There is much focus in the business world currently in having a “purpose”. Purpose-led businesses perform better – perhaps as everyone involved gets it, sees the bigger picture, knows which way to head – so we don’t need endless job descriptions, objectives, reviews. I get that – and I think it’s largely valid.
Purpose-led businesses report higher employee engagement, lower staff turnover and higher growth rates (figures of 3x higher appear in reports). The evidence is clear. However, it needs to be a real purpose: any attempt to spoof your purpose or fail to follow it will backfire badly.
Asking people about SAP’s purpose is interesting. Many say “to make money” – and yes, of course, as a business, it has an obligation to make a return for its shareholders, so profit matters – but that’s not really its purpose – that’s almost an incidental outcome in some ways. But what is SAP there to do?
They express their purpose as “To help the world run better and improve people’s lives. This is our enduring cause; our higher purpose”.
At first glance that may sound a bit glib, but the more I think about it, the more I get it and admire it. SAP is all about helping organisations – whether businesses, government or charities – perform better, achieve greater results with less effort and strain, reduce wastage, have operations working in the best possible way. SAP’s best-case studies and references support this, showing companies working smoothly and efficiently to deliver the purposes of these organisations. OK, it’s easy to be cynical and knock SAP, and whine about the bug they haven’t fixed, the pushy sales guy you met years ago, or how much the software costs – but at the end of the day you have to admit that they have created impressive software that has become the number one global ERP by some distance. None of us have been forced to buy SAP – but many of us have chosen to as, despite the moans and whines it is – if introduced and used appropriately – a superb tool to help your business run better. There I’ve said it. Run better. Two simple words that sum it up nicely. Well done to whoever in SAP coined that! And the people who work there do seem highly engaged – SAP always fares well in the “great places to work” reviews.
SAP’s recent advert sums it up nicely and – for the open-minded – is quite inspiring. Have a watch and let a sense of pride in your involvement in the SAP marketplace swell beyond any cynicism!
Inevitably you’ll now reflect on what our purpose at Edson is – and I hope it’s clear – we’re here to help you drive performance from your SAP investment. OK, we haven’t gone down the glossy global promo route that SAP has, but we’re clear. Our passion is to help anyone who’s using SAP (or planning to use SAP) to make sure it makes a real and positive difference to their business performance – and that means eyes-open projects, clear thinking and awareness of what good looks like, and ensuring people and processes and data are all fully considered as part of the overall picture. We know how much of a positive impact SAP can have – and, conversely, we hate to hear or see the occasional unhappy situation, and itch to help turn it around.
Purpose is applicable at all levels of course – not just enterprise vision. So, are you clear on your team’s purpose?