Q&A with Tom Raftery, Global VP at SAP

Q&A with Tom Raftery, Global VP at SAP
Tom Raftery, Global VP at SAP is an Innovation Evangelist, Futurist, and international Keynote speaker. Prior to joining SAP, Tom worked for a number of companies at Group IT Manager/CTO level, and as an Industry Analyst. Tom is a global thought leader and ranks among the top 10 Internet of Things influencers in the world. 

MEDIA 7: If I were to say to a bunch of people who know you, ‘Give me three adjectives that best describe you’, what would I hear?
TOM RAFTERY: 
I would like to think that I am a good communicator, maybe smart and hopefully generous. You will have to ask people other than myself though. They would be a better judge.

M7: What is the role of a technology influencer in driving environmental sustainability?
TR: 
The role of someone like me would be to raise awareness of the issues that are happening and potential solutions to them, particularly technological solutions. A lot of people are busy in their day-to-day lives and they might not be aware of some of the more pressing environmental issues that are happening in the world and that might impact them. So, raising awareness with people, of the importance of these issues, and the potential technological solutions to them is the role I think that influencers should be playing.


"Raising awareness with people, of the importance of environmental issues, and the potential technological solutions to them is the role that influencers should be playing."

M7: SAP is celebrating the 10th anniversary of strategic sustainability this year. What are the initiatives being taken by the company to help the world run better and achieve the UN sustainable development goals by 2030?
TR:
We are involved in a lot of different projects in this front. We work for example, with Vestas Wind Systems who are the only global energy company dedicated exclusively to wind energy. We help them with their backend systems to help optimize the delivery of windfarms and turbines to windfarms, so that they are keeping their costs down and deploying the windfarms with the highest efficiency. We work with Munich Re and the European Space Agency. Munich Re are one of the largest reinsurance companies in the world and for them, they need to predict, and try and mitigate the damage of natural disasters. We use data from European Space Agency to help Munich Re do that.

We work with Brazilian company, Stara who are an agricultural company. They manufacture agricultural equipment, and the work we do with them is what’s called precision agriculture. Precision agriculture means that we can help their machines be far more precise in things like spreading fertilizers, spreading seeds to make sure that the seeds don’t overlap, the fertilizer doesn’t overlap and you’re doing it row by row. You have to sow the seeds and spread the fertilizer very accurately to avoid an overlap. Because if you have overlap with fertilizer, it can reach toxic levels and damage the plants that you are trying to help. If you have overlap in seeds, you can have excess competition between the seeds and then you get reduction in yield. Whereas if you are optimizing using precision agriculture, you are massively reducing your inputs and you are maximizing your outputs. So, you are able to feed more people with less land and less resources which obviously, as we are reaching higher population levels year-on-year, this becomes more and more important.

We work with NGOs like this one in Africa, called Elephants, Rhinos and People which was founded to preserve and protect the wild elephants and rhinos in Southern Africa. We work with local people to make sure that it’s more profitable for them to protect wildlife than it is to be poaching wildlife. We put collars on elephants and rhinos with geo-tracking in them. We use drones, to track the elephants and rhinos and if they start approaching borders of the parks that might expose them more to poaching. We send off alerts and help move them back into places where they are safer. Since we started the initiative in that area, no elephants rhinos, or humans have been harmed since the deployment of the tracking.

We work with Swiss Federal Railways, the largest energy consumer in Switzerland and they are also an energy producer - they produce electricity. So, we work with them to help reduce the peak loads, the peak demand for electricity by flattening their load which then means, they don’t need to build extra generation plants, reducing their carbon footprint and making their organization more efficient.


"Making our workforce aware of what we are doing as our external constituents is important for our employees to feel engaged and part of something important."

M7: You have been on the SmartCitiesWorld Advisory Board. How does SmartCitiesWorld help in developing smart cities of the future?
TR:
The SmartCitiesWorld is a publication. It raises awareness of smart cities initiatives that cities can take to make the cities run better, reduce their energy requirements, reduce their footprint, increase their air quality, reduce noise pollution, and lots of different initiatives like that. So, as a publication, it’s primarily responsible for raising awareness and helping cities find better ways to increase quality of life for their constituents.

