Moving customers beyond bias

26th March 2018 |   Michelle Charles

SAP’s D&I strategy seeks to build a more inclusive workforce and better business results.

SAP is in an industry where the pace of innovation separates the winners from the losers, and a greater variety of insights and experiences leads to new ideas and innovations. We recognised this need and embarked on a strategy to ensure we were drawing on and growing the diversity of our organisation while creating a climate for that diversity to flourish and have impact.

Four key areas of focus for D&I strategy

Figure 1: Four key areas of focus for D&I strategy.

The global effects of digitalisation are all encompassing and extend far beyond just business models and processes. Technological advancements such as machine learning and artificial intelligence along with shifting demographics have created major changes in the global workforce.

These changes reinforce the need for a more diverse and inclusive workforce to enable us to be more competitive. SAP’s diversity and inclusion strategy is focused on four key areas to empower thinking that increases employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and our ability to innovate (Figure 1).

Powering our strategy was the recognition that:

  • Many organizations want to work with companies that are leaders in diversity and inclusion. Among many firsts, SAP was the first global IT company to become EDGE certified. Our approach to diversity and inclusion is directly in line with our corporate purpose.
  • Customers want to engage with business partners that understand and can relate to them, and that reflect their own changing demographics and communities.
  • The multicultural economy means that buying power is changing hands, and a diverse workforce will help us interact with and attract different cultures and diverse clients in a global market place.

The increased focus on diversity is not unique to SAP and we found that many organisations faced the same challenges with some not knowing where to even start. We view this as an opportunity to understand what matters to our customers in diversity and help them achieve their goals:

Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion for SAP’s sales organisation

Michelle Charles is the Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion for SAP’s sales organisation and is based out of Singapore. She has responsibility for driving SAP’s diversity agenda across the sales line of business globally.
Her focus is to model diversity as a business imperative by building and growing diverse talent so that SAP can draw on different perspectives and skills in order to understand customers better and innovate more creatively. Equally important is to promote an inclusive environment that encourages authenticity and improves employee engagement. The goal is to increase business performance and use diversity to improve competitive advantage.