Bilafer’s BHAG: One Helluva BHAG
I’m Kurt Bilafer, and my job is to champion SAP’s Business Analytics solutions with our Ecosystem and Channel Partners. Together with you, our customers and partners, we’ve built an incredible Ecosystem over the past decade. The strength of that Ecosystem is nowhere more evident than here on SCN. SCN has already had a big impact on the way we do business at SAP, and I’m excited to be here talking to all of you.
My official title is Global Vice President–Analytics, Ecosystem & Channels, but you can call me ‘the guy with the BHAG’ (Big Hairy Audacious Goal–this is SAP, so naturally we have an acronym). In case you haven’t heard, one of SAP’s goals is to reach one billion users by 2015. That means we have to roughly double the number of SAP users between now and then. It’s one helluva quota, and we’re gonna need your help.
A little about me: I’ve been around the Analytics space a long time. In the ‘90s, I worked for a number of analytics providers and in 2003 I re-started a company called Pilot Software. In the late ‘80s, Pilot had developed one of the first client/server BI systems, and 1 year after the restart we had created an industry-leading performance management solution called PilotWorks. We sold the company to SAP in 2007, and PilotWorks became SAP Strategy Management, which is now part of the Enterprise Performance Management portfolio within Business Analytics.
I stuck around SAP for a while, but as you can imagine the transition from entrepreneur to contributor at a multi-billion dollar global enterprise wasn’t an easy one.
But if you love the Analytics space like I do, SAP is a very exciting place to be. I came back to SAP in 2010, and held numerous roles around the Analytics organization most recently National Vice President for Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) Solutions for SAP North America (longer title, but smaller quota!). In that role I traveled around North America talking to our customers, prospects and partners about what they love and hate about our products.
My current role is a brand new role at SAP, which says something about our commitment to changing the way we do business. I report in to Eric Duffaut, SAP’s first-ever President, Ecosystem & Channels. This is the first time we’ve ever had the entire Ecosystem reporting to one executive, and it’s already making a difference. I also have a dotted line to Steve Lucas, Global GM & Senior Executive – SAP Business Analytics & Technology at SAP. So, I’m connected to SAP’s past and it’s core, and stationed right in the cockpit with the leaders who are steering us into the future.
I’m fired up about this job. I carried a sales bag for many years, so when we launched SAP HANA and signed up a large number of customers within a few days of going General Availability, it got my attention. It would have taken me a year at Pilot to get the traction that HANA got in 2 weeks! But that’s not what I’m fired up about. That’s early traction from hard-core SAP shops. We’re not going to get to a billion users selling Analytics just to our installed base.
To get to a billion, we’re going to fundamentally have to change the way we do business. That’s what I’m fired up about, and that’s where you come in. We can’t do it without you.
In the past, SAP basically sold software products directly to IT. For the most part, we had a tactical relationship with our partners. As implementation specialists, you competed on price to make our software work for each business. And our Value Added Resellers were relegated to selling in spaces SAP didn’t want to sell or can’t effectively compete. This has changed. We are now firmly committed to investing in and growing this Route-to-Market.
Going forward, we’re bringing our partners in earlier, and strategically, to create products together that marry SAP’s technology with your domain and subject matter expertise. It’s an exciting new value proposition that promises to improve time to value and help customers reduce the total cost of ownership and generate significant incremental value from their SAP investment.
My job is to help unleash the tremendous power of the EcoSystem for the benefit of everyone in it, and extend its reach to people who have never done business with SAP and our partners before. It’s already starting to happen, and I’ll be reporting on it here regularly from the front lines.
Buckle up! It’s going to be a crazy ride!