M7: How does SAP embrace an innovative culture in the company?
TR:
Obviously, as a technology company it is very important for SAP to embrace an innovative culture in the company and what the company typically does is, it spends a lot of money on research and development and it does a lot of communication internally and externally highlighting the innovative solutions that we have come up with for our customers. And making our workforce aware of what we are doing as our external constituents because it’s important for our employees to feel engaged and part of something important. And as a consequence, every time, every year, we run this survey internally on how happy our employees are working for SAP. And our rate of employee retention is extremely high.

It’s not unusual in Europe to talk to SAP employees who have been working for the company for 10 or more years, which in the technology industry is unusual. So, that’s how we embrace the innovative culture and we talk of the things that we do, we work closely also with our customers because we do a lot of co-innovation projects with our customers where we take our customers into our co-innovation centers and we talk through their problems with them and come up with innovative ways to solve any particularly gnarly issues that they might have.


"A lot of people are busy in their day-to-day lives and they might not be aware of some of the more pressing environmental issues that are happening in the world and that might impact them."

M7: What is your favorite part of working at SAP?
TR:
I started working for SAP in September 2016, so it’s just over 3 years ago now. And, prior to working with SAP, I had worked primarily with startups and small companies. I have never worked with a global mega vendor before. So, I was wondering what it would be like and I had my doubts, and if you would ask me in 2016, I would have said, “Yeah, I’ll probably last about three months with SAP”. But, three years later, here I am. And, a lot of that is down to the fact that the company is so big, and it has close to 100,000 employees, it means there are always people I can approach, if I need help in any country or in any industry. Because my role is across industry. So, if I need to talk to somebody who is in the transportation industry, I can just go straight to the transportation business unit and talk to people there. If I need to talk to people in the hospitality industry, same story. If I need to talk to people in the airline industry, the mining industry, the electricity industry, we cover all industries, we cover all regions globally. And, there’s a culture within SAP of helpfulness which is great. Apparently, it’s unusual. For me, it’s the norm if people bring up and ask me for help, I would say, “Yeah sure, absolutely, no problem.” And that’s the way most people in SAP are! You pick up the phone or send an email, and they are happy to help, no matter what. Apparently, that’s not the norm for big companies, but it is the norm for SAP which is great and that’s why I love working for SAP.  

M7: When did you start working, how old were you, and what was it?
TR:
My first job was when I was 14. I worked on a building site where I was a builder’s mate, helping raise the scaffolding on the building and also help ferry bricks that were delivered to the site from the ground up to the brick layers on the top floor. So, that was my first job.

ABOUT SAP

SAP is a global software application vendor. SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables our customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improves people’s lives.

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AION Labs Welcomes Amiti as Strategic Partner to Accelerate Israel's Position as a Leading Hub for Transformative AI-Powered Drug Discovery Innovation

PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

AION Labs, the first-of-its-kind venture studio spearheading the adoption of AI technologies and computational science to solve therapeutic challenges, announced today a new strategic partnership with Amiti Ventures, one of the leading early-stage venture capital firms in Israel. The partnership further strengthens the alliance of global leaders in pharma, biotech, and technology investment, expanding its offering as a venture studio and partner for new startups. "With a proven track record of identifying the best teams for the mission and investing early in the most innovative deep tech startups that shape the future, Amiti Ventures will bring important complementary capabilities and expert investor knowledge to the AION Labs partnership," said Mati Gill, CEO of AION Labs. "We thank Amiti for its vote of confidence in our model of innovation for groundbreaking AI and computational biotech ventures. We further appreciate Amiti's recognition that Israel's ecosystem is poised to lead the world in bringing AI and biotech together to solve our biggest drug discovery challenges." By joining forces with Amiti, AION Labs is enhancing its expertise and capabilities in the deep tech and computational technology domains, areas that are critical to the success of biotech innovation. Amiti's extensive experience and track record in these fields will bring invaluable investor knowledge and insights to AION Labs, enabling it to more effectively develop and support early-stage startups focused on AI and computational biology. Amiti's first investment in the venture studio will entail investment in DenovAI Biotech's Seed round of funding. Launched in 2022, DenovAI is developing an AI-powered biophysics solution for de novo antibody and protein design. AION Labs builds and invests in early-stage startup teams focused on AI and computational biology in drug discovery and development, offering them top-notch resources and mentorship while working closely with them to develop new technologies that meet the most significant challenges in the pharmaceutical industry. The partnership with Amiti Ventures will help AION Labs to advance healthcare towards patient-centric precision medicine and create a significant contribution to the health and well-being of humankind by helping to bring new treatments to market faster and more efficiently. "We believe that AION Labs is uniquely positioned to identify the biggest challenges to accelerate drug discovery and development and then evaluate the best computational bio approaches and entrepreneurs," said Ben Rabinowitz, Founder and Managing Partner of Amiti Ventures. "AION Labs' venture studio model bridges the gap between outstanding academic research, huge leaps forward in generative AI, and the biggest challenges and opportunities in the development of new medicines, and we look forward to working closely with our new partners to make this a reality. "We also have been amazed by the can-do spirit of the AION Labs team," added Rabinowitz. "It is that readiness to create, pull themselves up by the bootstraps and forge ahead with amazing innovation that makes AION and Israel's entire startup ecosystem so special." About AION Labs AION Labs is a first-of-its-kind alliance of Astrazeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Teva, the Israel Biotech Fund, Amiti Ventures, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), powered by BioMed X with the support of the Israeli Government via the Israel Innovation Authority, that have come together with one clear mission: to create and adopt groundbreaking new AI technologies that will transform the process of drug discovery and development in order to contribute to the health and well-being of all people world-wide. AION Labs is a unique venture hub where brilliant innovators and scientist-founders convene from around the world to solve the biggest R&D challenges guided by years of accumulated know-how, data and experience in pharma. The lab leverages its partners' wealth of knowledge and a new multidisciplinary mindset with the ingenuity, agility and innovative power of Israel's startup ecosystem, to develop strong companies with clear long-term strategies, that will pave the way to the future of healthcare. AION Labs cultivates innovation from within; its unique venture creation process bridges the gap between outstanding academic research in the field of AI and the biggest R&D needs in the discovery and development of new medicines for the benefit of patients.

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PHARMA TECH

CGI and Körber announce global partnership to enable pharmaceutical and life sciences clients to improve production operations

PR Newswire | January 23, 2024

CGI, one of the largest business and IT consulting companies in the world, today announced a partnership with Körber aimed at enabling pharmaceutical and life sciences companies to improve their production processes by combining CGI's end-to-end services with Körber's Werum PAS-X Manufacturing Execution System (MES) Suite. The global partnership is designed to help clients increase efficiency, accuracy, and safety in pharma products and enhance decision-making through access to real-time data. "CGI works side-by-side with clients to transform data into actionable insights to drive smart, sustainable and resilient operations," said Tim Hurlebaus President, U.S. Commercial & State Government operations and global executive sponsor for CGI's health and life sciences business. "This includes combining the benefits of MES and Industry 5.0 to gather rich insights to enable operational excellence. Our partnership with Körber complements our offerings portfolio, enabling us to deliver innovative new services and solutions to support the needs of our pharma and life sciences clients." Körber's platform serves as a digital, real-time process controller to shorten time-to-market, lower production costs and enable a more patient-centric approach, improving outcomes and leading to improved health. Compliant with Good Manufacturing Practices, PAS-X MES presents a comprehensive view of data from diverse integrated systems, enabling faster and more informed decisions, which can be a critical advantage in an industry where timing and accuracy are paramount. "Our PAS-X Products and Service Suites facilitate seamless digital transformation projects at our customers globally. By combining forces with CGI's global presence, expertise and complementary service portfolio in pharma and life sciences, we can offer a unique and compelling value proposition. CGI is one of the key partners to continue to expand our offering to our global customers" says Jan-Henrik Dieckert, COO Software, Körber Business Area Pharma. Embedding robust IT and operational technology (OT) security, CGI's business consulting and MES services expertise enables faster, more seamless, and operationally integrated implementation of the platform, including transformation through technical integration, data migration, and organizational change management and adoption. "In our global client insights research, pharma and life sciences executives said optimizing operations is their top business priority. CGI serves as a trusted advisor to help them achieve this priority through ROI-led digitization investments," said Maiken Lykke, Senior Vice-President, CGI Denmark. "We work collaboratively with clients to build solutions that tailor the right mix of services and technologies for their needs. We are pleased to partner with Körber to address the unique client challenges in this industry." CGI delivers clinical and IT solutions for 11 of the top 20 global biotech and pharmaceutical companies, including helping these organizations optimize their processes; launch new therapies for cancer and rare diseases; and drive digital transformation across their research & development, manufacturing and commercial functions globally. About CGI Founded in 1976, CGI is among the largest independent IT and business consulting services firms in the world. With 91,500 consultants and professionals across the globe, CGI delivers an end-to-end portfolio of capabilities, from strategic IT and business consulting to systems integration, managed IT and business process services and intellectual property solutions. CGI works with clients through a local relationship model complemented by a global delivery network that helps clients digitally transform their organizations and accelerate results. CGI Fiscal 2023 reported revenue is C$14.30 billion. About Körber We are Körber – an international technology group with more than 12,000 employees at over 100 locations worldwide and a common goal: We turn entrepreneurial thinking into customer success and shape the technological change. In the Business Areas Digital, Pharma, Supply Chain, and Technologies, we offer products, solutions and services that inspire. We act fast to customer needs, we execute ideas seamlessly, and with our innovations we create added value for our customers. In doing so, we are increasingly building on ecosystems that solve the challenges of today and tomorrow. Körber AG is the holding company of the Körber Group.

