David Halitsky´s If “indie” films are cool, and “indie” music is cool, wouldn’t “indie” SAP be WAY cool? about innovation with an “indie” SAP and a subsequent discussion about ERP and innovation gave me a lot to think about in the last two weeks.
I therefore asked in my next meetings with customers during the lunch breaks one question several times: Which SAP application first comes to your mind when I say the word innovation?
The first 5 answers where in synch with my expectations: Portal (2), Composition Environment (2) and Enterprise Service Bundle (1). But then at one meeting with executives from a healthcare organization I got another answer: ERP/ HR. As a former HR architect I felt happy but I was a bit sceptic if they just tried to be kind to me because I have introduced myself at the beginning of our meeting. Digging deeper and asking about the reason for their answer they revealed the background for their statement to me:
They are facing extreme difficulties in hiring qualified medical experts (nurses, doctors) in order to realize their ambitious growth plans. Their situation is made worse by the fact that their current (Non-SAP) HR-systems do not provide them with an overview over the qualifications of their employees. There are different systems in place at the different hospitals at the moment and they have no qualification catalogue in place. Therefore they cannot answer questions like: Which doctors have we already hired whose qualifications match with the desired ones to build up new ward in a hospital in order to execute the growth strategy? Which employees have similar qualifications to the desired ones so that they could be trained to get the qualifications in such a great need? Therefore they are longing for a consolidated HR-system which could answer their questions and would enable them to outbeat their competitors in their growth strategy.
This discussion with the two executives made one point very clear to me. If we define innovation = idea + execution ERP could be a cool innovation tool for a business need like the one described. It is not the tool which decides what is cool for an executive. It is the business need!