Sap: technological opportunities during the crisis

In this article we explore the technological engines that can be used in a healthy and profitable way by companies in Covid-19 time. Let’s find out in the words of Steve Tzikakis, President Sap Emea South.

Despite the pandemic, over time business and consumer confidence will return, supporting transformation and driving growth. A cause of force majeure like the Covid-19 can be the engine that drives transformation.

In January this year, I was on stage with Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of the legendary rock band Iron Maiden, at Sap’s regional kick-off event in Barcelona. We shared our expectations for 2020 and talked about how to turn customers into fans. We could never have imagined that three months later, the world would turn upside down. We witnessed the spread of a global pandemic along with the collapse in oil prices that completely disrupted the world. We had to get used to things like social distancing, uncontrolled buying driven by fear and country lockdowns; scenes you only expect to see in a blockbuster Hollywood movie.

Although we are living in a very different world, over time business and consumer confidence will return, supporting transformation and driving growth. Many people call it the perfect storm; I see enormous potential in the outcome of this shocking situation. A cause of force majeure like the Covid-19 can be the driving force behind transformation as in the past have been financial crises or other global events that have had a global impact. Companies are rethinking their business models, supply chains and changing their approaches to security, business continuity and remote working. Governments are pooling resources to learn more about the effects of the crisis and to cope with the catastrophe.

There has never been a better time to help our clients provide unique insights and ensure agility, control and execution capability, not only now, but also post-crisis. People will have to work and the flexible activities that facilitate change will grow. Companies that manage these situations effectively are often successful because they invest first in the most important customer segments and anticipate their behavior.

But how can a company like Sap become part of the global solution to the pandemic? To begin with, we are offering a range of free tools and technology platforms to customers (and anyone who needs them) to help them not only address pandemic issues, but also understand what opportunities the crisis will offer.

We are helping companies redesign their supply chains and find new sources of supply when existing ones break down. We’ve opened access to the Sap Ariba Discovery network so that any buyer can publish their immediate supply needs and any supplier can respond. Access today is free for requests, and it is free for answers. Using this network, a Sap customer who is building a new hospital in the US was able to find a supplier with 500 specific beds for a healthcare facility in less than 30 minutes.

We help managers check in with their employees. The world has become virtual overnight and any company hoping to continue operating anywhere at normal levels will need to make sure their workers are safe and healthy – and that doesn’t end the first week they’re home. We’ve seen a spike in the use of our Qualtrics Remote Work Pulse, which is totally free of charge and allows companies to capture the sentiment of the organisation since the beginning of the crisis. The mental well-being of employees must be at the heart of all companies.

In Italy, our pre-sales team developed a Dashboard to monitor the Coronavirus and offered it for free to customers, partners and communities. The Dashboard allows users to analyze in depth information about the spread of contagion, compared to the one included in the Johns Hopkins Csse Dashboard.
We support the next generation of professionals and users with our best digital education resources, providing students and experts with safe and valuable learning environments to virtually continue their education.

We offer free access to selected training courses for students in one of the 3,800 universities participating in the Sap University Alliances program, online courses that allow young university students to explore the technology, as well as well-known online courses (Mooc) that are open and available on the openSap platform.
Many companies are taking advantage of the “localization” feature included in Sap Concur software to locate employees who are stuck abroad. Although business travel has been abruptly interrupted, other business expenses monitored by Sap Concur confirm that business in China is slowly recovering.

Together with EY and Qualtrics, we are helping governments around the world who are at the forefront of managing the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes listening to and reporting on the emotions and moods of the community, monitoring and communicating on the progress of the virus, providing accurate information on its transmission and treatment, directing people to the right resources to help and communicating effectively with citizens in this blocked time.

Our vision to help the world function better and improve people’s lives has never been as important and relevant as it is now. Our people, our customers and our communities are our priority.

Together, we will succeed.