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SAP Business Transformation Services: Advise and Consult

Feature Article | December 17, 2015 by Stephan Magura

According to SAP’s Christoph Steiger, head of Business Transformation Services, no company is immune to the digital transformation.

On their journey into the digital economy, customers need reliable advice, consulting, and business-oriented innovation management to help them survive and thrive in the digital economy. Business Transformation Services (BTS) has been the management consulting arm of SAP for more than 10 years. With around 700 consultants worldwide, they provide strategic consulting, business innovation, and value optimization to many of SAP’s most strategic customers.

SAP News  spoke with Christoph Steiger, the new global head of BTS, at this year’s 5th annual global SAP Business Transformation Summit, which focused on the next wave of digital transformation.

What specific goals do you have for the BTS group?

As things stand, we are very good at transforming enterprises; and we have the ability to execute on innovation. Our team includes around 150 design thinking coaches, and we have a multitude of services and methods for renewing business models. So we’re in a great position to lead our customers into the digital world. Business transformation and innovation execution will be the two pillars of our business in the future.

I want every BTS employee to combine three core competencies: excellent business expertise, in-depth industry know-how, and a strong knowledge of SAP solutions and SAP technology. We currently have around 700 consultants, and we want to enable them to perfect these qualities.

According to SAP Board Member Michael Kleinemeier, BTS will align itself more closely to lines of business in the future. Can you tell us more?

We have to excel in serving both industry sectors and lines of business (LoB). So we’re deploying a model that I would describe as “glocal.” In it, employees operate at market unit level with broad set of skills where local language and a cultural affinity to the customer is particularly important; they are supported by colleagues who have deep industry knowledge and LoB competence and who operate out of geographic hubs. The idea is that it should be possible to request and deploy these industry and LoB specialists as required anywhere in the world – although they are currently in short supply.

Let’s talk about the industry sectors. What’s the digitalization rate there?

I wouldn’t say that any one industry has emerged as a front-runner in this respect; but some are certainly being more heavily disrupted at the moment than others, such as financial services or retail. But that’s no surprise when you look at how active the FinTechs or Google and Amazon are in these areas. Their committed approach to the digital transformation is impacting every single sector of industry and every single market player.

No company is immune to the digital transformation. But the crucial question for every enterprise right now is when and to what extent “disruptive digital intruders” will encroach on their immediate territory. The harsh truth is that incumbents who are not prepared will simply get left behind.

Looking at SAP customers, how many of them are candidates for the digital transformation?

We are focusing on two groups. The first are the large SMEs. We want to use our tools and methods to digitalize their business models and processes. We’ll then apply what we learn along the way to our major large-enterprise clients.

How does BTS’ strategy ensure that companies will embark on the digital journey with SAP at their side?

There are several aspects here. First off, we have to carry on gathering experience and winning reference customers. We’ve already developed more than 50 digital scenarios for various industries and LoBs, and we’re using them in design thinking workshops to bring new ideas to the table in our discussions with customers. But we need many more scenarios. I’m aiming for between 200 and 300.

Christoph Steiger joined SAP early 2010. Before coming to SAP, Christoph held various management positions at international consulting companies including Arthur D. Little and Accenture.

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