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Thought Leader…with Manos Raptopoulos, President of SAP EMEA South

The Coronavirus pandemic, followed by the invasion of Ukraine, rising energy costs, and instability in the banking sector, have all conspired to create an unpredictable, complicated world and, as a result, economic uncertainty.

To help partners identify where the opportunities lie in the current ‘pasta bowl’ recession*, SAP commissioned IDC to analyse the addressable market specifically for EMEA South. The results were bold: there is a €26billion addressable market up for grabs. And, while this isn’t exclusively available to SAP and its partners, it does, says Manos, provide a very good indication of the potential.

“It’s a massive opportunity, and there’s no way SAP can cover that opportunity on our own. We need our partners,” he says.

The question is how. How do partners overcome the challenges currently facing their customers in an ever-changing landscape?

“In times like these, companies go back to the fundamentals,” he explains. “They look at how to manage cash flow, how to optimise their supply chains, how to deliver the best possible customer experience, how to optimise their cost base. When the world is complicated, it gives us all the opportunity to address those challenges with our customers.

“What’s more, our relevance increases. During challenging times, SAP and its partners have always been able to perform and outperform the competition, and so I believe this is exciting for SAP and our ecosystem.”

As part of the same IDC study, more than 100 chief executive officers and chief information officers were interviewed from a variety of industries. Two key learnings came from those conversations. Firstly, the word that’s top of mind for CEOs is ‘technology’ – in terms of the wider impact that technology can have on the efficiency of their business – and, for CIOs, interestingly, the word was ‘efficient’.

In turbulent times, decisions around what to keep, what optimises costs, and what to drop must be made. Therefore, says Manos, the return on investment – which is always relevant – becomes vital.

“I think we can connect the dots between the role that technology plays – and it’s ever-important role in making sure companies navigate through any type of turbulent period like the one we have now – and how the fundamentals come into play.

“Our role at SAP and the ecosystem is actually to make sure we deliver tangible outcomes, predictable, shorter projects, and shorter time to value for our customers.”

In terms of how the current economic landscape compares to five years ago, Manos is clear: “When times are good, there’s more available to spend and, usually, companies are more willing to invest in innovation. But, in times like we’re experiencing now, customers want solutions that they know they can trust and then accelerate their business based on solid ground.”

Watch interviews with Manos Raptopoulos here:

The €26bn addressable market: Click here

The challenge and the opportunity: Click here

What is a “Pasta Bowl” Recession?

The term pasta bowl recession was coined by a US economist to describe the current period of market instability and inflationary pressure on either side of the Atlantic.

“It means a recession that has the shape of a pasta bowl, which means it’s not very deep, but it’s relatively long,” explains Manos.