Q&A with Tom Raftery, Global VP at SAP

Q&A with Tom Raftery, Global VP at SAP
Tom Raftery, Global VP at SAP is an Innovation Evangelist, Futurist, and international Keynote speaker. Prior to joining SAP, Tom worked for a number of companies at Group IT Manager/CTO level, and as an Industry Analyst. Tom is a global thought leader and ranks among the top 10 Internet of Things influencers in the world. 

MEDIA 7: If I were to say to a bunch of people who know you, ‘Give me three adjectives that best describe you’, what would I hear?
TOM RAFTERY: 
I would like to think that I am a good communicator, maybe smart and hopefully generous. You will have to ask people other than myself though. They would be a better judge.

M7: What is the role of a technology influencer in driving environmental sustainability?
TR: 
The role of someone like me would be to raise awareness of the issues that are happening and potential solutions to them, particularly technological solutions. A lot of people are busy in their day-to-day lives and they might not be aware of some of the more pressing environmental issues that are happening in the world and that might impact them. So, raising awareness with people, of the importance of these issues, and the potential technological solutions to them is the role I think that influencers should be playing.


"Raising awareness with people, of the importance of environmental issues, and the potential technological solutions to them is the role that influencers should be playing."

M7: SAP is celebrating the 10th anniversary of strategic sustainability this year. What are the initiatives being taken by the company to help the world run better and achieve the UN sustainable development goals by 2030?
TR:
We are involved in a lot of different projects in this front. We work for example, with Vestas Wind Systems who are the only global energy company dedicated exclusively to wind energy. We help them with their backend systems to help optimize the delivery of windfarms and turbines to windfarms, so that they are keeping their costs down and deploying the windfarms with the highest efficiency. We work with Munich Re and the European Space Agency. Munich Re are one of the largest reinsurance companies in the world and for them, they need to predict, and try and mitigate the damage of natural disasters. We use data from European Space Agency to help Munich Re do that.

We work with Brazilian company, Stara who are an agricultural company. They manufacture agricultural equipment, and the work we do with them is what’s called precision agriculture. Precision agriculture means that we can help their machines be far more precise in things like spreading fertilizers, spreading seeds to make sure that the seeds don’t overlap, the fertilizer doesn’t overlap and you’re doing it row by row. You have to sow the seeds and spread the fertilizer very accurately to avoid an overlap. Because if you have overlap with fertilizer, it can reach toxic levels and damage the plants that you are trying to help. If you have overlap in seeds, you can have excess competition between the seeds and then you get reduction in yield. Whereas if you are optimizing using precision agriculture, you are massively reducing your inputs and you are maximizing your outputs. So, you are able to feed more people with less land and less resources which obviously, as we are reaching higher population levels year-on-year, this becomes more and more important.

We work with NGOs like this one in Africa, called Elephants, Rhinos and People which was founded to preserve and protect the wild elephants and rhinos in Southern Africa. We work with local people to make sure that it’s more profitable for them to protect wildlife than it is to be poaching wildlife. We put collars on elephants and rhinos with geo-tracking in them. We use drones, to track the elephants and rhinos and if they start approaching borders of the parks that might expose them more to poaching. We send off alerts and help move them back into places where they are safer. Since we started the initiative in that area, no elephants rhinos, or humans have been harmed since the deployment of the tracking.

We work with Swiss Federal Railways, the largest energy consumer in Switzerland and they are also an energy producer - they produce electricity. So, we work with them to help reduce the peak loads, the peak demand for electricity by flattening their load which then means, they don’t need to build extra generation plants, reducing their carbon footprint and making their organization more efficient.


"Making our workforce aware of what we are doing as our external constituents is important for our employees to feel engaged and part of something important."

M7: You have been on the SmartCitiesWorld Advisory Board. How does SmartCitiesWorld help in developing smart cities of the future?
TR:
The SmartCitiesWorld is a publication. It raises awareness of smart cities initiatives that cities can take to make the cities run better, reduce their energy requirements, reduce their footprint, increase their air quality, reduce noise pollution, and lots of different initiatives like that. So, as a publication, it’s primarily responsible for raising awareness and helping cities find better ways to increase quality of life for their constituents.

