My innovation or yours

My innovation or yours?

Wärtsilä’s SAP Cloud Hackathon was more than just a competition. It was about coming together and creating value, for participants, for customers, and for Wärtsilä.

Text: SOFIA KILPIKIVI Photo: KATARIINA SALMI

One crisp morning in September, the Wärtsilä Headquarters was filled with excitement as six teams comprising employees from different parts of the world came together with SAP vendors to compete in a SAP Hackathon named a Piece of Cloud.

This is the third hackathon organised by Wärtsilä, following Digisauna and an analytics-focused event. It was a two and a half-day event, focusing on the SAP business operations and customer relations software. The goal for the teams was to innovate and create a prototype to showcase the business value of the SAP Cloud Platform. The mandate given to the teams was to create new, agile, and user-friendly services.

   

Team bonding

On the day of the event, the conference rooms at the Wärtsilä HQ were filled with suitcases, kids’ puzzles and post-it notes. No-one seemed to be exhausted, though. ”We were still up at three AM,” says Thomas Dewilde from Digital Payments team. This was his first hackathon, and also his first time in Finland and at Wärtsilä headquarters.

Hackathons are hard work, but the participants enjoyed themselves. When interviewed, they sang a similar tune –  ”The experience has been amazing, the teamwork has been great and we have learnt a lot.” Or like Dewilde put it: ”This has been bliss! I love my team!”

And then the participants got down to work. They collected their presenting tools and put on their SAP Hackathon T-shirts. Coffee definitely kept them going.

   
May the best idea win

It was soon time to pitch. Each team was given five minutes to present their idea. ”Focus on selling!” was the last piece of advice they received.

The teams came up with varied innovations from solving customer service problems to “controlling the unpredictable” issues such as natural disasters. After the pitches, judges gathered to make a decision.
After a short but suspenseful wait, it was time to announce the winning team. “Sometimes the least sexy idea is the best”, the judges argued, and then revealed the winner: Innovation named Admin Billing Automation by the team led by Vanessa Fernandez. The judges pointed out that Fernandez’s team had an innovation that was pragmatic, easy and simple. “Simple is efficient!”

For Fernandez, this was her first hackathon. ”I enjoyed this experience, meeting all these people, and also this opportunity to step out our daily work”, she said, jubilant. ”It is inspiring to look at things differently and it has been very interesting to find out all these capabilities in the cloud storage side.”

Finally the participants went home and got some well-deserved sleep. But the impact SAP hackathon made will linger on. ”I’ll take this experience with me,” summed up Dewilde. The other participants would agree.

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