Clear Views, Clever Minds

July 1, 2009 by Hans-Josef Jeanrond

150 presentations at SAP World Tour in Paris (photo: Hans-Josef Jeanrond)

Clear visions have long been a topic of focus for SAP, one SAP France sought to address in a special way at the SAP World Tour in Paris. Hosted in the country that has produced such famous minds as Descartes, the event’s opening presentations featured not management or IT specialists, but renowned economics professor Daniel Cohen and Luc Ferry, philosophy professor and former minister of education.

Cohen described the current crisis as a consequence of the “Third Industrial Revolution.” While new sources of energy (steam and electricity) triggered the first two such revolutions, information technology has produced the new system of production seen today. It enables an unprecedented level of distribution in the development and production of goods and immaterial values.

This presentation provided SAP with a number of follow-up points. For example, information technology only leads to a paradigm shift when companies use it not only to reduce costs but also to implement production methods that are otherwise impossible.
Pascal Rialland, head of SAP’s operations in France, took up the existential crisis Luc Ferry mentioned in his presentation, stating that purely financial aims can neither ensure companies’ long-term success nor sufficiently motivate their workers. Employees only apply their full energy and creativity when they see the purpose of their work.

This gave Rialland an appropriate segue to SAP’s theme of a “clear new world,” sustainable development, and ultimately to SAP Business Suite 7.0, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, and the SAP benchmarking program – the last of which is seeing initiation for the first time in France. As one would expect, the subject of enterprise support was also part of Rialland’s presentation.

Gilles Finchelstein – head of market research at EuroRSCG, one of France’s largest communications agencies – also rendered his analysis of the crisis, which centered on the word “responsibility.” In Finchelstein’s opinion, a lack of political, professional, intellectual, and moral responsibility made the crisis possible in the first place. Meanwhile, our relationship with time has changed: Urgency dictates our actions, which prevents us from seeing to the heart of matters. This in turn leads us to utilize formulas that once worked without checking to see whether the conditions of success are still met. According to Finchelstein, former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan also fell into this trap by pumping more and more liquid assets into a decrepit system.

In his presentation, top manager Hervé Couturier focused on the parameters of reliability, ease of use, and seamless innovation. He also demonstrated SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and how managers can use the software without the aid of IT.

Over two days, the SAP World Tour featured 150 presentations and the attendance of 50 SAP partners. In Hall 1, attendees also obtained information on the solutions and applications tailored to specific industries such as IT, banking, insurance, the public sector, health, and small businesses and midsize companies.

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