M7: How does SAP embrace an innovative culture in the company?
TR:
Obviously, as a technology company it is very important for SAP to embrace an innovative culture in the company and what the company typically does is, it spends a lot of money on research and development and it does a lot of communication internally and externally highlighting the innovative solutions that we have come up with for our customers. And making our workforce aware of what we are doing as our external constituents because it’s important for our employees to feel engaged and part of something important. And as a consequence, every time, every year, we run this survey internally on how happy our employees are working for SAP. And our rate of employee retention is extremely high.

It’s not unusual in Europe to talk to SAP employees who have been working for the company for 10 or more years, which in the technology industry is unusual. So, that’s how we embrace the innovative culture and we talk of the things that we do, we work closely also with our customers because we do a lot of co-innovation projects with our customers where we take our customers into our co-innovation centers and we talk through their problems with them and come up with innovative ways to solve any particularly gnarly issues that they might have.


"A lot of people are busy in their day-to-day lives and they might not be aware of some of the more pressing environmental issues that are happening in the world and that might impact them."

M7: What is your favorite part of working at SAP?
TR:
I started working for SAP in September 2016, so it’s just over 3 years ago now. And, prior to working with SAP, I had worked primarily with startups and small companies. I have never worked with a global mega vendor before. So, I was wondering what it would be like and I had my doubts, and if you would ask me in 2016, I would have said, “Yeah, I’ll probably last about three months with SAP”. But, three years later, here I am. And, a lot of that is down to the fact that the company is so big, and it has close to 100,000 employees, it means there are always people I can approach, if I need help in any country or in any industry. Because my role is across industry. So, if I need to talk to somebody who is in the transportation industry, I can just go straight to the transportation business unit and talk to people there. If I need to talk to people in the hospitality industry, same story. If I need to talk to people in the airline industry, the mining industry, the electricity industry, we cover all industries, we cover all regions globally. And, there’s a culture within SAP of helpfulness which is great. Apparently, it’s unusual. For me, it’s the norm if people bring up and ask me for help, I would say, “Yeah sure, absolutely, no problem.” And that’s the way most people in SAP are! You pick up the phone or send an email, and they are happy to help, no matter what. Apparently, that’s not the norm for big companies, but it is the norm for SAP which is great and that’s why I love working for SAP.  

M7: When did you start working, how old were you, and what was it?
TR:
My first job was when I was 14. I worked on a building site where I was a builder’s mate, helping raise the scaffolding on the building and also help ferry bricks that were delivered to the site from the ground up to the brick layers on the top floor. So, that was my first job.

ABOUT SAP

SAP is a global software application vendor. SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables our customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improves people’s lives.

More THOUGHT LEADERS

‘Entirety of capital markets shifts from legacy rails to blockchains,’ says Graeme Moore

Media 7 | October 25, 2023

Graeme Moore is the Head of Tokenization at the Polymesh Association, a not-for-profit dedicated to the growth of the Polymesh blockchain ecosystem. He is also the author of B is for Bitcoin, the first ever ABC book about Bitcoin. Read on to know more about his ideas of tokenization. ...

Read More

'Crypto trading will only get bigger from here,' says Simon Grunfeld

Media 7 | May 24, 2022

Simon Grunfeld, VP of Crypto at SIMBA Chain talks about solution to provide secure messaging in the blockchain for the DoD, new launches, white-label NFT marketplaces, go to strategy’s, etc. Read on to learn more about SIMBA Chain’s token-driven ecosystem....

Read More

Q&A with Ovwighose Kate, Head of Marketing and Growth Lead at Peexoo Technologies

Media 7 | September 24, 2021

Ovwighose Kate, Head of Marketing and Growth Lead at Peexoo Technologies, has extensive knowledge of marketing. She helps startups get exponential growth through growth hacking, effective marketing and product strategies. She has worked with different startups over the years and has seen amazing results....

Read More

‘Entirety of capital markets shifts from legacy rails to blockchains,’ says Graeme Moore

Media 7 | October 25, 2023

Graeme Moore is the Head of Tokenization at the Polymesh Association, a not-for-profit dedicated to the growth of the Polymesh blockchain ecosystem. He is also the author of B is for Bitcoin, the first ever ABC book about Bitcoin. Read on to know more about his ideas of tokenization. ...

