Established in 2015 as the first SAP AppHaus location in Asia, SAP AppHaus Seoul is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Like its sister locations in North America and Europe, SAP AppHaus Seoul combines human-centered design and development expertise to help customers leverage SAP Business Technology Platform and make innovation real.

Five Years of Co-Innovation Work with SAP Customers

Under recent COVID-19 restrictions and realities, the team switched customer engagements and workshops into fully virtual and online experiences. In these engagements, the team applied helpful tools contained in the virtual innovation toolkit designed by SAP AppHaus, which can be downloaded for free by customers and the public at large.

What’s more, SAP’s human-centered approach to innovation is a powerful combination of design thinking and user research, and builds on the existing enterprise architecture of the respective customer or organization.

Interview with Christopher Han, Head of SAP AppHaus Seoul

Q: Congratulations to you and SAP AppHaus Seoul for five years of co-innovation work with customers and partners! How did you celebrate this event?

Christopher Han: Thank you. We all feel a sense of pride reflecting on the five years of customer engagements in our region that have shaped the perception of SAP as an innovation partner of choice. To celebrate, we dedicated some time to remember the key events since 2015, and our designers captured those events in a beautifully crafted history wall.

SAP AppHaus Seoul history wallSince our fifth anniversary is happening during COVID-19, we designed the celebration with social distancing in mind. Rather than hosting one large event for customers and internal stakeholders, we designed five mini celebrations. We invited a small group of select customers, such as Doosan Corporation whose chief digital officer is the former managing director of SAP Korea. We also held a celebration with the senior leadership of SAP in Korea – from both Customer Success and SAP Labs Network.

What are some highlights from the early years?

During our first year as a newly established team, we explored candidate locations for our SAP AppHaus location and designed the new creative workspace; all while continuously conducting customer projects in parallel. Creating the SAP AppHaus Seoul space was clearly one of our highlights of year one. Since opening, we have conducted more than 120 projects, welcomed 12,228 visitors, offered 213 tours, and hosted 417 workshops – and counting.

Another memorable event was the SAP AppHaus opening ceremony in July 2016, which involved the visit of the then President of Korea, Park Geun-hye. The launch received widespread positive media coverage on a national and international scale. While arguably impressive, the president’s attendance did not come as a big surprise, given that the inspiration for establishing the SAP AppHaus location in Korea was sparked by her meeting with Hasso Plattner at the Presidential Mansion in Seoul in September of 2014.

Just a week after the opening ceremony, Adaire Fox-Martin, then president of SAP Asia Pacific Japan (APJ), hosted her quarterly town hall meeting with employees in the region at our SAP AppHaus location. The entire SAP Customer Success APJ executive leadership team attended the event that was broadcasted live throughout the region. This event really helped put us on the map.

Throughout the years, many joint projects and collaborations with clients turned into long-standing customer relationships. We look back on numerous successful projects and SAP implementations which, in many cases, led to continued innovation journeys.

A recent example is the collaboration with our customer Clair, “Cleaner Air for All – Smart IoT-Enabled Air Purifiers.” Woo Hun Lee, CEO of Clair, says, “We gained confidence during our collaboration with SAP AppHaus, who helped us advance our service model by deeply empathizing with users and capturing their insights through the design thinking workshop and field research.”

Those are amazing stories from the early years of SAP AppHaus Seoul. How have things evolved over the years?

If we were to fast-forward to this current year, the biggest difference is the unexpected appearance of COVID-19 in the world. South Korea was one of the countries hit by the coronavirus early in February 2020, and it felt scary at the time. Fortunately, the country has managed the outbreak remarkably well as evidenced by the low case counts and fatalities per capita. In any case, the experience with the pandemic has added challenges to the way we work, and our global SAP AppHaus team has responded with empathy and creativity.

One concrete example has been the way we switched workshops and customer engagements to be fully virtual experiences with helpful online tools and methods – some of which SAP AppHaus created. To provide a seamless experience with customers, the global SAP AppHaus team designed templates with MURAL that could be readily adopted for online workshops. Given our success, MURAL has recognized the commitment of SAP AppHaus on its website.

The work of helping customers innovate with SAP Business Technology Platform continues whether online or offline. We can support the different phases in an innovation project as efficiently as before. Clearly, the pandemic could not stop us from collaborating with teams across SAP to continue our future-oriented work with customers!

What are the plans for SAP AppHaus in Asia over the next five years?

From a strategic perspective, our focus area continues to be the adoption and scaling of SAP Business Technology Platform as the foundation for the digitalization and future growth of our customers. We are all passionate about supporting our customers on their innovation journeys to becoming truly intelligent enterprises while relying on a solid and flexible foundation. With SAP’s human-centered approach to innovation, we are well-equipped to support our customers and make their transformation projects a success.

When we look ahead to the next five years, I am delighted to share that the SAP AppHaus Network continues to grow globally and in Asia. The network is a community of like-minded SAP partners helping to humanize business software and ensure that innovation gets into the hands of people. We are currently onboarding our first member of the SAP AppHaus Network in China, and the announcement will be made soon. There is also the possibility of reviving our plan to establish an SAP AppHaus location in Shanghai – a plan that was put on hold early this year due to COVID-19. It’s an exciting time to be working at SAP in Asia.

Messages of Congratulations

“Congratulations to the SAP AppHaus Seoul team for five years of successful customer co-innovation work in the Asian region! Thanks to the team for the passion to always put our customers at the center of all that you do. Your engagements help elevate the perception of SAP to be the trusted innovation partner of choice. Let us continue this innovation journey and support many more customers to make the Intelligent Enterprise real by applying SAP’s human-centered approach to innovation. Team, you rock!”

– Andreas Hauser, senior vice president, SAP AppHaus Network

“Asia is a high growth region, and the SAP AppHaus Seoul team is playing a pivotal role in helping our customers innovate on top of SAP Business Technology Platform. Congratulations to the team on your first five years. The next five will surely be even more exciting as you help more customers in Asia become intelligent enterprises.”

– Anja Schneider, senior vice president and head of SAP Customer Innovation

“The SAP AppHaus Seoul team provides me with such fond memories. It all began when I was president of SAP Asia Pacific Japan. I remember how the  members facilitated my leadership team offsite in 2015. Together, we designed and launched the strategic – and very successful – “Asia Rising 2020” initiative. Congratulations to the  team! I wish you the very best and continued success in helping customers in APJ run best with SAP.”

– Adaire Fox-Martin, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, Customer Success

Imke Vierjahn is communications lead for SAP AppHaus.