Global CIO: SAP Shares Corporate Treasure With Customers - InformationWeek
Government // Enterprise Architecture
07:58 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans

Global CIO: SAP Shares Corporate Treasure With Customers

SAP's turning its massive database of customer best practices into a rich knowledge base for customers looking to turbocharge the performance of their businesses.

One of the fastest-growing pieces of SAP's global business doesn't involve applications or middleware or maintenance fees or upgrades, but it's nevertheless becoming one of the cornerstones of the company's aggressive new strategy.

SAP calls it Value Engineering, and the basic premise is to aggregate the best practices and hard-earned knowledge and experiences of SAP's 100,000+ customers and then share those accumulated insights back with the company's global customer community.

While every IT company always promises to some extent to do similar things, most of those promises turn out to be primarily marketing fluff with fancy-sounding names that don't amount to much more than a handful of 3-year-old lightweight case studies tucked away in the corner of a hard-to-find website.

SAP, however, is into something quite different here, as evidenced by the title of the executive who heads up SAP's Value Management business unit: Chakib Bouhdary is chief strategy and customer value officer, and just this month added on a permanent basis the strategy component to his overall responsibilities.

The value management concept is rapidly winning followers among SAP's customers because businesses in every industry, after decades of stockpiling tens or hundreds of millions of dollars worth of technology, are now aggressively striving to find ways to use all of that stuff to increase their levels of performance, to seize opportunities more quickly, to cut unproductive costs, and to extract more value out of their enormous investments in IT in general and SAP software in particular.

In my opinion, SAP's value management program is the most-advanced effort of its kind and can serve as a template for other leading tech companies to emulate as they make the difficult transformation from IT vendors that sell sophisticated hardware and software to business partners that offer advanced business solutions along with deep-domain expertise and insights.

Of course, CIOs will continue to want and need great technology but beyond that they also want and need from their primary IT suppliers knowledge about how all that stuff can be used most effectively, examples of who's deploying it better than anyone else, and insights into how that advanced technology can help their companies can compete more aggressively and successfully in an increasingly cut-throat business environment.

Bouhdary, who in a past life was CIO of an industrial company and an SAP customer himself, says the broad-based value program within SAP reflects a larger change across the company that has put customers at the center of SAP's efforts, with new products and services predicated on fitting those needs.

Global CIO
Global CIOs: A Site Just For You
Visit InformationWeek's Global CIO -- our new online community and information resource for CIOs operating in the global economy.

In the past, the opposite model was in place: SAP produced complex and rigid software and by god those customers would just have to conform to the demands of that software.

"Within SAP, every project now includes one question that's asked over and over:

1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll