SAP Development Kick-Off Meeting: You Never Win Alone

Last week the annual SAP Development Kick-Off Meeting (d-kom) took place in Silicon Valley, one of the many locations around the globe where SAP coders meet and mingle every January!

As is the case every year, this event marks the start of the year for development, outlining our strategy for the next 12 months and providing learning opportunities in interactive sessions and on the show floor.

Based on my new expanded role as president of SAP Product Engineering, I had the honor to speak on the keynote stage together with my SAP colleagues Mary Carol Madigan, Abdul Razack, and Giles House. In our keynote, we focused on the way forward for SAP’s product engineering teams, which lie at the heart of SAP’s development community. Holding a keynote in front of our developers is always both a great honor and a challenge because it means speaking to some of the brightest brains in the industry.

Here are my key takeaways:

  • Our intelligent enterprise strategy is spot on for our customers, helping them utilize the speed and agility of the cloud and embrace intelligent technologies to transform their businesses.
  • Our developers can be proud of what they do every day. SAP has reinvented itself as a cloud company, moving from a proprietary approach to openness and becoming the center of gravity for a lively ecosystem.
  • Our ability to adapt enables us to serve our customers in a rapidly changing environment, helping them to differentiate from their competitors through integrated processes and modern and intelligent solutions.

However, we not only looked inside SAP. It was my great pleasure to welcome Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, on the keynote stage. He joined us to provide an outside-in perspective in an inspiring talk about the culture and mindset at his company, and how they managed to build a leading cloud company.

And last but not least I had the pleasure to welcome Christian Klein and Jürgen Müller, members of the Executive Board members of SAP SE, who were in Karlsruhe, virtually on stage to share their message directly with our colleagues in Silicon Valley – that’s what I call #AugmentedReality at its best, bringing global virtual collaboration to the next level.

I am really looking forward to working very closely with our customers and to elevate product engineering at SAP. It will be all about collaboration!

From IT to Product Engineering

Having held various leadership roles over the past eight years, I have had the privilege to lead SAP’s Global IT department since 2016. With that, I learned so much from our own digital transformation and internal implementations, which will bring a customer-orientation and the clear focus on business value and outcomes to Development.

I’ve already had the pleasure of working closely with our Product Engineering teams. They have always been great partners to engage with and to drive joint IT innovation and implementation projects. Together with the Product Engineering teams and in the spirit of “SAP runs SAP,” we implemented our newest solutions to run SAP as an intelligent enterprise.

In addition, SAP’s Corporate IT team has delivered new technologies, apps, and intelligent services to SAP’s employees and customers. Thanks to a cloud-first approach, SAP IT has become an agile, user-centric, and business-driven organization enabling a great user experience at a modern workplace. This led us to a significant increase of the internal service quality, reaching a TRI*M Index of 79 and meaning SAP is under the top five percent of IT departments in terms of service quality.

This would not have been possible without the unbeatable IT team. I could not be prouder of what the IT team has achieved over the past years! Thanks so much and a big shout out to my team!

What I have also learned over the past years is that the best teams are diverse teams. Within diverse teams, you have different backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas. Diversity encourages us to step out of our comfort zones, to learn, and to innovate. Working alone, our potential is limited. Together, we can do so much more.

I am looking forward to working with our product engineering teams, learning from them, and jointly driving innovation for our customers – because you never win alone.


Thomas Saueressig is president of Product Engineering at SAP.

This story originally appeared on LinkedIn.