Saturday, August 06, 2005

Read Claus E. Heinrich's Contributions to the SAP Community 

Special responsibilities: Global human resources; quality management; internal information technology (IT); SAP Labs

We Will Become Faster and More Agile

In recent years, SAP has become more and more of a global company and, for many years, has had development centers around the world. To succeed in the increasingly competitive market, we need to make even better use of the strengths of our global development centers. To draw greater benefit from the network of SAP Labs, diversity is the key word.

What does that mean in this context? Each location has its own advantages. Walldorf, for example, has a superb network of expertise. In Palo Alto, we have established excellent relations with other high-tech companies and thus a powerful partner ecosystem. Or look at Israel: When I was in Tel Aviv recently, I was impressed by the great entrepreneurial spirit of the people there. India, on the other hand, is the gateway to the world's largest talent pool. In the future, we will distribute the different development topics among the locations so that they can use their strengths optimally.

The most important aspects are the specific focal topics of each location and the clear assignment of responsibility for the different products to the various locations. In the past, we often set up virtual teams in which employees in many different locations had to work together. We primarily looked at the Labs in terms of resources. This meant that one particular topic was looked after in different locations. Now, we are bundling the topics and we want each location to have the necessary critical mass for its particular topics. That means that Walldorf will no longer be at the center of the development universe. Instead, each development center will be responsible for its own focal topics.

This strategy enables us to make better use of the different strengths we have around the world. The locations will be able to flourish with their diversity, which will result in collective innovation. We will become more agile and will be able to react faster to market requirements. Local empowerment will enable us to make decisions more quickly and boost employee satisfaction. In doing so, we will reinforce the sense of self-esteem among all SAP Labs. Locations will be able to play a better part in the network precisely because they will no longer function as if they were subcontractors. And new tasks will enable employees to test their personal limits. In this way, they can develop their talents and thus help SAP be a high-performance company.

So which focal topics will which locations be responsible in the future? To answer this question, let me use the example of the global hubs: Bangalore, Palo Alto, Tel Aviv, and Walldorf. One of Bangalore's priorities will be the development of service-enabled mySAP All-in-One. This will be the first time that a new product is developed mainly outside of Walldorf. Palo Alto is our hub for business innovation. Similarly, in Palo Alto we're going to drive the construction of the ecosystem we need for the success of our platform. The focus of our Lab in Israel will be the development of
SAP Business One, SAP NetWeaver Portal, and SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management. Our Israel location will also be dedicated to technical innovation. Finally, Walldorf will serve as the basis for most of our platform development, as well as large parts of mySAP Business Suite and SAP NetWeaver development. Walldorf will still be extremely important, as evidenced by the recruitment of 600 employees this year. The relocation of some topics will give employees in Walldorf the opportunity to work on new topics.

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