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In planning my agenda for SAPPHIRE NOW, it occurred to me that Bon Jovi is the perfect choice for the celebration event. Why? Both SAP and Bon Jovi are decades-old global brands with millions of customers. And, both have had to adapt quickly to changing market conditions. Let’s examine the details.

 

 

 

SAP

 

 

Bon Jovi

 

 

History

 

 

Founded in 1972 by five entrepreneurs, formerly of IBM.

 

 

Founded in 1984 by five musicians from New Jersey.

 

 

Early success

 

 

Sold accounting software (eventually R/1) and reached 40 reference   customers within three years.

 

 

Second album went gold. Third album, Slippery When Wet (1986) sold   more than 12 million copies.

 

 

Global presence

 

 

Offices in 130 countries.

 

 

Played in 53 countries.

 

 

Market share

 

 

#1 or #2 in most markets served.

 

 

Consistent #1 albums and Top Ten hits over three decades

 

 

Customer count

 

 

253,500 customers.

 

Many customers have purchased more than one solution from SAP.

 

This includes millions of business users that rely on SAP to make   their businesses (and lives) run better.

 

 

Sold over 130 million albums. Performed more than 2,900 concerts for over   37.5 million fans. This number certainly includes counting customers more   than once.

 

(Disclosure: I have 20 Bon Jovi albums on my iPod.)

 

 

Customer demographics

 

 

Serves 25 distinct industries. Expanded beyond core IT customer base   into several major lines of business. Introduced new, intuitive products to   appeal to millennials.

 

 

Retained traditional fans from the late 1980s who grew up with the   band. Cultivated a new generation of fans in the early 2000s. Cross genre   collaborations expanded market. Now appealing to the children of the original   fans.

 

 

Agility

 

 

Successfully migrated from mainframe to client-server to Web. Now   delivering Cloud solutions and leading the industry towards in-memory computing. 

 

Constantly reinventing technology to remain relevant.

 

 

Started in “hair metal”, transitioned to mainstream rock. Has   produced rock anthems, ballads, pop hits, and even a country hit and numerous   collaborations with new bands.

 

Constantly reinventing sound to remain relevant.

 

The parallels go beyond the “organization.” Let’s look at the leadership. Both SAP’s Bill McDermott and Jon Bon Jovi share several characteristics.

 

 

 

Bill McDermott

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Jon Bon Jovi

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Humble roots

 

 

Started career running a deli

 

 

Son of two U.S. Marines

 

 

Strong work ethic (a bit of an understatement  in both cases)

 

 

Yes

 

 

Yes

 

 

Vision

 

 

Transition SAP to be the cloud company powered by SAP HANA

 

 

Remain relevant to the American and global music scene

 

 

Passion for what they do

 

 

Watch the keynote

 

 

Watch the concert

 

 

Leadership development

 

 

Rotates executives and actively cultivates young leaders

 

 

Encouraged band members to pursue solo projects to develop as artists

 

 

Bias towards (intelligent) risk taking, both personally and   professionally

 

 

Enters new markets, acquires companies in strategic industries, does   not back down from challenge

 

 

Started band, produced solo material, movie scores, acted in movies,   tries different sounds, owned arena football team

 

 

Dedicated to giving back to the community

 

 

Active in social causes in and around Philadelphia area, notably   Children’s Aid Society, but many others

 

 

Active in social causes in and around Philadelphia area, notably   Habitat for Humanity, but many others

 

 

Outside of work

 

 

Family, friends, sports

 

 

Family, friends, sports, music

 

Looking at the live and online attendance of SAPPHIRE NOW, and the number of keynotes CEO Bill McDermott has delivered, I think it’s safe for him too to state “I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve rocked them all.”

Looking forward to Wednesday night in Orlando. Hope to see you there.

Peter Spielvogel

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2 Comments

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  1. Trond Stroemme

    Comparing Bon Jovi to SAP rings true, for better or worse. However, I could not help thinking of the following:

    – Usually a few steps behind the more innovative and agile actors spearheading their domains – prefers to catch up rather than invent…

    😉

    (0) 

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