The new president of SAP Japan sat down at his clean desk the day after financial services giant Lehmann Brothers collapsed. Promptly thereafter, deals became scarce. As somber as it may seem to show up on your first day to watch the pipeline constrict, Garrett Ilg was doggedly optimistic: “You have to stay positive; you need to stay focused.” His first day at SAP makes for an interesting anecdote, he concedes, but points out, “I have seen other market phenomena that – for the Japanese market – have been equally disruptive.”
Having done business in Japan for the past 25 years, Ilg has steered IT companies through various crises. Crises, Ilg argues, help companies hone their business. “Business is about how you manage your company through the peaks and troughs of an increasingly volatile global economy.” As Ilg explains, for SAP this means equipping companies with solutions that help them adjust quickly to downturns and switch back to growth mode when demand picks up again.
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