Complex Problems, Simple Solutions

Cristina Palmaka
“It’s not enough to have a good idea; you have to be able to transform it into a competitive advantage”, said Cristina Palmaka, President of SAP Brazil. (Photo: SAP)

One of the customers at the SAP Forum taking place this week in Brazil said he came to the event because he has a lot of problems. What he needs are solutions. We all know technology can solve a lot of problems, but let’s face it. It can be confusing, especially when it changes faster than it takes to set it up.

The goal at SAP’s largest customer event worldwide after SAPPHIRE was to reassure 12,000 customers and partners that we’re not going to solve complex problems with complex technology. We’re going to do it fast and keep it simple.

Rodolpho Cardenuto, the SAP Americas president tasked with unleashing the combined power of the developed markets in North America with the emerging economies in Latin America, noted that the technology revolution is also generating a revolution in business. “We’ve reduced innovation time to market by 50%, but our customers’ time to value from these innovations doesn’t always keep up with this pace. That’s because traditional application integration and implementation is too complex. The answer to this conundrum is the cloud,” said Cardenuto, “because it provides a simpler delivery model to accelerate the adoption of innovation.”

Understanding the benefits of SAP HANA

Maybe simplicity is all about being smarter. Steve Lucas, President of Platform Solutions on site to talk about innovation, told customers that SAP HANA makes everything you own smarter. In a connected economy, your things, your networks and systems are all connected, enabling decisions such as restocking vending machines and rerouting trucks to be made without human intervention. He also found a simple way to describe SAP’s state of the art technology. “Some people come to Brazil for the beaches, some for the business, but I come for the pão de queijo. Is it bread; is it cheese? Who cares? It’s just good. It’s the same with SAP HANA. Is it a database; is it a platform? Who cares? It’s REALLY good!” Customers got it!

Next page: How innovators become leaders

Diego Dzodan
“Predicitve analytics is what enables a business to not only see where it’s coming from, but where it should be going,” said Diego Dzodan, President of SAP Southern Latin America. (Photo: SAP)

According to Steve Lucas, companies that innovate, like the Brazilian energy giant Petrobras, are the ones that lead the world. Innovation is not hard to pinpoint. “The stone age didn’t end because they ran out of stones,” said Cristina Palmaka, President of SAP Brazil, during her opening speech. “It ended because people found new ways to make their lives easier. But it’s not enough to have a good idea; you have to be able to transform it into a competitive advantage.”

One way to gain competitive advantage is to predict the future. “We spend a lot of time thinking about the future,” said Diego Dzodan, President of SAP Southern Latin America. “We wonder how our kids will turn out, which team will win the soccer match. The same preoccupation with future results is what drives business. Predicitive analytics is the crystal ball that can help companies anticipate business changes and take the right measures to avoid issues even before they materialize. Predicitve analytics is what enables a  business to not only see where it’s coming from, but where it should be going.”

Businesses and individuals must lead the way in shaping Brazil 

Besides providing deep insight into SAP’s solutions to customer problems in industries of all sizes, the event gave participants plenty of opportunity to draw parallels between technology and the other forces shaping the world around us today. Miguel Nicolelis, a neuroscientist working on brain to brain interfaces as a way of studying neural systems reminded us that all Big Data stems from the human brain. Fabio Barbosa of Grupo Abril, a major Brazilian media conglomerate,  spoke about the need for individuals and businesses to lead the way when it comes to shaping the country Brazil seeks to become. He believes the business of business should be sustainable business.  That just about sums up the raison d’etre of SAP’s Emerging Entrepreneur Initiative which supports high impact entrepreneurs in partnership with Endeavor. The program addresses the issue of talent shortage in IT and helps accelerate job creation. Best of all, it represents SAP’s vision of the future because the innovative startups in the program today will lead the world tomorrow.

Next page: A 10 to 30 year goal for the future

Formula for success: Defining strategic and emotional goals

So what’s the plan for 2014? Ricardo Kazuo, Chief of Staff  for Diego Dzodan, says the team thrives on challenges. “We’re looking for the next big hairy audacious goal,” he says, referring to a concept that encourages companies to define visionary goals that are more strategic and emotionally compelling. “Instead of setting goals for the next 2 or 3 years, we’re looking for a 10 to 30 year goal to progress towards an envisioned future.”

That’s a sure formula for success when it comes to the business and for shaping a new society that really does help improve people’s lives.

See also Predicting the Future of Business in Brazil in SAP Business Trends