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One of the themes that got a good bit of emphasis in the recently concluded SAPPHIRE NOW 2011, was “Innovation” and how SAP is realizing Innovation by bringing HANA, Mobile applications and numerous other new products and solutions to market. In a broader sense within the market place, Innovation has become the most critical driver of an enterprise’s competitive success. Increasing globalization of markets, changing workforce who are tech savvy and transition to service based “knowledge economy” mean companies are under tremendous competitive pressure and must now “Innovate to differentiate”. 

SAP is pursuing a goal to “Double addressable market through Innovation” by 2015. Within SAP the newer technologies such as mobile platform and in-memory computing are serving as a catalyst for developing an array of exciting new applications. This enables SAP to deliver a wider range of products/services to users worldwide and spurring whole new cycles of R&D activities.

Innovation is often a confluence of three major questions namely “What is desirable to end users”, “What is possible with technology” and finally “What is viable in the market place”.  To enable Innovative thinking across the enterprise and translating the thoughts and ideas of the best & brightest into commercial success require an “Innovation Management” discipline supported by key elements of a formal process, structure and organization.

Many enterprises are faced with the following key questions

  • How they can we effectively institute this discipline to nurture “Innovation” within our enterprise?
  • How can we drive a strategy aided by an enterprise policy apparatus that will improve our Innovation success rate and
  • How to foster efficient collaboration with our partners and customers?.

While the questions are straight forward the answers to them are not. To effectively address these challenges the approach needed is twofold namely (a) a comprehensive plan to deal with the dynamics of Innovation and (b) a structured methodology to drive “Incremental Innovation” for products with good market share and “Radical Innovation” where a dramatic breakthrough is needed. The Innovation Management discipline must also be supported by a fairly well defined governance and a clear definition of key measures to track the benefits of Innovation and quantify the positive impact of the resulting business process and product line improvements.

SAP is clearly at the forefront of Innovation in bringing exciting and beautiful software products to our customers which are rooted in latest technology. Similarly, our customers understand where and what to Innovate in maintaining their leading presence in the market place.

So the focus is not on what to Innovate but how to go about managing the process of Innovation effectively. In this regard, SAP through its Business Transformation Services can clearly work with customers in defining the vision, establish a strategy for Innovation and help them institute the formal discipline to realize the Innovation vision and strategy within their enterprise.

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