Transformation is imperative for most companies today. In a fast-paced environment marked by digitization, organizations face threats that emerge faster and from a broader range of competitors than ever before. In this environment, some businesses must transform their organizations to stay competitive, while others are experiencing a decline in performance and require drastic measures to turn things around.
As a result, CEOs cannot concentrate solely on short-term operational improvements. They must also present a strategy for new growth—the transformation’s success chapter. This entails challenging the firm’s business model’s foundations, developing a new vision for growth (via new products, services, and value propositions), and a pure commitment to innovation.
There are additional traits and abilities that come with confidence. When CEOs are confident in themselves, they also have confidence in the company they are in charge of, its employees, and the work everyone completes to bring even more success to the organization.
Some of the best CEOs are genuinely enthusiastic about their work and the company they lead. This is usually because they believe in the mission statement and values of the company and want others to do the same. Employees notice these qualities in their leaders and are inspired to emulate them in their work.
CEOs keep their promises, finish their work, communicate effectively, share company news on time, and make time and resources available to employees. When a CEO is dependable, employees can have faith in the organization’s potential.
Striving towards the horizons of success with all these attributes that exhibit exceptional leadership and sheer brilliance is Christopher Carter, CEO of Approyo.
With almost 30 years of experience in the SAP industry, Christopher Carter founded Approyo to provide full SAP service technology with extensive capabilities in hosting and managing services, upgrades, and migrating its clients, running any AP-supported core functionality.
Under Christopher’s adept leadership, Approyo provides full SAP service technology with extensive capabilities in hosting and managed services, upgrades, and migrations for its customers, running any SAP-supported core functionality.
With over a thousand SAP environments under management around the globe, the organization supports businesses from production landscapes to migrations onto SAP S/4 HANA.
In this exclusive interview with Insights Success, Christopher shares valuable facts highlighting his professional tenure, journey, and the significance of Approyo as a global leader in the dynamic business arena.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Approyo. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
My journey has been a long and winding trail of success and failure of highs and lows of growth and stagnation. It’s one thing that makes me proud of my current status in this journey, as every executive will learn, and every executive knows no path is a straight line.
As such, I started out as a young man in Wisconsin, having grown up in the home of a parent who was on the social welfare system. We lived in and out of different homes with different friends and coaches throughout my youth. As we finally settled down for my high school years, I gravitated toward business and athletics.
One of the things that caught my eye early in 1984 was computers. I literally bought the first Commodores Vic 20. It was the first time I ever coded on a computer. It was a cool experience. I had seagulls flying across my screen, and I was soon creating my own video games and code.
Some of the trials and tribulations as I went through college learning about a new SAP creativity called R3 were surreal. There were highs and lows growths and stunts, but at the end of the day, it’s not how many times you get knocked down. It’s how many times you get up and keep moving forward. Can you take a punch? Can you take a hit and keep moving forward?
As Sylvester Stallone quoted in the great movie rocky, I was fortunate in my early years to be able to run with some SAP folks who have taken to executive positions; having good friends in the ecosystem is always exciting and beneficial. We can share ideas, thoughts and concepts with each other.
Even when I was highly leveraged in one of my companies, with one of our clients taking up 70% of all billable activities, and when that came crashing down, I learned very quickly the next direction not to put all my eggs in one basket.
I also learned very quickly to trust other executives and team members. Why did I learn this? Because some offshore team members out into the world of SAP do it for no other reason than to hide and be disruptive to the ecosystem.
One thing that I continue to learn today is that you have to be very careful about whom you hire, especially when it comes to consultants in overseas capacities; too many times, they are working for two 3-4 different companies at the same time, and it just is a disruption on you your company and your remaining staff.
Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.
Approyo has a firm mission to support any company running SAP software and to support them with the best skilled and most supportive staff members around the planet.
We provide full SAP service technology with extensive capabilities in hosting and managing services upgrades and migrations for our customers running any SAP-supported core functionality. Our true mission is to ensure that the customer can sleep soundly at night and not be interrupted by any sort of outage or support issue; we put your mind to ease.
Enlighten us on the impact of your work through your expertise in the market.
I feel that you can see the impact of our work in the market almost every day. We are still known as one of the first partner companies to launch an SAP production environment in an encapsulated VM or cloud environment. When we launched that at sapphire, phones were ringing, text messages were going off questions were being asked how is this possible? This is not approved yet; who’s doing this, and why are they doing this? Finally, it came down to someone finding me, Christopher Carter, immediately!
Our expertise starts in the SAP landscape and that clouded environment that companies use to run the environment. With we believe in taking full control and working hand in hand with our partners and our customers on a day-in and day-out basis, so our expertise in the marketplace shines through with every customer that we work with and every partner that we engage with.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
The values we bring to the table internally as an organization start at the top. I know many companies like to write a mission or value statement, and then it’s just a piece of paper not for me. I know what it’s like to be that consultant on the road. I know what it’s like to be the executive behind the desk worried about their systems being secured or unsecured and being attacked being vulnerable.
