SAP Mentor Spotlight Interview: Oliver Schreiber
|The SAP Mentor Spotlight Interview Series highlights key strategic topics, such as emerging technologies, learning, and other topics, and provides insights from Mentors and SAP leaders on turning ideas into innovative approaches that impact people, process, and technology.|
In this era of digital transformation and industry 4.0 each of us is impacted by ever increasing business volatility and supply chain disruptions.
Organizations need to be able to respond to volatile demand, uncertain supply availability, and constrained capacity in order to maximize business opportunities.
For some, like Oliver Schreiber, SAP Mentor, entrepreneur, co-founder of Adamant Lane AG and founder of OSconomy GmbH turning BIG ideas, such as digital supply chain (DSC) optimization, into practical solutions is a part of his daily activities, with an eye on short-term value and impact, and an even longer-term outlook.
For example, Oliver and his team are performing game changing DSC activities that add value to different stakeholders including investors, financial service providers, banks, debtors and sellers, data providers, and credit insurers to increase collaboration and transparency in the marketplace.
In catching up with Oliver it was interesting to understand more about his professional journey and learn about the driving force behind his passion for technology and business innovation.
Julia Russo (JR): Early on, you specialized in organizational management and computer sciences at the Universität Bielefeld which was one of the building blocks that led to your entrepreneurial success as the CEO and Founder of OSconomy. What guided you to pursue your professional passions from your university days to today?
Oliver Schreiber (OS): I was always fascinated by developing business models and establishing the processes and organization for them.
These interests were induced by the mixture of organization management and information management in my studies, as well as working as a process consultant, since process design is closely related to supporting information management and IT services.
To this day I have a passion for taking technology and IT innovations as an enabler for finding new ways of building applications and business models.
JR: How did you become involved in the SAP Mentor program? What has the experience been like for you?
OS: I had very close, long-term relations to SAP’s management, technology development and operations teams during my times in the intelligence AG group in different roles and businesses. After founding Osconomy as a SaaS Design, Development and Solution provider based on SAP platform technology, I was asked to join the SAP Mentor team in 2015 to bring in my skills of working with SAP in different partner roles, and for the upcoming platform-based business and services.
I was very excited and honored to become part of such an unbelievably nice, experienced, international team that works so well together, stays honest and always has a lot of fun. I was very impressed with the overall experience and that our input and feedback was taken seriously by the SAP board and management which then led to real improvements in several areas.
JR: You and your team have enabled an excellent approach for financial supply chain processes by way of the LiquidityHub-solution. Interestingly, it’s integrated with SAP S/4HANA and is completely developed on SAP BTP. Given the challenges of supply chain disruptions, how can this approach help streamline delivery from end-to-end?
OS: With LiquidityHub we delivered our largest application on the SAP BTP so far. Currently it covers a wide-range of functionality covering most of the trade finance business processes in real-time. The solution is highly automated and includes integrated banking subledgers running in SAP S/4HANA.
This new software platform can significantly support the stabilization of the real supply chains by providing a technology for affordable and secure financing of the required supplies. Financial service providers or large corporations can provide their offerings on the LiquidityHub.
This solution allows the different stakeholders, like investors, financial service providers, banks, debtors and sellers, data providers, and credit insurers to increase collaboration and transparency in the market, enable a high level of automation and, by this, improve access to affordable and tailored supply chain financing.
JR: When you connect to customers, peers, and colleagues about migrations to the SAP S/4HANA Cloud, what are a few examples of challenges that they face with redesigning IT landscapes into hybrid cloud structures? What compelling business issues drive taking the first steps forward?
OS: When I support customers in their strategy discussions, they are often considering how they want to leverage the advantages of cloud services and IT technology both now, and in their future roadmap forward. Hybrid cloud architectures are a big topic.
The main debate for their ERP cloud strategy focuses on the question of whether their organization’s business requirements are covered sufficiently by an SAP S/4HANA Cloud standard capabilities with respect to processes and functionality. In addition, they are interested to address the adaptability for flexible business requests, assess if they can continue to bring over developments of the past, and also the use of Add-On software that they use today.
These considerations can present limitation challenges especially for larger corporations. Next it’s important to look at how to replace those past capabilities and new ones by reviewing side-by-side scenarios on SAP BTP and with their Add-On partners, who often are not yet ready for the adaptability guidelines of SAP S/4HANA.
The key is to find an approach which best represents the organization’s requirements given the challenges and important priorities.
JR: How are intelligent technologies such as the integration of IoT (SAP Internet of Things) and iRPA (SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation) into existing infrastructures playing a significant role with supply chains and related operations?
OS: Integrating IoT data seamless into business processes and analytics will enable new ways of service delivery, financing and further improve optimization.
For example, we currently establish a RFID (radio frequency identification) based scenario using SAP HANA Cloud data lake option and Kyma (open source) on the SAP BTP to allow a transparency of stocks and turnarounds of millions of rental objects along the whole process chain between our customer and their customers, which will enable new service offerings and even tangible SLAs (service level agreements).
Also, for iRPA, I expect significant improvements to bridge integration gaps across applications and build intelligent data integration and migration scenarios besides the automation itself.
JR: In your career, you have co-founded (Adamant Lane AG) and founded (OSconomy GmbH) organizations and developed several new businesses within the intelligence AG group. As we know, “overnight success” actually takes many years. What guidance would you share with students and recent graduates who have great credentials, such as computer sciences, and want to develop along their true professional passion?
OS: I would tell them that we’ve never had better economic circumstances and access to enabling technologies to design and establish new solutions and businesses to start something new.
Whether you are a developer or architect, or even a sales representative, it doesn’t matter, as long as your role fits your personal strengths and desire. Try your best to find the right team, the right challenge, and where you would like to contribute.
That could be at an established enterprise for those who look for a safer start, or it could be at a startup environment to learn quickly and develop fast, or even your own endeavor.
The most important part is gaining experience with real customers and their requirements as early as possible and of course hard work. Times have never been better for it and it is dependent on engagement work experiences and following your passion!