet, forums, and colleagues – in a structured way. In addition, Apotheker promised that an important announcement would be made concerning the rollout of the on-demand solution SAP Business ByDesign in the first quarter of 2010.