WEDO WORLDWIDE USER GROUP 2015: Panelists from SAP, Lisbon City Hall, PWC and Microsoft discussed the need to accept – but manage – risk as the nature of business changes, with Joao Couto (pictured, right), general manager of Microsoft Portugal, warning that “the biggest risk is not doing anything”.
Luiz Ponzoni, partner at PWC Brazil, echoed this sentiment, while noting that to balance risk, efforts should be made to manage what is within the control of an enterprise. “I think we need to admit there is no creation without risks, there is no creation without assuming a certain degree of failure. And to balance this, what we can control, where we can reduce this, we need to be very effective,” he said.
Noting that “if you don’t take a risk, you will be left behind”, Ann-Mari Doody, SVP and head of general business and partner ecosystem sales for South Europe at SAP, said that while technology is enabling companies to embrace new ways of working, “technology itself is not the disruption”.
“We sit down and we look at what’s the core of the business, and then we rethink through their processes, we rethink through their business model, and we think of a different way to be able to do it. And soon you actually see that it’s not the technology that’s the actual risk, technology is enabling you to take a leap with your business and do something different. Yes, you have to control it, but there are a lot of good software products out there to help mitigate and control risk,” she said.
Microsoft’s Couto also noted the effect that technology is having on the market, not least that it is enabling a new breed of start-up to take-on established players. “The cloud enables you to have access to technology at a much faster pace, at a much cheaper price. So you no longer have to have big investments up front to buy equipment in order to have access to the most sophisticated solutions. So you democratise or massify access to the best technology, and that’s a big change,” he said.
And Graca Fonseca, councilwoman responsible for economy, innovation, education and administrative reform at Lisbon City Hall (pictured above, left), said that these start-ups often have an advantage in that they are focused on specific challenges, rather than having all-encompassing goals.
“Sometimes I don’t have the big issue, I don’t need the big solution, I just need something very structured, and for us at the moment, at least in the public sector, most of the time it is easier to find it in a small company,” she said. Fonseca also noted that these small players are also able to act quickly to make changes during implementation, to meet specific customer needs.
With regard to the potential risks of working with new companies rather than established players, she observed: “Sometimes it’s risky and sometimes there is distress that you are not hiring a big company, but I think that nowadays that is changing, and I think in the next ten years it will change more.”