'Unique opportunity' for LatAm firms to be more competitive post-pandemic – SAP

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, June 16, 2020
'Unique opportunity' for LatAm firms to be more competitive post-pandemic – SAP

SAP, the world's largest provider of corporate software, sees three main areas where businesses in Latin America have opportunities to accelerate in the post-COVID scenario: customer experience, supply chain modernization and workforce management. 

All of these are related to digital transformations and acceleration of digitization that are expected to be driven by the pandemic, according to SAP LatAm CEO Cláudio Muruzábal.

“I’m very positive about how we’re going to exit all of this. People discuss whether we’ll have a V-shaped, U-shaped or L-shaped recovery. Particularly, I believe that, from the moment we have clarity that the most serious problems [related to the infections] have been overcome, the exit will be much faster than we initially thought,” Muruzábal said in a press conferences with Latin American media outlets.

Muruzábal made his comments on Monday after his keynote speech at the company's annual Sapphire event, which was held entirely online this year.

According to Muruzábal, because enterprises in Latin America have great resilience and adaptability, they have a unique opportunity to become more competitive in the global economy after COVID-19.

Within the scope of customer experience, the opportunities available are mainly related to the operationalization of customer service via digital channels. As regards supply chains, Muruzábal said many companies are and will continue to need to reconfigure their factories and streamline logistics chains, while in terms of workforce management, monitoring and assessing increasingly remote manpower will be key in the "new normal".

On this particular front, Muruzábal cited the use of SAP's HR SuccessFactors platform for companies that need to train and form teams from different areas and mentioned Brazil's Petrobras among the use cases during the pandemic.

Asked by BNamericas how SAP's LatAm unit was planning to deal with work-from-home for his employees from now on, the executive said the company is still assessing the issue but pointed out that the workforce was ready to operate from wherever necessary.

He said 110,000 SAP employees and over 600 implementation and consulting projects in Latin America had switched to remote working in a matter of days after the pandemic began to spread.

In an interview with BNamericas in April, Muruzábal was already showing cautious optimism.

At the time, he highlighted a “very good” cloud performance in Brazil and the on-premise business in Mexico and Brazil during the first quarter, when the effects of the pandemic were only starting to be felt across the region.

“We've seen a huge increase in demand. Our S/4 Hana suite can be consumed in the cloud, on-premise, wherever the consumer needs. There’s a lot of movement towards recognizing that, aside from the aspects of automation and technology in business processes, you need a very strong core to run your business,” he said in the interview.

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