Exclusive: Maggie Buggie, SVP and Global Head of Innovation Services and Solutions, SAP SE

Maggie Buggie

Innovation as been at the forefront of SAP news recently, and InsideSAP has been fortunate enough to attend several events hosted by SAP Innovation Services and Solutions. We were extremely lucky to reach Maggie Buggie, SVP and Global Head of Innovation Services and Solutions, SAP SE, with seven burning questions:

1. What is your feeling on the current culture of innovation in the ANZ / APJ regions?

Innovation is currently the hot topic on all our customers’ agendas. 

Innovation is everywhere. Companies of all sizes and from all industries are seeing the benefits of applying it to achieve their desired business outcomes and to create a human-centric, value-focused culture within their organisations – a culture of innovation.

I’m constantly so impressed by some of the innovations coming out of Australia, New Zealand and APJ. A number of incredible customer innovation examples that have really struck me include:

  • A state government in Australia that has built a culture of innovation within its organisation and is using machine learning and proof of concepts to better understand and predict the tax paying experience for citizens. 
  • In Singapore, we’ve seen a consortium of SE Asian palm oil producers, NGOs, customers and technology providers come together to look at how blockchain might be used to help regulate the palm oil industry. 
  • New Zealand’s largest company identified innovation as a key growth driver for its business and wanted to crowdsource innovation ideas from the people who know the business most intimately – its employees. Using technology and harnessing the ‘intrapreneurship’ of the organisation, it’s harnessing new ideas, lifting employee engagement and driving a culture of innovation. 

Finally, I’m so inspired by the pace of innovation within our own organisation in the region. For instance: the first SAP.iO Foundry in Asia was launched in August in Tokyo, followed by SAP’s first start-up accelerator in Singapore, SAP.iO Foundry Singapore. SAP ANZ hosted its first innovation experience event, e’ffect in August and the first partner-run SAP AppHaus in the region was launched in Australia earlier this year. 

This year, we’re celebrating the 30thanniversary of SAP in APJ and I’m so excited by what the future holds for our customers, as the pace of innovation continues.

2. How does SAP help customers drive innovation in their organisations? 

Innovation opportunities can be found across all organisations regardless of industry. But the one thing that all of our customers have in common is that they want to “make innovation real”. They want to use innovation as the catalyst for achieving real business value, business outcomes and better experiences for their customers.

As Innovation Services and Solutions, we help companies create and maximise business value through the use of intelligent technologies such as IoT, machine learning, AI, blockchain and advanced data analytics. We focus on collaboration with customers – from exploration and discovery through to design, delivery and running at scale – to create high-value, unique innovations that enable clients to transform their business, disrupt their industry and change their world. 

3. How does SAP work with the partner ecosystem to help customers innovate?

Our focus is to make our customers successful and put them at the centre of everything we do. We cannot achieve this at scale without our partner ecosystem. 

We embrace a partner-first approach that involves building and implementing tailored solutions for our customers, who are looking to achieve successful, company-wide transformation. It’s important to us and to our partners that the solutions we develop enable customers to achieve the greatest business value based on their individual priorities and desired business outcomes. Through our partners, our customers can tap into a huge pool of expertise and skills to help them effectively implement solutions within their organisations.  

Finally, we recognise our partners for their innovation and collaboration through global, regional and market unit specific award programmes, including the SAP Innovation Awards held at SAPPHIRE and the Partner Excellence Awards. Most recently in ANZ, SAP held its inaugural SAP ANZ Best Run Awards, which recognised the work of partners including DXC Oxygen, Presence of IT, Zag and Deloitte, who through successful implementations with TasNetworks, Fonterra, Auckland Council, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, RPC Technologies and Kāpura were able to transform their customers’ experiences, helping them gain a competitive advantage. 

SAP Global Head of Innovation Services and Solutions Maggie Buggie

4. Why is purpose-led innovation a priority for SAP? 

This year, SAP celebrated 10 years of embedding social and environmental sustainability into its long-term business strategy. At SAP, we help companies become best-run businesses and help the world run better. That is our purpose. We believe that businesses can only create real value by incorporating these global environmental and societal challenges into the way they run. The best-run businesses are those, that manage resources effectively, plan for resource scarcity, and view consumption as a circular process.

