"Where we are today is very clearly the result of using technology very smartly - both the technology we put into our devices and the technology we use to help us make those devices," Clarke told the conference's 9,000 delegates.
Clarke said Nokia's huge growth in the 1990s had been constrained by the inability of its IT systems to cope with the company's fast expansion.
"The supply chain was unable to cope with this rapid growth and parts of the IT ended up being criticised in the annual report," he said.
He said SAP had played a key role in helping the company turn around. Nokia is now moving away from being a mobile phone handset manufacturer to focus on providing new types of mobile services to customers, like music players and maps of their locality. Global growth in Asia and Africa means Nokia must adapt its products to different consumers.
"SAP has been a very strategic partner. We have had to exploit SAP technology to the full. The right architecture is a key enabler. It has allowed us to provide truly global services," he said.
Colgate's McGarry said SAP technology helps the company to communicate and work with partners. He said, "The customer relationship management system (CRM) has been crucial in reaching out to professional partners, like the dentistry industry, and understand what's going on in their world and their businesses."
He said, "The strategy for us was very clear. We looked to build a business framework of capability all around the world. We wanted to expand our network beyond our own company and SAP allows us to do that."
Both companies have followed SAP's example of creating a business "ecosystem" of global partners to support international growth.