SAP's not-so-secret weapon: Its own CIO

By Thomas Wailgum , CIO |  IT Management, CIO role, IT management

Inside SAP, Bussmann's rising prominence has been a blessing for CTO and SAP board member Vishal Sikka, himself being elevated out of the carnage of Apotheker's departure.

"Oliver told me back in June that 'I want to be your first customer,'" recalls Sikka. "I had heard this before, so I said: 'Are you sure?' But this man is a machine. He is first or one of the first customers for all products done this year."

According to Sikka, the list includes: Duet, the joint SAP and Microsoft collaboration and data-access tool; HANA, SAP's in-memory computing engine; and running SAP's sales dashboard on iPads.

One pillar of SAP's three-pronged strategy is "on device"-enabling the availability of critical business information and analytics to employees running SAP software no matter where they are. Bussmann has responded and been at the forefront of a massive iPad deployment within SAP: more than 2,000 iPads-one of which even co-CEO Bill McDermott was spied using, according to Sikka.

Bussmann's profile has risen accordingly. Thomas Otter, a research director at Gartner, recently had this to say on Twitter: "SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann is probably SAP's best marketing resource, especially for the mobile strategy."

[ Read CIO.com's 7 Essential CIO Leadership Skills That Get Results ]

Identifying enterprise computing trends and how they might fit with SAP's strategy is significant piece of his duties, Bussmann says. For instance, SAP is ensuring that its software will run not only on iPads but also on RIM's Playbook tablet and Android-based devices in the future.

There is a great need for speed right now, Bussmann says."In other industries, you might wait and see what happens," he says. "But in a high-tech company, we need to be quick and fast." These types of first-mover tactics are not just CIO decisions made on a whim, however. "It's a joint implementation with the business folks," he says. "There has to be business value."


Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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