Early last year, we recognised the urgent call to action generated by the public outcry following shows like BBC Blue Planet 2. Given that our SAP systems touch 77% of the world’s transactions and that we have a portfolio of intelligent technologies we can employ, we realised we were in a position to act. We can only do this by working closely and collaborating with our customers and partners to solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental and societal challenges and trust.

Trust is the currency in today’s world and the best way to build trust is through action. Collective action. We like getting things done at SAP. We are makers, not talkers.

Some examples of initiatives that SAP are currently supporting are: 

  • SAP Plastics Challenge:In the UK, SAP gathered 170 change agents for The Plastics Cloud, where ideas and data on the plastics life cycle can be shared across the supply chain to initiate change. This initiative has now been extended to ANZ, where in August a number of individuals from academia, industry, NGOs and our customers came together to find local solutions to the global problem of plastic waste. 
  • SAP and Google Circular Economy Challenge:The Circular Economy 2030 Contest run earlier this year, set out to find the best revenue generating ideas that can unlock $4.5 trillion of new economic output. The contest received more than 200 applications from around the world and was looking at commercial concepts that could be scaled globally and help to design waste and pollution out, keep products and materials in use and/or regenerate natural systems. Topolytics was crowned champion of the contest and their live data platform maps the generation, movement and fate of industrial and commercial waste. 
  • SAP and Bumble Bee Foods Ocean to Table Initiative:Using SAP blockchain, the route of yellow fin tuna can be traced from the ocean through the value chain to the consumer via a QR code on the package.
  • SAP Social Sabbatical:SAP New Zealand’s Social Sabbatical, a pro-bono initiative, brings together SAP employee volunteers and customer volunteers to be matched with social enterprises who are at a stage of growth or in need of specialist skills and resources to overcome specific business challenges. Employees are then completely immersed in these organisations for two weeks to find solutions to these problems through innovation. 

5. How is emerging technology transforming society, industries, and organisations? 

Technology has always played a role in transforming society, industries, and companies, but that has never been truer than it is today.

Every industry is facing a re-writing of decades old established rules. Take, for instance, the advancements in the automotive industry, based on autonomous drive innovations and the emergence of subscription-based models, meaning that customers may no longer own cars in the future. This means a huge shift for automotive companies globally. Or take the fact that manufacturers everywhere now need to respond to new trends within weeks, rather than months and years, based on rapidly-changing consumer needs. 

What we knew a few years ago no longer applies, and no industry is safe from change.

As far as organisations go, emerging technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, advanced analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT), are transforming traditional business models and the way our customers’ businesses run. 

It’s an incredibly exciting time, full of opportunity to improve the way we live and to manage the resources we have at our disposal. What excites me most is the prospect of finding solutions to problems which can radically improve the lives of millions, and which help us create a better society for everyone. At SAP, our mission is to improve people’s lives, and we see technology (increasingly intelligent technology) as the key enabler for that.

6. Does SAP have a unique approach to innovation – what sets SAP apart and why should organisations consider SAP as a partner for innovation? 

SAP embraces design thinking, a dynamic and human-centric approach to solve our customers business challenges. The approach is simple: we put people at the centre of all of our engagements, focus on identifying real business problems and work to understand how we can leverage SAP products and technologies to develop solutions that customers will truly want and use. 

To foster this innovative thinking, we create dynamic spaces and bring together diverse perspectives from different disciplines and industries. 

The SAP AppHaus Network is a great example of this. The network is helping to humanise business software and delivers innovative solutions to real business problems that put the user experience at the heart of the process. We’re already seeing great enthusiasm from our customers to this collaborative approach, which engages customers, partners, designers and engineers.  

7. How can our readers in ANZ / APJ find out more?

We’re continuously working closely with our customer and partner networks within the region to develop innovative solutions that deliver greater value and help them succeed in the experience economy. If you have a business problem you’re looking to solve, please reach out to your local SAP team, your partner, or approach our SAP AppHaus Network to work together to solve your challenge.

The Best run SAP

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