The German technology dedicated to the development of business software SAP has had to transform its operation to focus on the cloud modelfor which it has made an alliance with the largest providers of this service Google, Amazon y Microsoftand now seeks to focus on sustainability and the integration of artificial intelligence into business processes.
From the newly opened offices of SAP In the Chapultepec One skyscraper on Paseo de la Reforma, Ángela Gómez Aiza, president of SAP Mexicotalked with The Economist about the company’s performance during the technology investment boom that was experienced due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The board, which recently became the first woman to lead the Mexican Association of the Information Technology Industryalso spoke about the change in the investments of the companies of which SAP is a supplier in an environment marked by a possible economic recession and in which the Artificial intelligence It is positioned as the technological trend of 2023.
—We come from a pandemic stage in which companies began to redirect many of their investments towards technological infrastructure for the Home Office and also to be able to serve their customers remotely, how did SAP experience that stage and how is it coming out of it? ?
-We in SAP Mexico We are in a stage of important transformation. SAP It comes from being an on-premise company, that is, you bought your software licenses and bought separately or rented your servers, you managed them, but really you were the owner of your license. For several years now, we have moved to a cloud model, that is, you have a subscription to access our cloud services.
We have already officially announced 18 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth in revenue from cloud solutions and there have been two stages. Investments during the pandemic were highly focused on issues related to external customers, that is, consumers and internal customers, collaborators. All our related products ecommercecustomer relations, supply chains had double and triple digit growth during the pandemic, the same as those related to the experience of employees.
After the pandemic, companies continue to invest in technology, but they are doing so focused on what we call intelligent expense management, that is, on solutions that allow you to manage, for example, all your company’s travel expenses, the management of suppliers of both inputs and services. That’s been a major driver of growth in the most recent quarter, for example.
—Which are the industries in which you are seeing growth in the acquisition of enterprise software?
—The industry that grew the most in the first quarter was the travel industry, that is, transportation and travel. Estrella Blanca, a client for several years, decided to invest in a human resources solution for the management of its 80,000 collaborators. And almost always, in the results announcements we have the retail, consumer and retail industry, they are companies that have been investing a lot during the pandemic. We also had quarters in which the investments of the Automotive industry. Those are the three industries that have grown in the most recent two years.
—Supply chains were among the elements most affected by the pandemic, what were the needs of your customers in this regard?
—Our solutions that cover the supply chain are called Digital Supply Chain And I can tell you that within that portfolio, the most popular solution was demand planning, purchase planning, and production planning. Because I believe that the pandemic has taught us that Just in Time, which is a way of working, has shown that, in a scenario like the pandemic, it is not necessarily the ideal way. Because suddenly you worked with the Just in Time scheme and suddenly all the plants stopped, transport stopped and you ran out of raw materials. So, I could tell you that specifically from that portfolio, the solutions that grew the most were all those that help to plan and manage demand, production, and the purchase of inputs.
—As you mentioned, one of the trends during the pandemic was that companies realized that the cloud would have to be a fundamental element of their operation, what is next since many of these companies jumped on the wave of Cloud?
—I could tell you that today we see that of the investments that our clients have made, perhaps 70 or 75% are already accepting that the cloud is the best path. Perhaps there is still 25% who are still thinking about whether or not the cloud will be a good option, but I think it has already been demonstrated that for all issues, for example, cybersecurity, the cloud should be a priority.
For me, another of the great trends and not only at a global level, but I could tell you that in Latin America and at a local level, they are all issues related to sustainability. I believe that companies are increasingly aware that issues related to principles ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governmental) are a priority and we at SAP We began 10 years ago to build all issues related to sustainability into our solutions. One of the ESG principles is the issue of diversity, so both in supplier management solutions and in partner management solutions we have important indicators to see if your workforce is really diverse, as is your supply force. . In addition, we always say that we are not only doing it as a solution enabler, but also as an example, that is, we have a mission that we call Net Zero, which means that we are going to have zero inequalities in our workforce, zero emissions and zero waste.
Another topic that you will obviously know more about shortly is that related to artificial intelligence and here it is very important to mention that artificial intelligence for me is not only ChatGPT, but that natural language tools really have value when applied to a business solution, and SAP is ranked number three in technology companies globally that are using artificial intelligence and natural language applied to solve business problems. So let’s say that sustainability and artificial intelligence are the main trends and we basically already have them embedded in our solutions.
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