As the second day of the SAPHILA 2023 conference – the African SAP User Group’s (AFSUG) official biennial conference for SAP users – opened, delegates were able to find out more on how SAP has addressed its own digital transformation to most powerful effect.
SAPHILA 2023 took place at Sun City, North West Province, on 10 and 11 July 2023.
Over the past 10 years, cloud technology has redefined entire industries and changed how companies run their day-to-day businesses. SAP has made a long-term commitment to become a fully-cloud company itself, and adopt SAP standard solutions. In this regard, Dr Oliver Gutzeit, Vice President, Experience Technology SAP, SAP SE Germany, presented on the topic of how ‘SAP’s Digital IT Organisation Paves The Way To SAP’s Future’.
Gutzeit clarified: ‘We run SAP with SAP, using the full technology stacks. We are enabling our business transformation with the full integration of the IT department, keeping people at the heart of the business.”
He noted that today’s business agility requirements have created a need for new business models that allow for growth, innovation and sustainability, adding: “Sustainability is embedded in everything we do at SAP, and our own transformation is influenced by these values. SAP makes data-driven decisions but takes care to keep our culture, and therefore our people, in mind.
“At SAP, we are facing the same challenges as any other business, including the need to be attractive as a company to acquire talent, while also being cognisant of cybersecurity and sustainability issues. Our own IT division plays a crucial role in bringing the IT systems and business processes together.”
Gutzeit advised that putting people at the centre of the business is more important than ever, clarifying: “Without people you can’t solve the organisation’s other issues. We have an excellent corporate culture at SAP: innovation is within our DNA.”
In terms of catalysing business transformation through culture change, Gutzeit presented the following important points for a company to bear in mind:
· Cultivate an innovation mindset;
· Change thinking patterns and lead by example;
· Invest in skills development and enable career growth; and
· Create a culture of life-long learning.
With regards to the all-pervasive topic of generative artificial intelligence (AI), Gutzeit presented the following as SAP’s aims around AI:
· Scale high quality AI and deliver big data use cases;
· Prioritise best-in-class big data and AI platform;
· Become a global AI development partner and AI thought leader; and
· Focus on people, agility and organisational development.
He added: “You can talk about technology but you have to actually experience its power in order to become familiar with it. Therefore, at SAP, with the advent of commercial generative AI tools entering the consumer landscape in late 2022, SAP took note immediately, and enabled our employees to play with generative AI within a safe and secure environment. We were rewarded by receiving 105 good business cases from our employees, and it is notable that these cases came from people who are not employed within the technology department.
“This is consistent with SAP’s overriding ambition to help the world run better, and improve people’s lives. This aim is admittedly a huge vision, but it lies at the heart of everything we do,” Gutzeit concluded.