Soccer, Life & SAP Innovation.

Over half of the world’s population – that would be more than 3.5 Billion people – is expected to tune into the 2014 World Cup before it concludes in a few weeks. They will watch on TV, listen on radio, or check in via YouTube on shared screens or mobile devices in the far reaches of every continent. An incredible showing for a sport that barely registers in the world’s two most populous countries of India and China. It is a sport that lags behind baseball, football (American), basketball and ice hockey in the USA.  Events like the World Cup however have the opportunity to change perspectives and build enthusiasm for the sport.  There is already a considerable presence in youth leagues throughout the country, owing largely to the low cost to participate.  Soccer stars like Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey offer names and faces to emulate. I have heard the comment often in the USA that watching soccer is boring, although I have heard that same label offered up while in the midst of a particularly engaging discussion on SAP process optimization too, so who am I to judge?  While playing soccer is better than watching, coaching can be just as energizing.  Imagine trying to convince a group of 7 year olds that they should not automatically chase the ball wherever it goes like a beehive, but let teamwork perform its magic.  I have fond memories of coaching both my son and my daughter in their early soccer careers.  After explaining the basics of kicking the ball to my daughter’s kindergarten team I asked if there were any questions.  One little blonde girl stuck up her hand enthusiastically and asked; “Where do babies come from?” So, baby-making aside, why does soccer matter to the SAP ecosystem?  First and foremost, it is a sport that prohibits the use of your hands.  Expect the next big nexus from SAP to be the evolution from cloud and mobile to a hands-free, augmentative type of user experience.  I happen to know someone who is exceptionally adept at deriving acronyms that may or may not be useful marketing communication aides, and his best attempt was HFUX.  GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!! The astronomical audience numbers aside, there is unfortunately little need for big data management when shots on goal and actual scoring statistics number in the single digits.  This is not a barrier for SAP however, with the new HANA CHIP they have implanted in each of the players.  A quick pin-prick injection of the micro-micro-micro chip delivers macro data output, and voila, a more exacting calculation of exactly how many kilometers any given player covers during the game.  While this fulfills the need to provide greater statistical evaluations via HANA, it does not address the rather arbitrary extra-time calculations.  The world’s premier software company can only do so much. The relatively straightforward rules of soccer were rumored to have been the model for SAP’s latest Run Simple initiative.  Notable exceptions of course exist – such as for offside derivations and what constitutes an actual leg injury.  These similarities exist in our work-a-day world as well, where we are forced to deal with complex audit exceptions and other statutory requirements of doing business in say, Italy (futbol haven).  But simple is as simple does, I suppose. Yes, the SAP ecosystem benefits from soccer in innovation as well as camaraderie.  It is something most of us can relate to with ease, where we can find inspiration and perhaps a little respite from our daily toils.  FIFA estimates there are more than 300 million soccer players worldwide, so from a purely marketing perspective that is notable.  And as one of my favorite World Cup commercials indicates, futbol is an integral part of all aspects of life.  (Hyundai #BecauseFutbol)  Just solicit questions from kindergartners on the soccer pitch and discover for yourself.  

Soccer, Life & SAP Innovation.

Over half of the world’s population – that would be more than 3.5 Billion people – is expected to tune into the 2014 World Cup before it concludes in a few weeks. They will watch on TV, listen on radio, or check in via YouTube on shared screens or mobile devices in the far reaches of every continent. An incredible showing for a sport that barely registers in the world’s two most populous countries of India and China.[Continue Reading]