Read More

'Crypto trading will only get bigger from here,' says Simon Grunfeld

Media 7 | May 24, 2022

Simon Grunfeld, VP of Crypto at SIMBA Chain talks about solution to provide secure messaging in the blockchain for the DoD, new launches, white-label NFT marketplaces, go to strategy’s, etc. Read on to learn more about SIMBA Chain’s token-driven ecosystem....

Read More

Q&A with Ovwighose Kate, Head of Marketing and Growth Lead at Peexoo Technologies

Media 7 | September 24, 2021

Ovwighose Kate, Head of Marketing and Growth Lead at Peexoo Technologies, has extensive knowledge of marketing. She helps startups get exponential growth through growth hacking, effective marketing and product strategies. She has worked with different startups over the years and has seen amazing results....

Read More

Related News

TECHNOLOGY

Zapier launches an all-in-one automation platform to transform operations at more than 600,000 businesses

PR Newswire | January 26, 2024

Today, Zapier, the #1 workflow automation platform for small and midsize businesses, announced the addition of two new products to its platform—Zapier Tables and Zapier Interfaces. Comprised of a suite of no-code tools, including advanced workflow logic, a database tool, and a no-code app builder, Zapier's automation platform empowers companies to modernize workflows and build tailored, complete, and reliable solutions, all without the need for a developer. "When you think of Zapier, you may think of us as an app-to-app integration and basic workflows, but with the Zapier automation platform, we're so much more," says Zapier CEO and co-founder Wade Foster. "With Tables, Interfaces, and Zaps, our customers have a custom and complete workflow builder that can scale to solve any problem." The Zapier automation platform offers customers a full suite of no-code automation tools, allowing users to connect more than 6,000 apps. This expansive integration library allows businesses to create workflows that connect all the tools they already use, streamlining operations and increasing productivity. Customers like Dan Dorato-Hankins, CTO of Vector Media, the largest transit ad company in the US, are leveraging Zapier's new tools to optimize operations. With Zapier Tables, Dan built a complete and customized workflow that automated much of the company's new employee onboarding all within Zapier. "For me, Zapier was originally the glue to hold all of the pieces together. Now, with new releases like Tables and Interfaces, Zapier is transforming into the whole toolbox," says Dan. By providing customers with new tools and an intuitive interface, the Zapier automation platform allows customers to unify logins, cut costs, and streamline operations with interfaces, workflows, and data storage all on a single platform. With its user-friendly design, no-code automation tools, and library of templates, combining Tables and Interfaces enables businesses to build custom, flexible, and reliable workflows, empowering them to grow and succeed. About Zapier: Founded in 2011, Zapier is the #1 workflow automation platform for small and midsize businesses. By connecting more than 6,000 of the most popular work apps, Zapier empowers its users to make the most of the tools they already use—and to focus on what matters most.

