The Women in IT Awards series has named Maricel Cabahug, chief design officer of SAP, as the 2018 Digital Leader of the Year for Silicon Valley.

The award recognizes a digital or business leader who has demonstrated successful results in the area of digital innovation in the last 18 months. More than 400 industry leaders attended the awards ceremony, held November 29 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, to pay tribute to women’s achievements in IT.

“It’s an honor to join the prestigious list of Women in IT Awards winners who made it against all odds,” said Cabahug, who was not able to attend, as she was in Boston to represent SAP at the Harvard Council on the Responsible Use of AI. “I could not have done it without the help of my SAP Design team! This is an awesome win for all of us!”

SAP Chief Design Officer Maricel Cabahug awarded Digital Leader of the Year
Members of the SAP Design team at the awards ceremony: (l. to r.) Karenina Susilo, Cara Stallone, Kasia Kesicka, and Jeong-Sook Lee.

The Women in IT Awards series aims to celebrate the achievements of women in the technology sector by providing a platform for the industry to showcase female tech talent and identify new role models. Organized by Information Age and sponsored by DiversityQ, the global series began in 2015 in London. This is the first year the series is being held in Silicon Valley, Asia, and Ireland. Further expansion is planned into New York, Europe, Singapore, and Canada.

Award-Winning User Experiences for the Workplace

Cabahug’s award garnered kudos and recognition from colleagues across SAP, including CEO Bill McDermott, who spoke highly of her inspirational leadership and innovative spirit. As SAP chief design officer, Cabahug is responsible for overseeing the company’s design strategy, product design, and user experience. She says her goal is to improve people’s lives by making work delightful. To achieve this, she and her team aim to deliver the best user experience to the world’s business users.

Cabahug joined SAP in 2011 as vice president of Solution Architecture, following her rapid ascent to the position of CIO at an international industrial manufacturing and components company. She quickly found her place in the Office of the Chief Design Officer, where she was able to combine her passions for software engineering with design and user experience through pioneering projects like SAP Fiori, which has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from SAP customers, partners, and employees. In April 2018, she became chief design officer of SAP.

Under Cabahug’s leadership, the SAP Design organization has introduced award-winning and innovative experiences, including SAP Fiori 2.0,the current release of the SAP Fiori design language for Web applications; SAP CoPilot, a digital assistant for the enterprise and bot integration hub; Font 72, SAP’s own typeface; and SAP Inscribe, a ground-breaking “digital paper” user experience.

Designing for the Intelligent Enterprise

As SAP continues to sharpen its focus on building the world’s first intelligent suite, Cabahug and her team are revolutionizing how users will experience the Intelligent Enterprise. This year at SAPPHIRE NOW in her keynote session “Design for a Better Future with Digital Ethics in Mind,” she presented her bold vision to reshape the industry by creating intuitive and delightful experiences for business users.

Anticipating exciting times to come in the digital realm, Cabahug points out, “Think about how most of us interact with computers today; it is mainly through typing and clicking… sometimes swiping. Now compare that with the richness of communication between humans. The limitations become obvious. Technology now enables us to control machines with our voice, eyes, gestures… and soon with our thoughts. My vision is that by 2025, people will interact with SAP intelligent systems as naturally as they do with other humans.”