"What has changed in our industry in recent decades? Everything!" exclaimed Miami-based Rodolpho Cardenuto, an electronics engineer and president of business software giant SAP for Latin America and the Caribbean.
"We were still programming with mainframes and using languages like COBOL. The IT user then had to be an IT expert," said Cardenuto, a Brazilian whose region includes over 12,200 clients and 3,000 employees in 12 countries.
As technology advanced, every aspect of the business changed, noted Cardenuto, whose company has been working in Latin America for 18 years. Information--previously stored on magnetic tapes, and before that punch cards--had to be collected and processed overnight. Today, companies can process large volumes of data, access huge data bases and retrieve and analyze information in real time.
If a customer two decades ago had a problem, SAP had to dispatch a technician to solve it. "Today, we can use new technology to manage customers from a distance," said Cardenuto, who took over as head of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2008 following 25 years of experience in technology sectors, including 17 years at HE
At the outset, SAP did not work with business partners in Latin America. Now, the company has over 450 partners in the region and they represent an important share of total sales.
"The way we work today would not have been possible 20 years ago. IT has developed from something used by a few, to something accessible to many, thanks to the Internet and now to something available to everyone via mobility."
Changes at SAP Latin America in recent years have been equally dramatic. The company, which is part of German-based SAP AG, an international leader in enterprise software, today principally works in five market categories: cloud computing, mobility, business analytics, data base and applications.
"When I arrived at SAP in July of 2008, 95 percent of revenues came from classic ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and about 5 percent from analytics," Cardenuto said. "Now about two-thirds of our revenues are derived from innovation and new applications while one-third comes from ERP. Everything has changed. The market has changed, we've changed. We've acquired companies and invested consistently in innovation."
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