BMW CEO Experience


The latest in our occasional series where we pair a CEO and a BMW X-Series car. This time with Markus Hilken, the German boss of SAP Labs Hungary.

With Markus Hilken, SAP Labs Hungary

BBJ: How did you like the X4 overall?

Markus Hilken: First of all, the car in this combination of color and with its shape makes a nice bold statement; it is definitely an eye-catcher! It usually takes me not more than 30 seconds when getting into a car to feel comfortable and at “home” or not, and here I felt immediately good!

BBJ: What was its most surprising or most useful feature?

MH: After checking several of the many features, I realized there is an analogy between BMW’s ConnectedDrive and SAP’s intelligent ERP: you not only get insight information whenever you want it, but you are provided with a lot of supporting information and help when needed. For example, the heads-up display in combination with the road-sign recognition and the 360° view are just two highlights. Though the children found the possibility to change the color of the illumination the best feature of all: every single color I tried prompted a big “Wow!” from the backseats.

BBJ: What kind of driver do you consider yourself to be?

MH: Considering that as a German I am used to – and utilized intensively – the famous German Autobahn network and that I privately drive a 400 bhp sportscar from Zuffenhausen, you can call me a sporty driver. Nevertheless, I also enjoy cruising a lot, and in a pulsating city like Budapest, you had better stay calm no matter what personalities you have to deal with on the street.

BBJ: Would you recommend the X4 as a business or family car?

MH: According to my experience, I would definitely recommend this for a family. The car provides not only a spacy and comfortable interior but also sufficient space in the trunk for a longer family trip.

BBJ: What did your family think of it?

MH: As I mentioned earlier, the combination of color, shape and all the features (including weather forecast and inductive charging), meant the entire family enjoyed the car a lot and liked it very much.

BBJ: Would it suit an executive fleet?

MH: I can definitely imagine that this car will be offered in several cases, although the price-tag of the fully equipped car I had the pleasure to enjoy will give the control department a tough challenge!

BBJ: Where did you take it and why?

MH: The trip started in the forenoon bringing the children to horse-riding north of Budapest, and afterwards we continued along the Danube south via Szentendre back to Budapest; and on the next day it was through the city. So, I experienced the country roads as well as the city traffic with the car and it is well suited in both cases.

BBJ: What kind of manager would you describe yourself as?

MH: It’s a combination of several styles, mainly of visionary and coaching leadership, but you also, in today’s business world, need to provide transformational support to your people in their continuous development.

BBJ: How long has SAP Labs been in Hungary?

MH: SAP Labs Hungary was founded in 2005, initially with 50 developers.

BBJ: What is your current staff headcount?

MH: It has grown further from 500 when I became the managing director in 2013 to 1,100 employees today.

BBJ: Are there any special attributes about SAP’s presence in Hungary?

MH: SAP Labs in Hungary is SAP’s biggest development location in the region. In addition, we are focusing on having the whole lifecycle from development, cloud operations, maintenance and support for dedicated products at our locations, which enables us to provide the best customer experience with our products.

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