“One of our key differentiators is how we put innovation at the core of what we do,” he says. “Our experience with SAP BTP, the opportunities it provides for innovation, and the value we have leveraged for our customers is intrinsic to us as a business. So many organizations, large and small, deliver transformation projects. But what does ‘good’ look like and how can that be delivered? These are the questions we always ask ourselves. Developing solutions that solve real business challenges, across industries and lines of business, and demonstrating how they can be applied to a customer’s business is pivotal in strengthening existing relationships and winning new customers.”
Baukham, who’s an SAP technical architect by profession, specializing in SAP BTP, was – together with colleagues – instrumental in collaborating with SAP on the platform’s development, helping in the very early days of its inception to shape it into the platform known and used today by partners worldwide.
Indeed, Baukham’s team made a name for itself by developing web-based user interfaces on top of what were then SAP’s fairly basic solutions and, therefore, became involved in the very early discussions about how to update and move SAP forward.
“We recognized the platform as being the best way to innovate around the core to give our clients something that met their very specific needs,” he says. “The platform has now evolved and that approach is now standard, but in the early days it wasn’t.”
He says that SAP BTP is a way for the team to “demo the art of the possible,” delivering a completely different user-experience or bringing a different vision to SAP solutions. It’s a platform that allows customers to leverage their investment in SAP and gives them an advantage in the market, whether through finding more efficient ways of working or identifying and opening up new revenue streams.
“Meeting with a client and talking about integration and databases is not going to cut it with the people in the room that are there to make business decisions and who ultimately will be using the technology. They’re not interested,” he says. “It’s more helpful to discuss SAP BTP and how it can be the platform for continuous innovation and for delivering real benefits to a business. We change the conversation so that it’s about the benefits the tech can bring, where we can see things need to be improved, either based on other customers’ similar challenges or from the experience of our vast network of SAP consultants.”
SAP BTP is “the platform where we can do things differently,” he continues, and is “central” to many conversations with existing or prospective customers. While the team can use SAP BTP to manage the standard things – like integrating SAP solutions to other systems, closing any gaps that have been identified, or looking at analytics – Baukham is clear that the real benefit comes from how the platform is used holistically. “This isn’t about focusing on one particular area, but how you can use all the surfaces together to deliver a much better experience. This is about putting the users first: it has to be easy to use otherwise people avoid using it.”
In client discussions, Deloitte covers all aspects of the platform. “Regardless of where clients are on their SAP journey – whether they’re on a legacy system or ready to do a transformation – we look at whether they need a UI refresh, whether they need to simplify some apps to make it easier for transformation, whether it’s greenfield, brownfield, or selective. We look at where SAP BTP lays in that,” Baukham explains. “But we also then have the conversations around what’s next – once the transformation is complete, how can we help them to address other pain points that may not have been solved. Do we bring in more analytics so they have the data on hand to make decisions quicker? Do we look at the smarter technologies, the bots that can help to perform some of the more mundane tasks more easily? If they’re doing the same processes or making the same kind of decisions, do they need someone to do that or can machine learning do that for them instead? We’ve always been good at pushing the boundaries and exploring what’s possible. When augmented reality first came out, a lot of competitors were using it for gimmicky things. What we did was to take CEO reports and explain and display them in 3D so people could interact with them. What we do is to try to turn these new technologies into a business case: how you can use these technologies through SAP BTP to enhance your experience?”
The three things Baukham likes best about SAP BTP are the flexibility, the sheer volume of services available that can all integrate smoothly with SAP, and the fact that the platform is continually evolving. “Because it moves forward and embraces new tech, you don’t feel it’s ever going to get old. It grows with the times,” he says.
He also says it’s inspiring to see how the platform can be used in different ways. While it is largely used to support internal processes, for some of Deloitte’s customers it has been used to help deliver external services, opening up completely new revenue streams.
“It’s a completely different way of looking at SAP BTP,” Baukham says. “They’re looking at the layer underneath the analytics, the federation of data across multiple sources. While you’re not looking to replicate that – that data stays where it is – you can still model it through some common data models, KPIs, and dashboards and some of our customers have done that and brought real benefit to their end customers. In both cases, we put ourselves in the shoes of their end customers to develop a new approach. That’s down to the innovative nature of SAP BTP and the way you can make it work for you.”