Insight on technology and life from SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott
I had the great fortune to host Bill McDermott (SAP’s Co-CEO) during his visit to Tuck this week. As the largest enterprise software firm on the planet, SAP faces many challenges and opportunities. Bill tackled hard student questions head-on with a warm, authentic personality that captivated the Tuck community. Here are my three takeaways:
As a standalone player focused purely on software, SAP is embracing it’s ecosystem of partners to make its offerings easier to implement and use. Starting with the costs to implement, SAP is working to reduce the typical 6:1 ratio of implementation to software cost. Bill noted that typical enterprise CIOs spend 80% of their budget just keeping the lights on. SAP would like to cut that in half, helping their customers’ focus more of their IT spend on innovative initiatives that drive business growth.
Looking ahead, SAP sees mobility as a game changer for enterprise systems and is focusing both development and M&A activity (think Sybase) to get there first.
On life, Bill reminded the students that passion is the key to success. He also told them not to be afraid of pain. Recounting how he preserved through a seemly bad career decision, he emerged from the “pain cave” with a stronger sense of self. “It is those painful experiences where you really learn who you are, what is important, and what you really care about.” Finally, he urged the students keep in mind that life and business leadership is a “short visit.” So “don’t just be great at the office – be great at home.”