Carmen Krueger leads the SAP U.S. Regulated Industries practice, which encompasses federal, state, and local government, as well as the higher education, aerospace and defense, health care and utilities industries. She is responsible for overseeing strategy, business operations, revenue performance, customer relationships and overall customer satisfaction throughout the United States.
Since joining SAP in 2005, Carmen has held numerous executive and global roles at SAP, including chief operating office for the newly created marketing and solutions board area and well as administering the North America Center of Excellence and the North American enterprise sales organization for Qualtrics, where she was in charge of the geographies within North America and the government and health care verticals.
In this recent Executive Spotlight conversation, Krueger spoke with ExecutiveBiz about the outgrowth of cloud usage and adoption in the federal government, the differentiators of SAP’s software offerings and talent retention strategies and more.
How do your past global experiences across finance, supply chain, human capital management inform your approach to the North American Regulated Industries market?
My approach to leading Regulated Industries is born from the U.S. Navy, where I began my career: “Mission first, people always.” Of course, all the roles I’ve held have shaped how I view different problems and opportunities because they opened my aperture through the experience of the position. But, fundamentally, I believe that everything we do at SAP begins and ends with our customers’ mission statements. Our technology, solutions and services all combine to help our customers run their business, agency, or organization better. It just so happens that the Regulated Industries customers are unique by the nature of their mission and who they support.
I am extremely fortunate that many of my roles at SAP have been “customer-facing,” which has afforded me a front-row seat to experience the direct impact our technology has on our customers’ business problems. I’ll mention three critical points that stand out: first, SAP has been focused on solving tough customer business problems for over 50 years. The depth of knowledge and the relationships we have with our customers — including some of the largest and most important logos on the planet — is staggering. Customers trust that when they engage with SAP, they will get sound solutions to their problems.
Second, I am consistently amazed by the ‘connectedness’ of SAP offerings. Whether it is finance, human resources, supply chain, manufacturing, or procurement, a transaction in one area will directly impact another — and with SAP, the data will stay in sync. Customers often run into problems when they try to tie different functional applications together. Out of the box, SAP is intended to eliminate inefficiencies, redundant effort and data inconsistencies. This is key, because with centralized data management, companies can better administer complex business processes, and employees of different departments can have the same version of the truth.
Lastly, our innovation platform has afforded our customers the ability to move and adapt faster than the speed of change. It allows for anticipatory innovation.
What are you hearing from regulated customers and how they are using cloud technology as a key growth catalyst to positively transform operations?
In 2013, I started the cloud line of business at SAP National Security Services. At that time, the federal government had recently adopted the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program as a required framework for cloud service providers and there were very few applications approved to host government data. Fortunately, SAP supported the program and achieved authorization in 2017.
Since then, we have over 140 customers in the SAP NS2 Cloud offering. I’m thrilled to see this growth because chief information officers, chief human resources officers and chief financial officers across all industries desire to reduce cost, complexity and risk while modernizing their tech. Organizations want to be more agile and flexible. They want to improve outdated systems and business processes, but they’re facing unique workforce challenges. And now, since 2020, supply chain constraints impact tech upgrades and scale out initiatives. The cloud solves these problems and as a result, we’re seeing increased adoption.
As a governmental project, FedRAMP has matured considerably, and it will be interesting to see what Congress does next. Recently, the House passed the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program Authorization Act of 2021. This bill states that GSA must establish a governmentwide program that provides an authoritative standardized approach to security assessment and authorization for cloud computing products and services that process unclassified information used by agencies. It also states that agencies must ensure that their cloud computing services meet GSA requirements. This means that if agencies want to leverage the cloud and the bill becomes law, then FedRAMP will become even more important.
How does your company ensure the long-term success of your customers as you continue to face the uphill challenge to recruit and retain the best talent in the federal marketplace?
Here’s the bottom line: We don’t grow as a business unless we’re delivering value to our customers. In other words, helping our customers realize value is our number one focus; it is my number one goal. We have always been focused on that and always will be. This is especially relevant today, as our customer base faces real challenges — from IT modernization to human resources, consumer and constituent demand and sustainability goals and regulations. Our customers are looking for a partner they trust that will deliver value and innovation. And this is where SAP really shines. SAP is continuously exploring new ideas and pioneering technologies to shape the next generation of enterprise software, deliver real-world innovation and drive sustainability. And SAP will continue to enable insightful business decisions because the data and systems can be trusted — they will remain reliable and accurate.
Now with respect to talent, there is no debate that the war on talent is here and it’s real. The skills required for tomorrow aren’t necessarily here today. But I feel very lucky to work for an organization that recognizes our number one asset is our people, no question. SAP remains a highly desirable company to work for. In fact, in October we announced that SAP has won 100 awards to date in 2022 for being an employer of choice. Newsweek magazine, for example, recently awarded SAP the #2 most loved workplace, voted by our employees.
We have several differentiated employee engagement and development programs that focus on our people. For example, we identify and invest in talented junior employees who show promise to become next year’s leaders. In addition, we implemented a “Pledge to Flex” policy which acknowledges the importance of maintaining balance between work and personal life. Team members define the schedule that works best for them. And we have extensive employee network groups which help people find and network with colleagues in their communities of interest.
Last point: SAP is a global organization, with over 100,000 employees from more than 150 nationalities. We have a rich culture that enables our employees to be their authentic selves, and this helps the company perform at its best. We strive to reflect the diversity of the societies and communities we work in, that our workplaces are welcoming for all, and that we serve the marketplace with the SAP mission statement “Making the World Run Better.”
With respect to my team, the Regulated Industries organization at SAP North America, I know they’re the best in the business with talent second to none. It takes commitment to be in this industry and I know this is what drives my team, serving the customers who are changing the world. In my team, we are proud to be “in service of making the world run better.”
William McCormick also contributed reporting