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Guy Lauwers

Director of Innovative Business Services and Solutions

This is just the beginning of the digital identity movement. I’m proud that SAP can facilitate in this space.

Guy Lauwers,
Director of Innovative Business Services and Solutions, 
Winner of the SAP Services Heroes Awards

Making a Positive Impact During a Challenging Time

If you live almost anywhere on planet Earth, you have likely been impacted by the global pandemic, in ways either big or small; on a personal level or a professional one. One huge impact has been on interstate travel in the European Union (E.U.), as governments coming out of stringent lockdowns struggle to set up systems and solutions to enable freedom of movement, while still ensuring the safety of their citizens.

SAP, like many businesses, was also dramatically impacted by the pandemic: employees began working from home, some of having never done so; customer visits and other events were canceled; and meetings went virtual. At the same time, SAP rapidly put its technical acumen to work on developing innovative solutions to help combat the pandemic. One of those solutions was the COVID-19 Gateway, a development program at the behest of the E.U., and one that had the staunch support of the entire SAP Board.

The aim of the COVID-19 Gateway Program was to develop a central application to exchange secure digital COVID-19 certificates between countries, allowing European citizens the freedom to travel easily from one member country to another. SAP and T-Systems would lead the program. The goal was to help accelerate the reopening of the Eurozone in a safe and coordinated way, while facilitating travel and collaboration.

Guy Lauwers, Director of Innovative Business Services and Solutions, led the program for SAP, managing stakeholder expectations and internal alignments, as well as being involved in negotiations between E.U. member states. “The biggest challenge was getting all the member states aligned,” he recalled. “We needed to ensure they kept to the agreed upon specifications, even as we were developing in parallel.”

Although pivoting to 100% remote work was not a huge adjustment for Guy and his team at SAP, the concept of work-life balance became non-existent because of the extreme urgency of the situation and compressed development timeline. Fortunately, Guy and his team developed a great working relationship with SDI, which made things much easier.

According to Guy, the E.U. commission had been concerned about the tight timeframe, but SAP and T-Systems delivered on time and in quality. “The E.U. was amazed at what we had accomplished. It took only an hour for the acceptance phase,” he recalled.

In the meanwhile 700 million certificates are generated and exchanged via Corona Gateway, 51 countries are connected, giving much needed momentum to travel and commerce in and outside Europe. “This is one of several important tools to help resolve the health crisis; and this technology can also be used for any future pandemics,” said Guy.

Even with the compressed time frame and urgency of the project, Guy and his team had an incredible wellspring of energy to get the job done. “Everyone was focused on the go live and helping to improve the health crisis,” he said. And they worked hard to earn the trust of the European Union stakeholders. “They trusted the synergy of T-Systems and SAP together,” he said.

Guy is grateful that SAP gave him the opportunity to lead this program and feels deep satisfaction that this technology will be used for years to come. He is incredibly honored to have won the Services Hero Award in recognition of his hard work. “This year marks 25 years that I’ve been at SAP, and this couldn’t be a better present,” he said. But he emphasized that this was a team effort, made possible by everyone collaborating closely together, “I’m very proud of this award, but I’m one person among many.”

Guy looks forward to continuing to innovate in this domain and many others for SAP customers. “This is what makes me happy,” he said. Indeed, there are a lot of potential applications for the Gateway technology, beyond facilitating safe travel in Europe. Guy is convinced that it will change the future: “This is just the beginning of the digital identity movement. I’m proud that SAP can facilitate in this space.”

Learn more about the Digital Covid Certificate.

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