Read More

FINANCE

vcita Data Reveals: 67% of SMBs on Edge About Economic Challenges in 2024

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

According to new data revealed today by vcita, the business management platform for SMBs and the organizations that serve them, economic factors are dominating the concerns of SMBs in the new year, with 67% of SMBs citing the financial elements of their business to be their biggest worry. These findings underscore the pivotal role financial stability, and the technology that secures it, plays for small and medium-sized businesses navigating the business landscape in 2024. As SMBs brace themselves for the challenges of 2024, economic elements loom large on their horizon. Cash flow, deemed a pressing concern by 25% of SMBs, stands alongside the equal worry of attracting new clients. Moreover, rising inflation is weighing on small business owners, with 17% citing it as a major concern. Reflecting this sentiment, they have an increasing demand for comprehensive financial tools, which have proven to be major contributors in the development of financial resilience and healthy cash flow management, with 38% expressing a preference for an all-in-one digital solution that encompasses billing, invoicing, payments, and accounting reports. In fact, 49% of SMBs are already using digital tools to automate the financial elements of their business. In addition, 31% of SMBs have indicated early adoption of AI technology, leveraging AI applications to gain insights and generate content for marketing and client communication. These statistics emphasize the growing reliance of SMBs on digital solutions to navigate the complex business terrain ahead. "As economic headwinds intensify, the need for reliable digital tools becomes paramount for sustaining business resilience," said Itzik Levy, CEO and Founder of vcita. "SMBs are increasingly embracing digital solutions and recognizing the critical role they play in ensuring their adaptability and continued success in an ever-evolving market. We have been supporting the SMB community with digital solutions for over a decade, and are committed to continue expanding our platform, including the incorporation of AI technology, to facilitate the growing needs of the SMB segment." In terms of willingness to spend their hard-earned dollars on these digital tools, 72% of SMBs are already spending a minimum of 1200 USD per year on digital tools with 58% spending between 1200-6000 USD every year. This highlights how SMBs are leveraging digital innovations as a means of navigating the complexities posed by business and financial uncertainties. Additional findings include: The State of AI: 31% of SMBs are already using AI in their business operations. For the 69% who are not using AI in their business, the main reasons are that they don't feel it would help their business (31%) and that they don't understand how to use AI (30%). The SMBs that are using AI saw a multitude of uses for the technology in their businesses from helping with pricing services and products based on competition (20%), to writing email and SMS campaigns (18%), to following up with clients (16%). Multiple Digital Tools: As SMBs continue to navigate the intricate landscape of digital tools, a prevailing trend emerges – reliance on multiple tools to manage diverse business needs. 79% of SMBs are utilizing two or more digital tools, with a notable 13% juggling five or more tools to efficiently operate their ventures. However, amidst this multiplicity, there's a resounding desire for consolidation, with 90% of SMBs expressing interest in combining all the capabilities of their digital tools into just one tool. Peer Recommendations Key: When it comes to choosing these tools, SMBs heavily rely on peer recommendations, with 49% valuing word of mouth from friends and fellow business owners. Google reviews also hold sway, influencing the decisions of 23% of SMBs seeking reliable digital solutions. About vcita vcita is an SMB tech company dedicated to helping small and medium businesses thrive in today's digital world by providing them with the tools to manage and grow their business. With vcita's solution, small businesses can manage all aspects of their day-to-day operations and client engagement including scheduling, billing, payment collection, client management, email and SMS marketing. inTandem by vcita is a platform designed to serve the needs of SMB service providers, offering a customizable, white-label, platform that allows organizations that serve SMBs to bring their clients all the essential vcita tools under their own brand. With inTandem, partners can deliver great service and value to their SMB customers and unlock new revenue streams, reduce churn, and increase customer loyalty. With hundreds of thousands of small business users worldwide and partnerships including marketing agencies, banks, financial service providers, telcos, MSPs, and fintechs, vcita delivers an innovative digital solution uniquely designed to serve the needs of SMBs and the companies that support them.

Read More

TECHNOLOGY

When I Work Launches Payroll to Revolutionize Workforce Management for Small Businesses

PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

When I Work, a market leader in shift-based workforce management software used by more than 200,000 workplaces worldwide, is excited to announce its new product, When I Work Payroll. When I Work Payroll is designed to make it incredibly easy for small businesses to run payroll. Because the employee schedule and time tracking data are on the same platform with payroll, businesses can pay their hourly workers quickly, with a single click. There's no data entry or uploading timesheets, so there's less chance for errors, letting small business owners spend time on their customers, instead of being stuck in the back office. "It's been great to have all of our scheduling and payroll information in one place. We don't have to verify numbers in two places anymore—we're able to verify and run payroll in 10 minutes now," said Tim Hogg, owner of Tressia, a popular North Carolina restaurant. Payroll from When I Work is comprehensive. Your employees track their time by clocking in and out of the mobile app and our payroll software calculates all the data in real time, including hours, breaks, overtime, and paid time off. When I Work automates payments and tax filings to make everything transparent. Employees can update their own payroll forms and personal information through the app. The system automatically handles taxes and sends direct deposits. When I Work also files your payroll taxes with the IRS. "We consistently hear stories from small business owners about the countless hours they spend manually syncing and reconciling errors between systems," said Kavitha Radhakrishnan, Chief Product Officer at When I Work. "Our customers want an easier alternative to legacy payroll software, and they have a long history of trust with us, so we created Payroll for them. Now our small business customers can focus their valuable time on what they do best—building their teams and running their business." About When I Work When I Work is a market leader in shift-based workforce management software and delivers a powerful, employee-first experience that creates happier and more productive teams. Trusted by more than 200,000 workplaces worldwide, When I Work puts scheduling and collaboration at the center of workplace operations and brings empathy, agility, and consumer simplicity to the small business workplace.

