Back to the future: Magnus blends ancestral roots with the future of business 

Jay Smith, in his recent performance at Melodifestivalen (Sweden’s song contest to find our representative for EuroVision), crooned: “Now I’m heading back to the start. I’m back to my roots now, baby!” This line draws parallels with Magnus Olsson Blomqvist’s career at DeLaval, where he’s come almost full circle by merging his farming roots with his passion for technology as an SAP engineer. However, unlike Jay’s song, Magnus’s journey doesn’t involve any “crashing and burning” elements — instead it was a smooth transition that successfully integrated his passions. We sat down with him to discuss his background, why he’s excited to be part of “Northern Europe’s most exciting SAP-focused transformation,” and the challenges and opportunities he sees ahead. 

While he was primarily raised in Täby, a suburb in the northern part of Stockholm, Sweden, Magnus has strong farming roots with his great- and grandparents being farmers hailing from Småland, in the south of Sweden: “Their influence is still felt today in our family — from the old farmhouse where my father grew up to our nearby summer place, the countryside holds a special place in our hearts.” 

Working with DeLaval also keeps the connection to his ancestors alive – but he also merges the past with the latest technology that’s propelling the industry forward. 

“I think my grandparents wouldn’t believe how far farming has come! Things like machines that clean up manure automatically and robots that scratch cows’ backs—it’s all pretty incredible. It shows how clever and innovative people can be, and I feel lucky to be part of farming as it keeps changing and improving.

For example, there are so many technical advancements in the background, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence. It’s like every cow has its own smartwatch, monitoring its health, whereabouts, and milk production. I mean, that’s fascinating. There are just so many tools and data to work with, so many statistics to analyse – it’s a whole new ballgame.” 

And IT also factors heavily into this equation. After all, it’s not just cool robots like DeLaval’s Voluntary Milking System (VMS) that are driving change; Magnus is also directly helping to further improve the dairy industry as part of DeLaval’s large-scale SAP business transformation programme – programme one – ensuring that the correct processes are in place for customers to easily order the latest technology to make dairy farming even more sustainable. 

While Magnus has worked in the SAP field for more than 20 years, mainly as a consultant, he says the area still excites him since because of its “dynamic technical environment that is constantly changing, presenting me with exciting challenges.”

Exciting challenges — and opportunities — were something that served up to Magnus when he started at DeLaval in the summer of 2021, with the large-scale transformation program just on the horizon.

Before we delve into Magnus’s role at DeLaval, let’s quickly unpack what SAP is and why it’s so important to companies like DeLaval. 

SAP, short for Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing, is a widely-used enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite. It helps businesses manage operations efficiently by integrating functions such as finance, human resources, manufacturing, supply chain management, and customer relationship management into a unified system. SAP streamlines processes like order processing, communication with farmers (customers), and financial tracking, ensuring smooth operations and prompt revenue collection. It’s crucial for optimising business processes and increasing efficiency and profitability. 

“Essentially, SAP will allow us to more easily go from point A to point B – from the order phase to the delivery phase. It encompasses everything in between, including many small processes that need to be taken care of. Using SAP S/4HANA – a business suite that allows companies to perform transactions and analyse business data in real time – will enable us to transition to a new, potentially faster and more efficient way of working, which is very exciting for me as a technical guy!” 

While SAP S/4HANA adjustment modernises our processes, it won’t alter how we present our products to customers.  

“DeLaval’s sales personnel, along with our dealers, will maintain the personal touch that we believe is essential, directly demonstrating our products to farmers. This transition will greatly benefit our representatives, streamlining order placement and tracking. Currently, some manual steps in the process hinder efficiency; our goal is to automate these steps, simplifying the workload for our dealers.” 

And while he finds it exciting to not only replace older products with the latest ones but also ensure that everything works together seamlessly integrated – is the challenge that he thrives on. 

“Since DeLaval operates in many countries, it’s a challenge to ensure everything functions smoothly in each country. It’s not just Sweden from our point of view; there are many other aspects we need to address. Ensuring everything works on a global level is exhilarating. It’s exciting that we at DeLaval can undertake such a major and bold project! Once everything is properly implemented, we know it will give us a kickstart and make us an even better company for dealers, customers, and employees.” 

Bob the Builder of SAP

Magnus has a very big role in this process as an SAP Architect, Service Manager and the IT Process Owner of the SAP Platform. He can be seen as a builder, even Bob the Builder, using his toolkit to fix any problems that come his way!

“In this job, my main aim is to make sure the DeLaval SAP system works well in the current setup, even though we’re in the middle of moving things around as part of the big project. So, I have to keep the old system running smoothly while also setting up the new ones. My job is to be the link or mediator between the business and the IT side, making sure everything works together smoothly. Basically, with my technical background, I’m like the backbone of the SAP system.” 

As an SAP architect rather than an SAP consultant, Magnus said his role has shifted ‘to the other side,’ but thankfully not to the Dark Side (sorry I couldn’t resist a Star Wars reference!).  

“I used to fix tasks given to me, but now I delegate and oversee projects, taking on a more architectural role. It’s a shift from doing tasks to deciding which tasks to assign. It’s challenging yet very interesting, requiring me to navigate between stakeholders to keep everyone happy, both internally and with our suppliers, but I have some good partners to work with to get this going and this role really suits me. “I’m a positive guy from the get-go — a glass-half-full guy. And I mean, I try to get the whole perspective of everything and get the opinions from all sides and try to get everything to work together.” 

The desire to make everything work smoothly it what initially attracted Magnus to this field. After finishing his studies at a technical high school, his interest in technology and computers led him to study computer science at the Royal Institute of Technology. It did not take long into his working career before he came across SAP. It serves as a central product, encouraging more interaction with people compared to isolated roles.  

Since joining the SAP ‘pool’, Magnus hasn’t looked back. The SAP field feels like a small community, creating a sense of being part of a big family. Whenever he attends events, he gets to reconnect with old colleagues, which he says is “really nice”. 

Finally, when asked to sum up working at DeLaval he says: “Reflecting on the transition from traditional farming to today’s high-tech agricultural practices is truly fascinating. Witnessing the evolution from manual labor on the farm to the advanced technology now in use is like witnessing history come alive. It’s a reminder of how far we’ve come in just a few generations. And in my professional life, I’m immersed in a dynamic technical environment that constantly challenges and excites me. The journey we’re on is captivating, and while it may take time, I’m optimistic about the future.” 

And when he isn’t transforming business operations at DeLaval, he enjoys spending time with his wife (who recently got married after 15 years together) and three children, with activities that range from gymnastics to Muay Thai and even Aeromodelling Free Flight competitions. They also enjoy being as active as they can – from engaging in many skiing activities to traveling to sun–filled destinations and attending sport events, preferably when AIK plays.