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CIOs lead digital transformation in modern era: Mark Ferrer, SAP

Yogesh Gupta | June 29, 2016
Organizations demand more of cloud-like buying experience to move from capex to opex says Mark Ferrer, SAP.

Digital transformation is the next big wave for organizations.  SAP with its innovation both organically developed as well as acquired is right at the center of companies' digital transformation journey.  We are the only company bringing all the newer pieces around big data, IoT together to provide the innovative framework for the client's end-to-end digital transformation, saidMark Ferrer, COO and executive vice president, SAP Global Customer Operations. "The rapid change of technology is good for the consumer. But CMO or CIO have to get ahead of the pace of change because it is closely tied to company's performance than it has ever been, he told CIO India on an India visit.

How radical is the 'change of face' of the enterprise customers over the years? Has SAP tweaked its strategy accordingly?

 In a lot of ways. The buyer traditionally has been ERP buyer which was the CIO maybe the CFO. Today our buyers have evolved into LOB managers, CFOs, CMOs, CHROs. And interestingly we find more and more that heads of digital at companies directly reporting to the CEOs and not always through CFOs. It requires a different set of specialized skills at our end to speak to CHROs or CMOs or head of commerce. 

The buying behavior has altered too as modern customers' desire quick time to value and elastic pricing. Cloud from adoption perspective is exploding everywhere. Our cloud performance has been phenomenal particularly for a business as big as ours. Organizations today demand more of cloud-like buying experience to move from capex to an opex environment.

The days of two or three year implementations are over. Even if the company undergoes total refresh, they look for quick wins and often want to break the one big transformation project into multiple projects. SAP is constantly exploring ways to be better enabled with our clients and provide that buying experience. Because there is a new set of buyers and there is a new paradigm of buying pattern.

Doesn't this changed tech landscape places the CIOs on the back foot in their organisations?

Not at all.  Infact CIOs are the enablers bringing all the disparate pieces together and managing the data flow across them. The new-age CIOs are more business oriented than I have ever seen. And the working relationships between CIOs, CMOs and other LOBs has never been better. They no longer work in silos. In today's world it is much more of a collaborative relationship as all stakeholders view the business holistically.

Secondly C-suite executives are aware that CIOs today have acute business sense to facilitate them to run the business - uninterrupted and efficiently. The control has shifted back in a sense as CIO has a seat at the table to an equivalent level to LOB executives during their meeting with company's CEO.


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