Mr. Hopp, what is your advice to manufacturing companies in the current crisis situation?
Dietmar Hopp: Use the time of upheavals and changing revenue sources to question business models and reinvent yourself where necessary. Ensuring higher productivity and competitiveness is an ongoing task in the manufacturing industry and is currently more important than ever – for companies, for jobs, for our economy.
What should companies do?
Dietmar Hopp: Today, higher productivity can no longer be achieved without a robust, flexible, and scalable IT infrastructure. In the course of digitalization, the platform economy has gained acceptance in the consumer sector. The same will happen in the industrial sector. I agree with what has become a dictum in the IT industry: In the era of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – every company becomes a software company. In other words, the right technology platform today determines the future viability of companies. This requires a comprehensive digital transformation that takes both the technological and corporate culture into account.
You are the majority shareholder of FORCAM – why is this important to you?
Dietmar Hopp: For me, the concept of an open IT platform for production is a critical success factor in the age of Industry 4.0. As you know, as one of the SAP founders, I had the privilege of playing a pivotal role in shaping the era of Industry 3.0 with SAP. Many customers have trusted the SAP concept and have been and still are very successful with it. Now, in the age of Industry 4.0, it is essential to structure the countless amounts of data and put it into a meaningful context to make the right decisions at the right time in the production process.
Why is the FORCAM solution particularly suitable for this?
Dietmar Hopp: For two reasons: Firstly, top management in the manufacturing industry is concerned with reorganizing the company’s IT organization and thus opening it up to the ever-new possibilities of the digital age. Only in this way can they maintain their competitiveness. Secondly, it is a matter of providing production employees with all the necessary and appropriate digital decision-making tools. To meet these two requirements, FORCAM has developed one of the most modern and flexible platform solutions on the market.
You have recently increased your stake in FORCAM…
Dietmar Hopp: I have been a strategic investor of FORCAM since 2004. Since then, I have actively accompanied the development and offerings of the company – from a web-based MES system, which was innovative at the time, to today’s open and cloud-enabled IIoT platform solution for the manufacturing industry called FORCAM-FORCE™. In mid-2019, I decided to acquire a majority stake in FORCAM. I want to send a signal to customers and prospective customers that they are investing in a sustainable partnership with FORCAM.
Interview: Oliver Hoffmann