Q: SAP helps companies by delivering business transformation and innovation. How do SAP solutions bridge the gap between strategy and execution?
José Duarte: Over the past year we’ve been articulating our strategy – what our co-CEOs call our game changers – which is based on on-premise, on-device, on-demand, and orchestration. The market response has been tremendous, and customers are highly interested. For instance, many are exploring what we can offer in terms of delivering mobility capabilities and analytical components.
Q: Based on SAP’s key technology trends, what can customers expect to see from SAP Global Services in the future?
I meet with customers all the time, and without exception they want to experience tangible value with our solutions, and they want it fast. This is also reflected by the response we’re seeing with rapid deployment solutions. We’re balancing that with other aspects of our portfolio to lower costs and speed projects, while simultaneously reducing risk. You’ll also see SAP Global Services putting an emphasis on providing services that deliver high value to customers in the mid- and long-term, helping them gain more from their SAP investments.
We will also continue expanding our role as market maker, introducing SAP innovation to help gain early customer success with new solutions such as our HANA offering and in-memory computing, as well as helping customers utilize the cloud. SAP Global Services will remain in a critical role with these innovations.
Q: What’s the most important factor for ensuring that our customers are successful and see results from their implementations?
I can say that one of the fundamental elements is expectation setting. This has to happen in the earliest stage – as early as during bid discussions. Everyone involved needs to be on the same page – SAP, the customer, a partner if they’re part of it – to understand what can be accomplished, how it’ll be done…to be clear. If the customer thinks the solution is going to do something altogether different from what it can really do, the project will have problems.
That doesn’t mean other things aren’t critical, but without the correct expectations in place, it makes success on any level difficult. And for me, success isn’t just about completing a project on time and budget. I want the customer to feel the power of what SAP offers in their business, so when I ask them how things are going with their SAP system, they can respond with specifics – what they like, what needs improvement, where they are seeing gains they’ve never experienced before. Those are the fun conversations to have.
Q: What are the pain points the customers can experience during and after an implementation and how does SAP help minimize those pain points or potential risks?
We’ve made enormous strides in reducing risks and downtime with upgrades. For instance, the near-zero downtime services and methodology we introduced have had a big impact, and the customers who’ve used it raved. Consider Nestlé, an extremely important customer of ours who did a global IT upgrade across three regions. We were able to reduce technical downtime to hours as opposed to days. We’re taking a lot of steps to reduce costs and increase speed throughout our portfolio because companies can’t afford to wait; they want and need the advantages we offer fast.
Q: How do you ensure that all SAP customers, including those being served by our partners, are successful with SAP offerings? How does SAP work with the ecosystem and channels?
Whether our customers are working with SAP or our partners, it’s really important that the customers are sold the right solution for their needs. And like my earlier comment about setting expectations early on, if a project is starting with the right solution to address the business and the right expectations, you have a good basis for the rest. We’ve built an extremely solid ecosystem, and we’re in the midst of expanding on it.
And the unique thing about SAP, one of the factors I believe gives us a competitive advantage, is that we co-innovate with our ecosystem. So while we offer complementary solutions or services with our partners to customers, we also bring to market jointly developed products.
Q: If you had to sum it up, what are the main goals of the SAP Global Services organization?
Our top goal is to maximize customer success, and anything short of that is really not acceptable to me. I’d also like to see the Global Services organization be viewed as an essential, innovative arm of SAP that customers associate with value. If we succeed – and I see no reason why we can’t – customers will want more of what we offer. Our partners will be excited because we’ll open and expand new business opportunities for them. And our Global Services employees at SAP will be not just happy to work here, but proud to be playing an essential role in driving innovation and contributing to the success associated with SAP.
José Duarte is president of Global Services within Global Field Operations (GFO) at SAP. In this role, Duarte drives the global GFO services line of business, comprised of consulting, education, maintenance go-to-market, and custom development. Prior to his current role, Duarte was president of SAP EMEA and India, responsible for field operations.
Duarte joined SAP in 1993 and was pivotal in founding and building up the country subsidiary in Portugal, where he later became country manager. From 2006 to 2008, he was president and CEO of SAP Latin America.