In an interview, Eva Zauke, chief knowledge officer at SAP, reveals the importance and impact of continuous learning as a C-suite imperative.
Zauke also discusses how SAP Training and Adoption enables customers, partners, and learners to achieve personal and professional success with enhanced trainings and learning offerings.
Q: What has been your proudest moment since taking on the role of chief knowledge officer? Can you tell us more about your vision for the years ahead?
A: I can’t point to one single moment where I’ve felt most proud of the work our team is doing. I have these moments every day. To see our customers, partners, and users continuously benefit from the learning offerings we provide brings me great joy and satisfaction. I’m very proud to hear from those taking advantage of our offerings, and how the trainings have truly affected the way they work and enhanced their businesses.
In looking ahead, I’d be remiss to ignore the fact that the next 12 months will indeed be different. We’re living in a truly unprecedented time, but that hasn’t changed our vision at SAP Training and Adoption. Our goal is to provide the SAP ecosystem – for example, SAP customers and partners but also academic students – with the knowledge and skills they need to successfully adopt our products and solutions, while realizing the benefit of driving the desired business outcome. Amid a global pandemic and so much uncertainty in the world, this only rings true.
How is SAP Training and Adoption positioned to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s learner?
The move to the Intelligent Enterprise is a must for corporations that wish to continuously innovate and remain competitive, and it’s important to remember that it’s the people who power this “intelligence” and innovation. Businesses must invest in their people’s learning to ensure success, as well as provide training and learning resources that fit their needs.
Today and tomorrow’s learners are digitally savvy, curious, interested in professional growth, and motivated to invest their time in growing their skills. They understand the importance of continuous learning to stay current, and SAP Training and Adoption is well-positioned to address this. With our enhanced portfolio of learner-centered trainings, we’re providing our ecosystem with a learning experience that is uniquely designed to drive software and technology adoption, help employees achieve professional goals, and ultimately deliver transformative business outcomes for their companies. We support customers and partners no matter where they are in their learning journeys and provide the flexibility they need to learn at their own pace – from anywhere, at any time.
Why is learning and development a business-critical issue that needs C-Suite attention? What is at stake if C-Suite is missing from the discussion?
We’re increasingly hearing about building up digital skills, reskilling, and technological adoption as drivers to innovate effectively. For organizations across the board, innovation does not only affect their top lines, but also has an impact on their bottom lines. To address constant market changes, reach new customers, and drive product innovation, the workforce needs to be continuously trained to adopt new and different skills that will allow employees to do their jobs more effectively and help them stay on pace with the most recent trends and innovations. As an organization relies on its workforce to drive innovation and become an intelligent enterprise, the topic of continuous learning spans the entire enterprise and must be addressed at the very top.
We are currently seeing a more concerted effort from the C-suite to address the issue of upskilling and reskilling, as CEOs around the world cited the availability of key skills as a top-three threat to their businesses. According to a survey by McKinsey, nearly all executives have classified closing the potential skills gap as a priority for their organizations while about one-third stated it is among their top three priorities. CEOs and senior executives are recognizing the power that both training and learning have on their people and on their business objectives.
Digital transformation requires upskilling the workforce, but some also make the case that the C-suite needs as much training, and maybe more, to drive change and innovation. What do you think about the notion of building up skills and upskilling from the top down?
I think it’s important to do both, and I think upskilling the differing levels within a corporation looks different across the board. The training and upskilling required to keep those in the C-suite abreast of the dynamic market changes is different than the new skills junior and mid-level executives need to continue to adopt and do their jobs better.
Both CEOs and CFOs need to take part in continuous training that will allow them to innovate their business models and processes to meet changing demands and customer needs within their industries. They will need to acquire different digital skills that will help them define the future of their businesses as they continue to innovate and accelerate. The employee base needs continuous training and upskilling to adopt new software and technologies that help realize its benefits and increase productivity in a way that provides even more value to customers. As businesses continue to transform to meet the demands of the future, we will continue to see upskilling both from the top down and from the bottom up. This is what will enable corporations to become truly intelligent.