Read More

TECHNOLOGY

Zapier launches an all-in-one automation platform to transform operations at more than 600,000 businesses

PR Newswire | January 26, 2024

Today, Zapier, the #1 workflow automation platform for small and midsize businesses, announced the addition of two new products to its platform—Zapier Tables and Zapier Interfaces. Comprised of a suite of no-code tools, including advanced workflow logic, a database tool, and a no-code app builder, Zapier's automation platform empowers companies to modernize workflows and build tailored, complete, and reliable solutions, all without the need for a developer. "When you think of Zapier, you may think of us as an app-to-app integration and basic workflows, but with the Zapier automation platform, we're so much more," says Zapier CEO and co-founder Wade Foster. "With Tables, Interfaces, and Zaps, our customers have a custom and complete workflow builder that can scale to solve any problem." The Zapier automation platform offers customers a full suite of no-code automation tools, allowing users to connect more than 6,000 apps. This expansive integration library allows businesses to create workflows that connect all the tools they already use, streamlining operations and increasing productivity. Customers like Dan Dorato-Hankins, CTO of Vector Media, the largest transit ad company in the US, are leveraging Zapier's new tools to optimize operations. With Zapier Tables, Dan built a complete and customized workflow that automated much of the company's new employee onboarding all within Zapier. "For me, Zapier was originally the glue to hold all of the pieces together. Now, with new releases like Tables and Interfaces, Zapier is transforming into the whole toolbox," says Dan. By providing customers with new tools and an intuitive interface, the Zapier automation platform allows customers to unify logins, cut costs, and streamline operations with interfaces, workflows, and data storage all on a single platform. With its user-friendly design, no-code automation tools, and library of templates, combining Tables and Interfaces enables businesses to build custom, flexible, and reliable workflows, empowering them to grow and succeed. About Zapier: Founded in 2011, Zapier is the #1 workflow automation platform for small and midsize businesses. By connecting more than 6,000 of the most popular work apps, Zapier empowers its users to make the most of the tools they already use—and to focus on what matters most.

