Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Corporate Entrepreneurship: Steven Birdsall at SAP

HANSEN Morten T., ROGAN Michelle, LOUIE Dickson L., VON BERNUTH Nana 
©2013 INSEAD Case Study

In mid-2011, Steven Birdsall, then a 46-year old senior vice president at SAP, revives and scales up a neglected line of packaged software called Rapid Deployment Solutions (RDS), within the global $20 billion software giant. Challenged by his annual evaluation to transition to a more strategic leader, motivated by a passion to build new businesses, and seeing a growing customer demand for less costly packaged software due to advances in cloud and mobile computing, Birdsall has the idea to create RDS as a standalone business within SAP. Despite internal resistance from SAP's account executives, partners and consultants, Birdsall succeeds in making RDS a $1 billion business in 2012, largely due to his ability to convince them - and customers - of its economic and market potential. His personal networks within the company play a critical role in gaining support and scaling up RDS globally.

Pedagogical Objectives: This cases focuses on how leaders can develop a new business in a large company. Key teaching points: - how to work the organization to gain support for a new business - how leaders influence others to buy into a business vision.