The UGBA193i travel study course is a result of much time and dedication from class instructor, Professor Solomon Darwin; Haas faculty, Erika Walker and Dean Rich Lyons; and the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation director, Henry Chesbrough and staff, Anita Stephens. Nonetheless, it would also never have come to fruition without the financial support of major sponsors like SAP.
SAP is a market and technology leader in client/server enterprise application software, providing solutions for companies of all sizes and all industry sectors. It is a German multinational corporation founded in 1972 and has been a Berkeley Innovation Forum member since BIF program was introduced by the Garwood Center at Haas in 2006.
The company provided the 30 seater air-conditioned shuttle that the Haas group used for twelve days—from the time the students arrived at the airport until they left; saving Haas $15,000 worth of service expenses.
On January 7, 2014, the Haas students finally had the opportunity to meet their generous sponsor at SAP’s Research and Development Center in Bangalore. At SAP Labs, the Haas group was welcomed by Haas Alum and Managing Director of SAP Labs India, Anirban (Andy) Dey. Dey introduced the students to a brief overview of SAP’s history and operations, as well as their current innovative products and services for both India and the global market today.
Since SAP is a German company, Mr. Dey spoke of the difference between the German and American definitions of innovation. He also shared SAP’s general business statistics, and discussed the company’s recent innovations in Hana. Understanding that his audience, as juniors and seniors at Haas, would be most concerned about employment prospects, Dey talked about the types of people they would hire as well. In accordance to this, SAP also continually aims to create a healthy and productive workspace for employees.
A new innovative program Dey was proud of is a pilot project that helps SAP recognize customer needs better while building better products and services packages. In this program, someone on the consumer end of the transactions would be working with SAP employees to generate product ideas. Because ultimately, it is the customer who will be utilizing the SAP’s offerings.
Another significant topic he communicated to the group was SAP’s methods and processes for innovating a product. For a product to sell, Dey explains that it has to be feasible, viable, and desirable; and SAP does all in its power to ensure they produce a good that is just that.
Next to give a talk to the students was SAP’s Vice President and Initiative Lead, Abhijit De. De shared a bit about his personal history: his childhood in Uganda, his travels around the world, and what he does currently as an executive at SAP. He then gave the students a summary of one of SAP’s biggest innovations yet: Ganges. Ganges is a piece of software that consolidates everything into an integrated network. This allows the business that uses it to see updates in real time on advertising and whether or not a certain advertisement is working better than others.
To strengthen this point, he showed a video explaining one small business’s experience with this product and the Ganges’s features that assist and make managing operations much easier for the business owner. Despite these innovations however, De acknowledges that SAP is still developing more frugal ways to serve its local consumers due to the many technical challenges with electricity, Internet, general technology, and infrastructure that Indian residents face daily.
The Haas students were very impressed with the knowledge and dedication that went into the company, as well as SAP’s yearning for further enhancing innovations and customer service. SAP’s continued partnership with the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation and the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley is evidence of SAP’s commitment to support and deliver the highest levels of product and service innovations to its customers and clients.
Class of 2014