Corporate Entrepreneurship: Steven Birdsall at SAP

Published 20 Dec 2013
Reference 6022
Region Global
Summary

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.

Teaching 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

Keywords
  • Corporate entrepreneurship
  • Leadership
  • Career change
  • Personal networks
  • Sales management
  • Software industry
  • SAP AG
  • Prepackaged software
  • Q21314