Digital transformation is core to sustainable business practices sweeping across organizations worldwide. That’s because imperatives like addressing climate change and diversity and inclusion require intense and targeted collaboration to solve.
From Silicon Valley to India, two innovators are helping drive SAP’s sustainable business vision, revealing how innovation emerges when we thoughtfully connect passionate people with the right information across value chains.
This article is part of a new series, SAP Pioneers, which features innovators at SAP who are charting new horizons in the cloud and guiding companies across the globe through exciting areas of innovation.
Circular Economy Startup Champion
Since joining SAP as an intern on the company’s global IT organization, Christina Hamilton has been at the forefront of digital transformation, hands-on with customers and partners to infuse leaders with a cloud mindset and help them generate full value from their software investments. Hamilton was among the original team members who helped build SAP’s premier cloud customer success program into an innovation powerhouse of hundreds of experts within three years to generate significant cloud subscription revenue for SAP.
Although she’s just 28 years old, Hamilton’s career odyssey has mirrored the digital transformation journey of SAP and its customers. Now working in the heart of Silicon Valley, she heads venture operations for SAP.iO Venture Studio, a sustainable business accelerator for early stage high-potential entrepreneurs.
“We’re championing a startup culture by investing in small entrepreneurial teams inside SAP targeting process improvements supporting sustainable business,” said Hamilton. “Teams test and iterate quickly, getting solutions into the hands of customers for initial fast results that will become high-growth, high-scale, and high-adoption long term. It’s about helping companies use the transactional and supply chain data in their SAP and non-SAP systems, along with our industry expertise, to meet their business objectives.”
There’s nothing that energizes Hamilton more than exploring and monetizing cutting edge opportunities like the circular economy. Among Hamilton’s latest ventures was Feather by SAP, a re-commerce solution designed to help brands refurbish and resell clothing and other consumer goods. It’s an opportunity retailers have largely missed out on.
“The circular marketplace is rapidly growing, and direct-to-consumer recycling is a super cool way to give retailers new revenue streams while addressing sustainability commitments,” said Hamilton. “Working on the next big thing is an everyday revelation for our team.”
Other projects include e-waste recycling solution EverLoop by SAP, supply chain traceability tool GreenToken by SAP, and the personalized recruitment product powered by artificial intelligence (AI), Brilliant Hire by SAP.
As much as she loves technology, Hamilton is equally passionate about people relationships. Calling herself a jack-of-all-trades, when she’s not working with internal SAP design, marketing, and other groups, Hamilton liaises with prominent educational institutions to grow this vibrant innovation community.
“Fulfilling people’s goals on a personal and professional level is one of the most enriching parts of my life,” she said. “We’ve created a team where people bring their whole selves to everything they achieve. This has been especially important during challenging times like the pandemic.”
Inclusiveness Opens Doors to Career Innovation
Perseverance is the one word that best describes how Asha Sreedhar has lived her life and created success on her own terms as an autism advocate and quality associate at SAP Labs India in Bangalore. She is the first to acknowledge how far she’s traveled — from being bullied at school to enjoying the well deserved accolades of a professional career.
Readers of the book “Dream Big” can find Sreedhar’s incredible story, while colleagues every day rely on her software testing expertise. Her responsibilities epitomize SAP’s digital transformation, which is grounded in cloud-based innovation. She credited her victory in a software testing competition at SAP Labs India to her commitment to quality and meticulous attention to detail.
“I’m a fast learner and very good on details and routine, so this is the right job for me,” she said. “I’m now surrounded by people who are accepting, friendly, and inclusive. The best part for me is being appreciated for my work by a strong community of colleagues and friends.”
Sreedhar was born in Africa and moved with her family to the U.S., where doctors diagnosed her with autism at the age of nine. She completed public school and graduated with the highest honors from a community college. When her parents moved back to India, she returned with them, and after completing the employability training program at a local non-profit organization for people with disabilities, she joined SAP Labs India in 2015 as part of the company’s Autism at Work program.
Educating people within and beyond SAP has become central to her life as she’s achieved her dreams. Some of Sreedhar’s proudest moments include hosting the SAP Autism Summit and winning a Karnataka Women Achievers Award for Outstanding Influencer.
“Sharing my life story with others helps people understand autism and how they can help family members achieve their dreams in the workplace,” she said. “I tell people to be open-minded and learn about autism. With the right education and support, people with autism can explore their interests and find valuable careers. Creating awareness about autism is deeply satisfying, as I’m helping others and myself move forward.”