Dr. Marcell Vollmer, Chief Digital Officer at SAP Ariba, is the featured guest for episode 190. I met Marcell when he contributed to a five-episode podcast series publishing here soon that features social selling practices at SAP. On this episode, Marcell delivers fascinating insights into digital transformation strategies, particularly in the strategic role of procurement in a business. My conversation with Dr. Marcell Vollmer will open your eyes, as it did mine, in understanding why the procurement function in business is a front-runner in digital transformation to make any business future ready. Listen to the episode to understand why he says, “Uber yourself before someone else does.”

What is the Role of a Chief Digital Officer?

SAP Ariba is the largest B2B network connecting 3 million companies in 180 countries. The Chief Digital Officer is a new role in most industries, and their duties widely vary. As Chief Digital Officer at SAP Ariba, Marcell helps customers define and implement digital strategies.

He examines most aspects of the customer’s business model; this includes procurement, back-office functions, and the supply chain. Every business has different understandings of digital strategies, and Marcell’s job is to understand how the customer wants to drive digitalization into the core of their business. Here are three aspects he looks at for the transformation of procurement:

  1. Does it drive innovations for collaboration with suppliers?
  2. Is proper risk management in place?
  3. Is the supply chain sustainable?

His efforts ensure a future-ready business model that drives hard savings and reduces transaction costs through automation. Tune in to this episode to find out how Marcell works with the sales and marketing teams at SAP Ariba.

Common Business Challenges of a Chief Digital Officer

Dr. Vollmer points out that the biggest obstacle to ensuring a company is prepared for disruption is the notion that procurement isn’t a front-runner. He recommends that businesses have an end to end process with a roadmap that makes them future ready. Supplier innovations are difficult without an overall perspective.


SAP Ariba’s sales and marketing teams approach Marcell to drive digital transformation workshops that introduce design thinking. I’ve heard different definitions of design thinking. Marcell says it is a Stanford University methodology that is used to define creative strategies to identify a business problem. Design thinking methodology is a collaboration of many people, guided by a design thinking trained coach, to find a solution. Listen to episode 190 to find out how SAP Ariba helps their customers prepare for the future.

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