Improving people’s lives. Connecting the unconnected. Driving the digital economy. These phrases don’t just describe the mission of SAP. They also describe the mission of the international telecommunications union (ITU), an agency within the United Nations. Founded in 1865, the ITU is charged with allocating global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, developing the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and striving to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.  Their mission is connecting all the world’s people – wherever they live and whatever their means, protecting and supporting everyone’s fundamental right to communicate.

The Telecommunications team at SAP recognizes the alignment between the ITU vision and our own and as a result we have been a sector member for the past several years and have also participated in their annual conference, ITU Telecom World. This year’s conference was held in Budapest, Hungary, and had a special focus highlighting and fostering the role of small and medium enterprises in driving ICT industry growth, creating employment and contributing meaningfully to social development and the achievement of sustainability goals across of emerging and developed markets. Much of the world’s economy and jobs are created by small to medium businesses each year, and their impact is expected to grow in coming years as the digital economy creates new ways for enterprises of all sizes to connect with each other.

ITU Telecom World is a unique event in the industry. It brings together industry thought leaders, government officials, academics and young innovators who share the vision that communications technology is a cornerstone of economic development and innovation, and that connecting the 60% of the people in the world with little or no internet access is key to creating a digital economy that truly benefits all of the world’s citizens.

As part of this year’s event, SAP announced that we are sponsoring ITU Telecom World Young Innovators Challenge. The goals of the Challenge align with the mandate of the SAP® University Alliances program to develop the talents of the next generation, prepare them for the digital enterprise and drive innovation at the student and entrepreneurship level. As part of this program, the participants receive a range of benefits to expand their enterprises, including mentorship, executive networking, workshops and the opportunity to win seed funding.

The ITU also invited Lise Tcheng, Senior Vice-President & Global Head of Strategic Engagements, Telco Industry, to speak in two sessions: one on cloud computing in emerging markets and the other on industries and SMEs. Cloud computing provides clear benefits to enterprises of all types, including SMEs. Cloud makes applications and services accessible to end users on mobile devices no matter their location. This can be important in less developed countries and remote areas where cellular networks are often more pervasive and reliable than fixed line equivalents. This means that cloud deployments can give enterprises greater business agility by speeding up new application development and services creation. Centralized cloud architectures can also provide improved data security, governance, and compliance with government and industry regulations.

We are living in exciting times – the digital revolution is upon us. The ITU and SAP both understand how profoundly communications technology and connectivity have irrevocably changed the world, and how much change is still to come. CSPs have been key drivers of the digital revolution, providing enabling infrastructure and technology. By joining forces with organizations like the ITU, SAP believes we can more effectively work with our telco customers to help them become leaders and drivers in the new digital economy.

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