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PHARMA TECH

Medison Pharma Announces Agreement with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to Commercialize Libtayo (cemiplimab) in Multiple Countries

PR Newswire | January 08, 2024

Medison Pharma ("Medison"), a global pharma company focused on providing access to highly innovative therapies to patients in international markets, announced today their exclusive multi-national agreement with Regeneron Ireland DAC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a leading biotechnology company that invents, develops and commercializes life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases, to commercialize Libtayo (cemiplimab), a fully human monoclonal antibody targeting the immune checkpoint receptor PD-1 on T cells, in select European markets and additional markets around the world. Libtayo was invented in laboratories at Regeneron, which acquired exclusive worldwide development, commercialization, and manufacturing rights to the medicine from Sanofi in July 2022. Medison and Regeneron will work together with all stakeholders and regulatory authorities to facilitate a seamless transition of commercialization activities to Medison during the first half of 2024. Libtayo, which was invented using Regeneron's proprietary VelocImmune® technology, is currently approved by regulatory authorities in more than two dozen countries, including by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). In select markets, it is approved as monotherapy treatment for certain patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma (BCC), as monotherapy treatment for certain patients with advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC), as both monotherapy or in combination with chemotherapy for certain patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and/or as monotherapy treatment for certain patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer. Libtayo is a leading and first-in-class PD-1 inhibitor approved for the treatment of two non-melanoma skin cancers and is considered standard of care in these indications. "Our multi-regional commercial platform is a great fit for Regeneron's go-to-market plan and another great opportunity for Medison to facilitate access to highly innovative therapies for people suffering from rare and severe diseases," said Meir Jakobsohn, Founder and Executive Chairman of Medison. "Regeneron's selection of Medison is yet another testimony of the unique value that our multi-regional solution can generate for innovative biotech companies wishing to focus on selected markets." "We are proud to partner with Regeneron," said Gil Gurfinkel, CEO of Medison. "Our one-of-a-kind centralized, unified commercial platform, with single alliance management across multiple markets and regions, is of great value to more and more leading biotech companies. Our platform enables biotech companies to transform numerous complex and fragmented markets and regions into a unified territory." About Libtayo Libtayo is a fully human monoclonal antibody targeting the immune checkpoint receptor PD-1 on T cells and was invented using Regeneron's proprietary VelocImmune technology. By binding to PD-1, Libtayo has been shown to block cancer cells from using the PD-1 pathway to suppress T-cell activation. In the U.S. and other countries Libtayo is indicated in certain patients with advanced BCC, advanced CSCC and advanced NSCLC, as well as in advanced cervical cancer in the European Union, Canada and Brazil. As of July 1, 2022, Libtayo is developed and marketed globally by Regeneron. Outside of the U.S., the generic name for Libtayo is cemiplimab. The extensive clinical program for Libtayo is focused on difficult-to-treat cancers. Libtayo is currently being investigated in trials as a monotherapy, as well as in combination with either conventional or novel therapeutic approaches for other solid tumors and blood cancers. These potential uses are investigational, and their safety and efficacy have not been evaluated by any regulatory authority. About Medison Pharma Medison is a global pharma company focused on providing access to highly innovative therapies to patients in international markets. Medison is the first to create an international commercialization platform for highly innovative therapies, helping to save and improve lives by making the best available novel treatments accessible to patients in international markets. Medison has a track record of multi-territorial partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies seeking to expand their global reach.

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