Complexity: Why it’s hurting your business and what you can do about it

Bill McDermottS

Bill McDermott

In 2010, CEO Bill McDermott made simplicity SAP’s business priority. Why? In an interview with CW Executive Editor Natasha Nicholson, he explains that businesses today are hampered by too many management layers and too much data, making it hard to deliver the services and experience that customers and employees expect.

“Managers create complexity, and leaders have the sense to remove it”

This problem, McDermott tells us, is most evident with the traditional role of management:

“Managers, frankly, spend a lot of time reporting the news. And with old technology it’s easy to understand, because if you’re just managing things in some way your power comes from having more information than the people. You’re reporting up the ladder, giving your bosses the news and they’re giving their bosses the news and pretty soon cultures are coming apart at the seams because they are trapped in their own complexity, in their own internal bureaucracy, instead of really making the news on the frontlines with your team and with your customer.”

“Cultures are coming apart at the seams because they are trapped in their own complexity.”—Bill McDermott

In addition to cutting back these layers, McDermott shares the importance of data in beating complexity. Since roughly 98 percent of data is never analyzed, companies will gain a competitive advantage if they are able to use data effectively, he says.

“It’s no longer a digital divide,” McDermott tells us. “It’s a data divide.”

For more insights, and to learn the role of communicators in cutting complexity, listen to the complete interview here.

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