High technologies might look foreign and incomprehensible to the outsider. A conversation with Radomir Milanov, the new Managing Director of SAP Bulgaria, however, is more than enough to understand that innovation and technology can be a source of inspiration, and a passion.
Radomir Milanov has 20 years of experience in the field, both in the corporate world and as an entrepreneur. A global leader in providing technologies facilitating a variety of businesses and industries, SAP is constantly changing to offer businesses expertise, innovative solutions and a platform to expand their potential, and to reach new grounds. The company opened an office in Bulgaria in 1999, started an ever-growing development center (SAP Labs Bulgaria) and today is one of the leaders on the local market.
After being an entrepreneur, why did you decide to return to the corporate world and to take the lead of the SAP office in Bulgaria?
It is a fascinating time to be in the field of technology, as it is the global driver of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Change is all about businesses getting digitized. SAP is a company that helps other businesses to stay relevant and competitive in this changing environment. Instead of having traditional vendor-customer relationships, SAP partners with them, provides them with bleeding edge technologies to develop new products and services, which in their turn significantly impact the way we live, work, have fun, travel, stay healthy in the near future.
At SAP we have bright, young and enthusiastic team with broad individual interests and a variety of backgrounds and fields of expertise. The environment they create fills me with energy. And this particular team uniqueness is our strength, because business today is dynamic and it needs flexibility, but also character, to truly understand companies' needs and offer them a full range of solutions or technological ideas. By empowering the creativity in our team, we let them do what they love and like and hence, to excel.
In this highly dynamic and often challenging environment, what is your personal driver of inspiration and motivation?
I get inspired by people, their creativity, dedication, and strive for creating new opportunities. I trust it is always the people who shape the reality and make magic happens. But what also drives and excites me is this future we all shape today. In the coming years we in SAP will offer an even broader and more interesting portfolio of products to clients. The ecosystem we connect to them is constantly developing and expanding with new companies, making them more competitive and able to unleash their potential. This is what makes SAP one of the strongest brands on the Bulgarian and international market. This is a strong inspiration, isn't it?
What is the biggest challenge that IT industry faces today?
It is becoming harder and harder to define IT as a separated industry. Technology is broad and permeates many of the existing industries, changing them, defining them. We can say that IT companies produce smartphones, that new car models leave their production facilities packed with software and data sensors.
This convergence between different fields is the big challenge but also the great opportunity for people in IT today. You no longer have a single product designed to solve a single issue. You now have a problem that can be solved in dozens of ways – paying a utility bill, for example. The 4th Industrial Revolution is all about seeing how machines communicate with one another, how they learn, and how companies can use them to stay competitive on a rapidly changing market.
How does SAP adapt to these changes?
SAP is not an IT company, but a company that develops platforms on which other companies can develop their innovative services, including in our cloud. Nowadays we are focused on perfecting customer experience, helping others increase customer's satisfaction and as always, helping others save resources and be efficient.
SAP implements all the latest innovations like AI, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, automatization, blockchain and much more. All of these facilitate a crucial new understanding and application of technologies to make modern businesses smarter.
I'm happy we manage to introduce on the local market some of the very best practices from the world, adapt them to the local needs and context. What helps a lot and makes us stand out is the accumulated experience over the years within a range of industries, like large pharmaceutical companies, car manufacturers, chemical industry, to name a few.
Any technology topic you are more focused on at the moment?
Definitely a great source of fulfillment and inspiration is dealing with topics that deliver superior customer experience. In SAP that constitutes a separate product line. Our understanding is that regardless of whether it is a product or a service, what the customers of our customers (i.e. the end users) receive should be highly personalized and customized, designed in its essence to make them happy and special. This is enabled by complex technologies and the existence of data.
But also, to a significant extent this is connected to the cloud model. The cloud allows the client to have a personalized experience no matter where in the planet they are, as long as they have proper internet connection. For our client companies, cloud service also means that they don't need to invest in infrastructure to experience growth.
It is worth to mention that those new models are unlocked largely with the help of the new generation of tech players. SAP partners not only with big businesses, but also with the start-up community and the new generation of developing enterprises. We focus on innovative companies in their early or middle stages of development and help them to develop their ideas and to create new products. Bringing different businesses together and inspiring them to co-operate and to create new things that will change the world is one of SAP's goals.
What did SAP achieve since it stepped on the Bulgarian market?
We have a very recognizable brand and we have the reputation of one of the best employers in Bulgaria. We employ highly qualified professionals whose expertise goes beyond technology into fields such as business and business processes, like HR, product management, accounting. This is not only a market footprint, this is an investment and a testament of the trust the German giant has in our market and its capabilities, both from customer point of view, but also as from a workforce point of view.
The number of business consultants who are fluent in SAP solutions for a variety of industries is counted by the thousands. Companies know SAP as a reliable partner who adds significant value to their products and services. Over 400 companies in Bulgaria already use software developed by SAP. For us every client in our ecosystem is equally important, no matter of their size. This is an understanding that is very important, because we are more than a company offering IT solutions. SAP connects businesses, effectively serving as a b2b platform.
For more information: www.sap.com/bulgaria