A ZDNet Multiplexer Blog What's this?

Gazprom’s Shockingly Sensible RFP

Russia’s natural gas exporter, Gazprom, caused a kerfuffle when it issued an RFP for a ‘super tablet’ for the CEO last summer. But really, it’s shocking because it’s so… rational.

There was a collective gasp in technology circles at an announcement Gazprom, Russia’s natural gas exporter, made over the summer. The state-run company issued a tender for a tablet computer for the CEO that will do all the things his desktop computer does. It has to support 3G, GPRS and Wi-Fi, and allow the chief executive to monitor all aspects of the business from wherever he’s at. Maximum price: 119.7 rubles (3.7 million USD).

It’s shocking. But not for the reason you might think.

If I put my traditional IT hat on, then I say, ‘Ah, but it isn’t as simple as that. In order to make all those apps work, you need an infrastructure underneath them. You need an alphabet soup of enterprise management systems: enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise asset management (EAM), supply chain management (SCM), and human resources (HR) systems. You need mobile device management.’ The list goes on and on.

But I’m taking that hat off, because that’s the wrong way to think. And this tender is actually the right way. That’s why it’s shocking. Because it’s so right, and also so contrary to the typical approach.

From a traditional IT perspective, Gazprom could seem naive. But really, this should be exactly where enterprise technology design begins: With a business user who says, "I want to run my business better, and simpler. So much simpler, in fact, that all I need is my iPad."

THAT is the right way to think about the problem.

At SAP we tackle exactly this kind of user demand all the time. We call it ‘Design Thinking’. After all, they’re the customers. They tell us what problems they need to solve. We figure out how to deliver it.

For example, SAP used a Design Thinking approach to help this oil and gas company improve the productivity and safety of its maintenance teams. See more here.

We used Design Thinking to help this water heater manufacturer improve the experience of their customers. See more here

This Design Thinking approach helped a global health care company focus on what matters most: saving lives. Read the full story.

So this isn't a crazy RFP. It’s perhaps one of the most sensible ones I've ever seen.