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SAP Runs SAP – The Most Important Asset

/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/pen11_150x113_138579.jpgI love my job. That’s why I’m still happy despite the fact that I’ve been on my feet for 12 hours straight. (My day started before sunrise, and even though the sun has now set, it isn’t quite over yet.)

When I got here this morning, I thought it would take ages to register. I was wrong. It only took me 3 minutes. (How’s that for SAP efficiency?) I went straight to hall 10 and saw my SAP Runs SAP family at stand 101. Moments later, SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann arrived. He wanted to greet the Global IT team personally before the show floor crowded, but he also wanted to know what demos the team had planned for the day. The SAP Runs SAP program changes constantly, so the demos need to change to reflect the latest and greatest innovations at SAP. Once again, the Global IT team impressed Oliver, and I love seeing the expression on his face as he listens intently to what the team has planned for the day ahead.

After taking time out to case the joint, I caught up with Oliver again. He was on his way to an SAP Mentors meeting. He invited me to join him, and I accepted.

The meeting was packed. With standing room only, I had to settle for a seat on a windowsill.

Things kicked off with Oliver receiving an SAP Mentors 2012 T-shirt and tie, then Martin Heisig spoke about the role of enterprise architecture at SAP Global IT. Since Oliver joined SAP as chief information officer, enterprise architecture has resulted in big, positive changes within Global IT, simplifying processes, making it easier to focus on the customer, and opening new ways to create value, according to Martin. Oliver chimed in, noting that enterprise architecture isn’t just about money — it’s about generating a bigger impact if you spend in the right places.

Oliver also talked about the SAP Runs SAP program. From its modest start in 2010, the initiative has made SAP its own largest customer, thanks to implementation and support from Global IT. Today, with its extensive hands-on experience with SAP software, Global IT has become a chief communicator and evangelist for SAP offerings. As a result, Global IT has gained more visibility — both within and outside of SAP. This recognition, in turn, has built morale and team spirit within Global IT, generating even more value for the company.

An audience member asked Oliver if the SAP Runs SAP program included a feedback cycle between SAP’s development team and Global IT. The answer is yes: this feedback is a major part of SAP Runs SAP. By sharing firsthand accounts, Global IT provides useful information that can help our developers improve software and deliver even better products for our customers.

Oliver went on to say that sometimes the IT department has to be in the driver seat for innovation. A company may not immediately recognize the value of new innovations (mobility solutions and in-memory computing, for example). So it’s up to the IT department to implement the innovations, show proof of what can be done, and get the company excited about the possibilities. That’s what makes programs such as SAP Runs SAP so powerful: they open a company’s eyes to a new way of doing things.


Although Oliver praised SAP Runs SAP and SAP’s software, he was quick to add that his team is his most important asset. Investing in the people within Global IT is mandatory. He explained that he has quadrupled the training budget for Global IT professionals, a fact that was (pleasantly surprising) news to me. He also takes a personal interest in his team members. For example, in September, he held a two-day meeting for Global IT’s best and brightest employees — just to help them develop their careers and reach their full potential. Experts from our HR team held sessions with these employees to discuss their careers, and Global IT’s executives sat down one-on-one with individuals to talk about their goals. (I will write more about this meeting in a future blog.).

The day ended with Tapas at a local restaurant with the SAP Global IT team, it was so funny that my cheeks hurt from laughing so much. As I said at the beginning of this post, I love my job.

See you tomorrow.


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