PAULINA KIRILOVA: DO YOU SPEAK SAP?
The Senior Manager SAP Applications at KPMG ITS is fluent in the language of digital transformation
When visionary thinking companies consider upping up their digital transformation game, SAP S/4 Hana is their first choice for software solution. This advanced technology has the potential to transform modern businesses by making them leaner, fitter and more efficient, which is crucial in the rapidly changing world we are living in. Few experts understand how to use SAP to create new working solutions than the team of KPMG ITS, a Bulgaria-based IT services provider for the companies in the KPMG Group. One of its key units, SAP Application, is managed by a woman with an impressive resume in the IT field – Paulina Kirilova. We talked to her to understand better the need of modern SAP solutions for all types of businesses to succeed.
In times of uncertainty and massive layoffs of workers in the world's biggest tech companies what defines a successful IT company and how KPMG ITS navigates the rough waters?
In times of uncertainty, businesses have a choice either to transform and invest or to hold and postpone until the unfavorable times are over. Leaders are the ones that change their strategy and decide to invest in new technologies, in new business models, new processes. We have many examples of companies from different industries gaining momentum in the times of major disruptions, the latest being the pandemic, or failing to do so and losing revenues or going out of business.
KPMG ITS is specialized in technology advisory with primary focus on digitalizing the business of the KPMG independent member firms and their clients. We have the biggest center for SAP consulting services in the KPMG network of independent member firms and deliver projects globally.
We doubled our teams during the pandemic as we saw a growing demand from industry for digital transformation partners. Our focus is to invest in building capabilities in cutting-edge technologies and cloud-based solutions.
Many businesses started or are about to start their digital transformation journey. How KPMG ITS is helping them to deliver tangible results? Which project stands out and is very valuable for you as leader and professional?
Many studies show that the pandemic brought up an acceleration in digital transformation by months or even years. Digitalization is affecting not only the business operating model and revenue streams, but there is a fundamental shift of focus towards the creation of a seamless digital customer experience and a new workforce model augmented by automation and artificial intelligence.
As an organization we have a lot to offer to our clients in their digital transformation journey. We started some years ago to build our concept of Powered Enterprise based on leading practices. The approach to digital transformation is to enable the business functions to see their world from another perspective and create a digital operating model that works for them. This approach for rapid business modernization can help functions to get where they need to be, and to able to continually adapt to change.
SAP as a technology carrier for digital information is a choice for the majority of companies around the globe. Current market data shows that 99% of the 100 largest companies in the world are SAP S/4 Hana customers and 77% of the world's transaction revenue touches an SAP system in over 180 countries.
KPMG ITS in Sofia is one of the 4 major delivery centers of the KPMG Delivery Network with very well-established SAP Business Unit. Our SAP team is involved in many projects for digital transformation in EMEA and ASPAC regions but what stands out for me as a project is our recent win on the Bulgarian market. I was impressed by the ambition of this company to become top 10 in their industry in Europe, how bold they are in their strategy to grow, to be sustainable, to be efficient and to have the best technologies available to support their strategy execution for years to come.
How SAP Applications contributes to the company success and became a preferred implementation partner to KPMG Member Firms for their SAP projects in EMEA region and beyond?
SAP Applications is a growing division in SAP Business Unit of KPMG ITS in Sofia with functional consultants from different SAP fields with broader and niche expertise. Our team is highly skilled and experienced in different industries and in delivering projects following the leading practices. We are participating in build activities of Powered Enterprise, introducing many new process taxonomies, supported by the latest and greatest SAP solutions.
As a certified delivery center of the KPMG Delivery Network, we are the go-to place for each independent KPMG member firm when they need to attract a prospective client with professionally delivered demos, elaborating comprehensive solution proposals, designing solution architecture and scoping the processes, constructing and deploying the solution, and continuing with solution evolution.
What are the challenges consultants face in their projects and what are the skills they need to be successful?
Being challenged is an SAP consultant's daily life. SAP technologies are changing very rapidly, and you have to keep your knowledge ahead of the curve. This needs to happen in parallel to your projects and multiple assignments.
Clients considering adoption of SAP products are virtually in all areas of public and private sector and more often than not they expect SAP consultants to bring to the table business competence on top of technology mastery.
Communication with clients and their requests can be very demanding. Here comes the agility and assertiveness of the consultants and their ability to steer the discussions in the right direction. Convincing customers to adhere to standard process, and abandon their old operations practices, thus achieving higher efficiency and reduced total cost of ownership can be a significant challenge as well.
Our major advantage as part of a global organization is our ability to provide consulting through benchmarking, leading business practices in major industries and employ our prebuild assets to deliver predictable results. Our consultants have instant access to many different business cases which to leverage in their projects. However, abundance of information can be overwhelming at times.
As a woman senior manager in a multinational company in a male dominated IT field which is the major challenge for you?
My professional and personal life are built around the principle of equality and this dilemma is not present for me. Though, I understand this is not the case for many women.
I feel appreciated at KPMG ITS for my skills and impact as a leader and professional. We have a very constructive dialogue in our company and take decisions for the course of action that suits our common goals. In the leadership team of the SAP Business Unit, we have several women leaders who are unquestionable professionals and I feel inspired by their feminine power every day.
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