SAP to be the Apple of the business software world: McDermott

By Freya Purnell
15 August 2011

SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott’s vision for the company is to be the equivalent of Apple for business software – and its ability to innovate both internally and through the ecosystem is key to achieving this vision.

“I think the bottom line is that SAP needs to recognise that we can and will be the most innovative business software company in the world,” he told Inside SAP in an interview when he visited Australia last week for the SAP World Tour.

“By doing this well, in areas such as in-memory computing, mobility, the cloud, all leveraging the consistent core, there is no reason that SAP shouldn’t be considered the Apple of the business software industry in terms of its ability to innovate and delight customers with a user experience that’s unmatched in the industry,” McDermott said.

He said the ambitious strategy he hatched with fellow co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe was based on innovation, and that collaborating with the ecosystem was a key component.

“We really did that in openness with our ecosystem because we don’t believe that any one company can be all things to all people… We are going to bet everything we are and everything we do on innovation and we are not going to get distracted by others and their strategy,” McDermott said.

“This innovation of the future versus consolidation of the past was a defining factor in putting together the new SAP. Because we could be out there buying legacy companies, firing people, improving our margins on old tired technology, but that’s not going to move the needle. So we leave that strategy for someone else.”

McDermott also commented one of the biggest learnings for the SAP executive team over the last 12-18 months has been that customers are increasingly seeing the value of the consistent core as the basis for an integrated platform.  

Our full interview with Bill McDermott will appear in the Inside SAP Yearbook 2012 – subscribe now to receive your print copy.

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