I know what it’s like to have those tough conversations through HR. I know what it’s like to have tough conversations with my staff members, so the work culture that I’ve tried to cultivate is semi-family. At the end of the day, I get it.
People work for me and with me, but I also treat them as if some family members would be treated like bringing them inside the fence. I may be a little bit more open with staff members than maybe most companies would be, but I also feel that by being a part of a team and being part of a family and working together hand in hand with my staff.
A quick story of one of my staff members who has been with us for several years now was a very green SAP consultant out of college. He was very motivated, wanted to learn, and took the extra initiative.
I’ve tried to give him every opportunity to be what he wants to be, no matter if it’s with the cloud side of the business, the basis side of the business, or wherever that leads him year after year after year. He has grown, and he has taken new courses.
He has learned new SAP tools, and he has grown in our company every year. He has been promoted within the organization, and I value him as a person as well as a staff member by his example. I hope I’ve led that way as an example to everyone in the company.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
Technology plays an incredibly significant role in our company, from our cloud-based solutions with SAP to our tools, specifically around our Overwatch tool, cloud-based management security, and AI-based tool set.
As a managed service provider in the SAP ecosystem, we understand how important IT total landscape infrastructure is. We also understand how important your data is to the daily success of your business. There are many parts of your landscape that make management and monitoring a complex task. Still, with Overwatch, we can quickly gain a complete view of that IT infrastructure, including networks, servers, cloud containers, and applications.
We help companies avoid issues before they even occur and provide the 24 by 7—365 effective monitoring of the data and systems no matter how complex your landscape is. So as such, owning and building from scratch, this tool set gives us an advantage in helping our customers to be successful and helping you sleep easily at night.
What change would you like to bring to the IT industry if given a chance?
What would I change? Well, I would love to have every company running SAP software working with us so they can see how we put their minds at ease and how we, as an organization, are there for them to help us all become better SAP-run customers. What else would I change? I want to change the ability for more encryption from a data perspective.
Homomorphic encryption and AI-based tools are going to be a future for everyone. We just started using those tools two years ago, and they’re seeing dramatic success results with data monitoring support and proactive activities that help customers not only in the SAP ecosystem but across their entire landscape around the globe.
We are at the forefront of an empidid where Approyo will lead By example and by success from our customers around the globe, and that’s the great thing about this organization. We have customers in Europe, Asia, the United States, and Latin America. We support them in so many different manners, core SAP ECC. We even have an R3 environment that we manage and run for an organization. Our team is built around technology and how that technology can be utilized for everyone.
What, according to you, could be the next significant change in the IT sector? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
As I mentioned above, I firmly believe that homomorphic encryption and AI-based tools are the future of IT. As I stated also above, we’ve already started using those tools in situations to monitor and maintain landscapes across the globe.
When our tool is enacted and supported across an entire landscape, the ticket reduction and the ability to see into the future is greatly increased. I firmly believe that these tools are going to revolutionize how a company is managed and supported.
I no longer need 20 people to staff, manage and run a landscape. I can install Overwatch in a very small way and manage an entire landscape with a quarter of the people. I can now have you or us take the remaining staff members and use them for projects use them for new activities to grow your organizational structure and to keep you better sleeping at night with ease.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Approyo?
I so enjoy running this company. I love my staff, and to see them talk with them on a day-to-day basis, I so enjoy going to see our clients face to face as often as I can. That being said, I also love my family, and as they get older, I want to be able to interact with them a little bit more 16 and 18-hour days for 30 years is getting a little old, but I am not slowing down anytime soon.
I so want to help this ecosystem and the companies within the SAP ecosystem to be successful. The upgrade cycle that we are in is the strongest and most vulnerable upgrade cycle I’ve ever been a part of since the 1990s when we started the R3 upgrade cycle.
Imagine that 1/2 a million customers need to upgrade to the new S4, and because of that, I am motivated every day to help them to succeed because mind you, it is a strong, tough upgrade with all the modifications and changes companies make day in, and day out on their system it is not easy.
But I sure do love having conversations and helping organizations take that step. As I like to say, “Let’s all rise together,” and let’s be successful for your landscape.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the IT sector?
Do it…do it…do it…do it…there is nothing greater in my life other than my daughters and family than having started multiple companies and have grown them and nurturing them and going in knowing that when I get up at 5:00 o’clock in the morning, I may be the first one up. Still, I’m preparing the company for success; it’s on me. It’s on my shoulders.
I’m the one that wants to help customers to succeed. Then the second part of that is nurture, nurture other staff members bring in smarter people who know what you do not know to bring in staff members that will help let them be the Ying to your Yang.
Watch your productivity grow as well as theirs, and then help with the new generation behind you. Just because you’re a young entrepreneur does not mean there’s not a younger entrepreneur behind you. Remember, as you’re growing and going up the ladder of success, reach your hand back and help the next young entrepreneur come up the ladder of success.