When Argentina’s Buenos Aires autonomous city government wanted to control devastating annual flooding caused by torrential rains, it turned to the Latin America division of SAP, the German software provider, for a solution.
SAP, whose name in German translates to Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing, designed a system that linked sensors in about 30,000 city storm drains to a main control center that monitored water flow and buildup caused by trash or sedimentation during rainfalls, and allowed city officials to move maintenance crews to critical areas before flooding began.
SAP’s software systems collect, monitor and analyze real-time sensor data from storm drains and weather reports to provide city officials with predictive and current data on the status of the water management network, said Claudio Muruzábal, the Miami-based president of SAP Latin America and the Caribbean.
“This involves processing enormous volumes of data and immediately providing city officials with useful information to prevent flooding,” Muruzábal said. “Our goal is to simplify technology and improve the quality of life for our customers, like those in Buenos Aires. Our company’s motto is ‘Run simple,’ and that’s what we try to achieve in everything we do.”
Muruzábal heads a regional division of SAP that has about 28,500 customers in Latin and Caribbean nations, and oversees about 4,000 employees. SAP has a total worldwide workforce of 74,400.
The Miami headquarters opened 22 years ago and provides software systems and applications that help major companies run complex operations, like a steel mill or a large retail chain, to make them more efficient and profitable. Its customers also include government agencies, small businesses and other organizations. Among them are Pemex, the Mexican national oil company; Liverpool, a large department store chain in Mexico; Ecopetrol, Colombia’s largest petroleum company; and DASA, the largest provider of medical diagnostics in Brazil.
SAP also has 16 offices throughout the region and a large center in Brazil to develop customized business solutions.
The company’s software packages include SAP ERP, or enterprise resource planning, for collecting data, analyzing, storing and managing every aspect of a company’s operations; and SAP HANA, a rapid-response platform that allows users to process high volumes of data in real time.
The rapid-response platform is used in Brazil for the sacred sport of soccer. Each player is fitted with a sensor that digitally tracks on-field performance and transmits the information to a data base, allowing team management evaluation information during a game. The company thinks other sports franchises in the region will also seek the data advantage.
“The German team used SAP HANA technology and sensors in its practice sessions before the World Cup,” Muruzábal said — and took home the top prize from the 2014 Brazil games.
The parent, SAP SE, is a multinational company and world leader in enterprise software systems and applications. An international market leader in analytics and mobility solutions, it has more than 293,000 customers in 190 countries. Its database and cloud computing businesses are also expanding.
Muruzábal took over as head of SAP’s Latin America and Caribbean businesses on Aug. 1, after serving for a decade as CEO of Neoris, a Miami-based international business and IT consulting firm. Originally from Argentina, Muruzábal has more than 25 years of experience in the IT industry and previously worked as vice president of NCR’s Teradata for Latin America and the Caribbean. A certified public account, he has an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and a degree in business administration from the Catholic University of Argentina.
SAP faces heavy competition in the region, including Oracle, Microsoft and other international software players. “But we also work as partners with some of our competitors,” Muruzábal said.
The SAP enterprise “ecosystem” includes about 1,500 partners in Latin America. These companies resell SAP’s services to corporations like IBM and HP, and complement and support SAP products with technology and hardware.
SAP’s global revenues in 2014 were about $22.4 billion. About 37 percent came from the Americas, including the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The company does not release revenue figures for Latin America and the Caribbean, but Muruzábal said SAP had double-digit growth in the region last year for cloud services, which are in high demand.
As for the future, Latin America and the Caribbean offer “double-digit growth opportunities as we help large multilatina companies expand overseas” and as demand grows for mobile, analytics and cloud services, Muruzábal said.
The company continues to direct much of its energy to small and mid-sized companies that can use SAP tools to make their businesses more efficient, and cheaper and easier to run, with a billing option that allows companies to pay for IT services as they need and use them, thus reducing capital expenditures.
“This means a small company can afford the same level of service as a large company,” the SAP executive said.
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Business: SAP is a German-based multinational company and world leader in enterprise application software, which means software systems and applications. SAP says that these products help all types of businesses become more efficient and profitable while simplifying their operations. SAP, whose German name translates to Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing, has more than 293,000 customers in 190 countries. Aside from its enterprise application software, the company is a market leader in analytics and mobility solutions, and has fast-growing database and cloud businesses. Its headquarters for Latin America and the Caribbean is in Miami.
World headquarters: Walldorf, Germany.
Latin America and Caribbean headquarters: 5301 Blue Lagoon Dr., Miami, set up 22 years ago.
Regional CEO: Claudio Muruzábal, president of SAP for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Employees: About 4,000 in Latin America and the Caribbean region, out of more than 74,400 worldwide.
Clients: More than 293,000 customers in 190 countries, including large companies, governments and small businesses.
Revenues: 17.6 billion euros in 2014 ($22.4 billion at an average exchange rate for 2014).
Ownership: Publicly traded company (Trading symbol SAP on the NYSE and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange’s XETRA).