Read More

FINANCE

vcita Data Reveals: 67% of SMBs on Edge About Economic Challenges in 2024

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

According to new data revealed today by vcita, the business management platform for SMBs and the organizations that serve them, economic factors are dominating the concerns of SMBs in the new year, with 67% of SMBs citing the financial elements of their business to be their biggest worry. These findings underscore the pivotal role financial stability, and the technology that secures it, plays for small and medium-sized businesses navigating the business landscape in 2024. As SMBs brace themselves for the challenges of 2024, economic elements loom large on their horizon. Cash flow, deemed a pressing concern by 25% of SMBs, stands alongside the equal worry of attracting new clients. Moreover, rising inflation is weighing on small business owners, with 17% citing it as a major concern. Reflecting this sentiment, they have an increasing demand for comprehensive financial tools, which have proven to be major contributors in the development of financial resilience and healthy cash flow management, with 38% expressing a preference for an all-in-one digital solution that encompasses billing, invoicing, payments, and accounting reports. In fact, 49% of SMBs are already using digital tools to automate the financial elements of their business. In addition, 31% of SMBs have indicated early adoption of AI technology, leveraging AI applications to gain insights and generate content for marketing and client communication. These statistics emphasize the growing reliance of SMBs on digital solutions to navigate the complex business terrain ahead. "As economic headwinds intensify, the need for reliable digital tools becomes paramount for sustaining business resilience," said Itzik Levy, CEO and Founder of vcita. "SMBs are increasingly embracing digital solutions and recognizing the critical role they play in ensuring their adaptability and continued success in an ever-evolving market. We have been supporting the SMB community with digital solutions for over a decade, and are committed to continue expanding our platform, including the incorporation of AI technology, to facilitate the growing needs of the SMB segment." In terms of willingness to spend their hard-earned dollars on these digital tools, 72% of SMBs are already spending a minimum of 1200 USD per year on digital tools with 58% spending between 1200-6000 USD every year. This highlights how SMBs are leveraging digital innovations as a means of navigating the complexities posed by business and financial uncertainties. Additional findings include: The State of AI: 31% of SMBs are already using AI in their business operations. For the 69% who are not using AI in their business, the main reasons are that they don't feel it would help their business (31%) and that they don't understand how to use AI (30%). The SMBs that are using AI saw a multitude of uses for the technology in their businesses from helping with pricing services and products based on competition (20%), to writing email and SMS campaigns (18%), to following up with clients (16%). Multiple Digital Tools: As SMBs continue to navigate the intricate landscape of digital tools, a prevailing trend emerges – reliance on multiple tools to manage diverse business needs. 79% of SMBs are utilizing two or more digital tools, with a notable 13% juggling five or more tools to efficiently operate their ventures. However, amidst this multiplicity, there's a resounding desire for consolidation, with 90% of SMBs expressing interest in combining all the capabilities of their digital tools into just one tool. Peer Recommendations Key: When it comes to choosing these tools, SMBs heavily rely on peer recommendations, with 49% valuing word of mouth from friends and fellow business owners. Google reviews also hold sway, influencing the decisions of 23% of SMBs seeking reliable digital solutions. About vcita vcita is an SMB tech company dedicated to helping small and medium businesses thrive in today's digital world by providing them with the tools to manage and grow their business. With vcita's solution, small businesses can manage all aspects of their day-to-day operations and client engagement including scheduling, billing, payment collection, client management, email and SMS marketing. inTandem by vcita is a platform designed to serve the needs of SMB service providers, offering a customizable, white-label, platform that allows organizations that serve SMBs to bring their clients all the essential vcita tools under their own brand. With inTandem, partners can deliver great service and value to their SMB customers and unlock new revenue streams, reduce churn, and increase customer loyalty. With hundreds of thousands of small business users worldwide and partnerships including marketing agencies, banks, financial service providers, telcos, MSPs, and fintechs, vcita delivers an innovative digital solution uniquely designed to serve the needs of SMBs and the companies that support them.

Read More

TECHNOLOGY

When I Work Launches Payroll to Revolutionize Workforce Management for Small Businesses

PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

When I Work, a market leader in shift-based workforce management software used by more than 200,000 workplaces worldwide, is excited to announce its new product, When I Work Payroll. When I Work Payroll is designed to make it incredibly easy for small businesses to run payroll. Because the employee schedule and time tracking data are on the same platform with payroll, businesses can pay their hourly workers quickly, with a single click. There's no data entry or uploading timesheets, so there's less chance for errors, letting small business owners spend time on their customers, instead of being stuck in the back office. "It's been great to have all of our scheduling and payroll information in one place. We don't have to verify numbers in two places anymore—we're able to verify and run payroll in 10 minutes now," said Tim Hogg, owner of Tressia, a popular North Carolina restaurant. Payroll from When I Work is comprehensive. Your employees track their time by clocking in and out of the mobile app and our payroll software calculates all the data in real time, including hours, breaks, overtime, and paid time off. When I Work automates payments and tax filings to make everything transparent. Employees can update their own payroll forms and personal information through the app. The system automatically handles taxes and sends direct deposits. When I Work also files your payroll taxes with the IRS. "We consistently hear stories from small business owners about the countless hours they spend manually syncing and reconciling errors between systems," said Kavitha Radhakrishnan, Chief Product Officer at When I Work. "Our customers want an easier alternative to legacy payroll software, and they have a long history of trust with us, so we created Payroll for them. Now our small business customers can focus their valuable time on what they do best—building their teams and running their business." About When I Work When I Work is a market leader in shift-based workforce management software and delivers a powerful, employee-first experience that creates happier and more productive teams. Trusted by more than 200,000 workplaces worldwide, When I Work puts scheduling and collaboration at the center of workplace operations and brings empathy, agility, and consumer simplicity to the small business workplace.

Read More

Spotlight

SAP

SAP is a global software application vendor. SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced...

Events

Resources