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Carroll School of Management

Bill McDermott

Co-chief Executive Officer, SAP

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College’s Chief Executives’ Club of Boston

February 6, 2014

TAKEAWAY: Collapsing complexity

Once again, we’re at another point in shifting the strategy. That strategy, to me today, as I rethink everything once again four years later, is complexity. I think complexity is the most intractable CEO issue of our time, and I think it’s so important that we make things so simple in these enterprises and we collapse complexity.

In my business, and Joe [Tucci] knows this well, because EMC and SAP are unbelievable partners, we know the importance of taking these enterprises and simplifying everything, so executives can do anything. This is collapsing things, lowering footprint, delivering things in a more easy, simple way.

Let me underscore it with an example of an industry that’s near and dear to my heart. I’m on the board of Under Armour. You might know the sports apparel company, Under Armour. Recently, we made an acquisition. The company we bought was all about digitizing the athlete. How do I connect the actual fabric of the company to the digital metrics of the athlete and capture all the biorhythms and give the athlete real-time feedback on how they’re doing?

In fact, Karen, you’ll appreciate this. “Future Girl” is a vision where Future Girl can swipe her arm and change the colors and the heat and cold intensity of the fabric at a swipe of a finger. That athlete[s] now can connect their biometrics and their performance to real-time analytics, so they know if they’re getting better or worse and if they’re living up to their true potential.