International business technology provider SAP has secured Christine Ashton to lead a new CXO practice within the S/4HANA Cloud team that will help increase collaboration from CIOs and enable SAP to have an enhanced relationship with the CIO and CTO community. In her new role Ashton is focused on the journey to the cloud and its role in creating transformation as a driving force for innovation and business value.
Ashton joins a number of high profile CIOs to enter the vendor community to ensure technology service providers understand the scale of digital transformation and the challenge the digital journey poses to CIOs and their organisations. In 2016 Eurostar CIO Antoine de Kerviller joined travel systems giants Amadeus as head of research & development, whilst a number of former CIOs are advising technology providers as part of a portfolio of work that includes startups and CEOs grappling with digital transformation.
Ashton said: “CIOs need more value adding products from suppliers. The suppliers in-turn cannot design and provide good services without deep understanding of the issues CIOs face.”
Keen cyclist Ashton joins SAP from Thomson Reuters where she was SVP Technology. The information company had to become a digital business as financial, legal and scientific customers demanded online information and services. Ashton was with Thomson Reuters for three and a half years, joining the global business following the move of Jane Moran to Unilever.
Prior to Thomson Reuters Ashton has been CIO with energy firm BG for three years and CTO for Transport for London from 2008 to 2010 and had a previous stint in the energy sector with BP as CIM for the refining business.
SAP Business Suite 4 HANA (SAP S/4 HANA) is a set of applications built on the SAP Operational Database System and its HANA in-memory technology. Launched in early 2015 S/4 HANA is available as both on-premise and cloud options and is considered by industry watchers as one of the biggest changes to the SAP product offering in recent decades.
SAP was founded in 1972 in Weinheim, Germany and is today a €20 billion business that saw its revenues increase in 2015. SAP was founded by a group of German IBM employees that had developed some key software that IBM said was no longer part of its strategy; the group left, formed their own business and were to early in their career win a contract with ICI, which would see Richard Sykes as one of its leading CIOs. R/98, as the application was dubbed, became a founder of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) application landscape and successful implementation of ERP became a mainstay and significant achievement for many CIO careers. Today SAP is focusing on cloud based services with its HANA platform.