Innovation & Technology Director
SAP’s regional customer success team - Lars Friedrich, Andreas Spahn and Maria Fay - takes care of innovations in strategic customer engagements for middle and eastern Europe.
Friedrich has a musical analogy for what the team set out to achieve: “We’re a team of three, and we look upon the incubation and innovation team as a Jazz combo. We help our customers to build innovation partnerships together. From a Jazz point of view, it’s about bringing the tracks together to build up a full song at the end. That’s what we encourage our customers to do - finding the right beat to adopt innovation phase by phase and step by step.” That musical metaphor also underlies the philosophy that they believe companies must adopt to achieve digital transformation. “It’s not just about KPIs, but rather the just symphony. You can't simply use technology to make every process perfect, but you can make sure that everything that you do inside of the process makes sense. And then, once the process has been properly structured, once the people are enabled, then technology can come in.”
One of the elements that sets SAP apart from the crowd is its partner ecosystem, which informs and interacts with the business innovation framework. SAP and its partners work together with customers to establish the correct methodologies and technologies for the situation at hand. “We have many partners of many different sizes, and it's never that we prefer one special partner for a customer,” says Friedrich. “For our mid-sized partners, we can provide a methodology of how to innovate with customers. To that end, we provide two full libraries of use cases, and also a data driven tool to help partners and customers look into a specific business process for improvement.”
The team emphasises that the key benefits of the digital transformations SAP enables are not just monetary. Sustainability is of ever-increasing importance in the business world, and the efficiencies digital transformation unlocks go a long way to helping out. “Big companies like SAP quite clearly have a full sustainability strategy, but the question is how to reach out to the midsized and older companies,” says Friedrich. “They also need to look into what sustainability actually is and how they could set up their enterprise to achieve it. That’s why we’re setting up a framework for sustainability called ‘the sustainable enterprise’. That answers the questions of how a company can use digital technologies to operate in a more efficient, and more sustainable manner.”
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One of the most exciting journeys is when we co-create with our partners and try to go beyond basic digital transformation to discover adjacent opportunities for their business.