Dare to Innovate

I just visited SAP’s event, which covered an interesting and hot topic (SAP HANA), but as always, half the “prize” on these occasions is meeting the customers and partners.

A popular topic in the hallway conversations was innovation. A worn out term, I admit, but at the same time very current, as it’s today in the heart of the political and economic debate – how to get Finland back on the competitive track. And that’s through innovation.

Innovations are created in all sorts of businesses, but I’m mostly interested in innovations in IT, or even more, business innovations made possible by IT. But are all the IT innovations happening in start-ups and in gaming industry, while all the big companies are solely focusing on cost savings and process efficiency when it comes to IT? ERP was an IT innovation of its kind a few decades ago and Finnish companies were riding the wave when it came to capitalizing on the opportunities it provided. Are we still riding the same wave that lost its peak already a while ago?

But how to drive those innovations in our field – the business IT? We need three players working together:  SAP, partners like us, and of course, our customers. We need tech companies like SAP to offer us the core technology as the platform for innovation. Companies like Bilot need to harvest on the opportunities SAP provides by developing new technology and solutions on top of the platform. And then we need courageous customers, who dare to try new things in order to transform the technological opportunities into business innovations with us.

I mentioned courageous customers. Courage is one of Bilot’s core values and it’s not just a word – it’s our true value. And we want our customers to be courageous, because we’re not alone in this business, but in the same boat with our customers. We’re successful, if our solutions at our customers are successful, and in the end, our customers’ businesses are successful. Therefore, I would want Bilot’s success to be measured in terms of how successful our customers are. And you can’t win unless you bet!

I like Gartner’s approach how to categorize IT assets and investments in business terms – how they provide value to business. There are solutions that either RUN, GROW or TRANSFORM your business. We want our customers to be courageous – not only budget money for RUNning IT to support the business – but also thinking ahead and sparing some room and resources for innovation. If you aim for bigger gains, you need to invest in IT that supports major business transformation in order to do things differently and before others – TRANSFORM.

We have our responsibility at Bilot as well. We can’t just deliver solutions that customers ask for, proven solutions to run current businesses. Instead, we need to be experts recognizing what are the major trends in the future of IT and which innovations are the game-changers. And we need to be the ones both choosing and leveraging those emerging innovations as well as building new ones. And we want to be the recognized leaders in this business!

We have worked hard on this – and as an indication that we’re on the right track – we received an award, the SAP innovation partner of the year 2012 in Finland. Hurray! But no, we’re not satisfied, as we’re just getting started and we’re hungrier than ever. We don’t aim for the prizes – they’re not a measure of our success – our customers’ success is the best measure for our success!

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Blog writer

Lauri Puolanne

Co-founder, Solution Architect