By Scott Russell, Member, SAP Executive Board, SAP SE, Customer Success
The world’s digital shift has accelerated drastically during the past year. Necessity has driven even the most cautious consumers and businesses to buy, sell, procure, and engage online. Some estimates suggest we have compressed five to 10 years of digitization into one.
The worst health crisis of our generation has put the world on a digital binge. This is a tough environment for all businesses to navigate, but where some see risk, others see opportunity. We are all rightly fixated on what we can do to keep our people safe, our businesses running, and our communities strong, all while thinking about how we will do things differently and better as we emerge from the pandemic. Now more than ever, SAP needs to listen to the specific challenges organizations face and act quickly to serve their best interests.
As the newly appointed Executive Board member for SAP’s Customer Success organization, my role is to represent the voice of the customer. Their stories have revolved around the imperative of digital transformation to help build resilience, agility, and profitability during the past year. We have answered by engaging in a new way that helps them acquire and use our solutions to build on these critical traits. Our customers’ voice is loud and clear: They want to digitally transform into a full-cloud future.
More than three-quarters of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system, with $3.5 trillion in B2B spend crossing our business network annually, and 98% of the 100 most valued brands running on our innovations. Although hundreds of thousands of organizations have already moved significant portions of their workloads to the cloud with SAP during the past decade, the transition of our global economy to the cloud will accelerate this year.
We plan to unleash offerings, commercial models, and partnerships that will enable our customers to make the cloud migration at an unprecedented scale, transitioning entire industries and whole economies to a better way of doing business.
This isn’t just about infrastructure. At its core, this shift is about innovation. By running full cloud with SAP, organizations will be able to better modernize, standardize, and digitize — opening up new business models and revenue streams.
SAP must also transform to meet evolving customer expectations — and we put two important foundations in place last year to prepare for this shift. First, we accelerated our investment in cloud capability across the company. We announced more research and development, greater co-innovation, and better integration, as well as improved security, reliability, and availability across all of our solutions. Our aim is to overdeliver on value and experience, with every solution and in every interaction.
Second, in March last year, we brought together all of our customer-facing teams — sales, services, customer engagement, and others — under the single-mandate and board area of customer success. The premise and outcome have been a streamlined experience in engagements with our customers, strengthened relationships as evidenced by our significant increase in net promoter score, as well as a focused feedback loop through to engineering that ensures our customers’ voice inspires every line of code, every business process, and every single digital interaction. In short, we have shaped our entire organization around the customer and fine-tuned how we work together and with our partners to deliver a full-cloud future.
Looking ahead, the voice of our customer needs to reach even deeper into our organization. My promise is to channel the voice of our more than 440,000 customers as we accelerate this transition to the cloud, deliver long-term value, and innovate new solutions, business models, and commercial models.
Our announcement of a strategic partnership with global technology services company NTT late last year is a case in point. We combined SAP technologies around the Internet of Things, edge computing, and machine learning with NTT’s industry-leading suite of information and communications technology (ICT) and hybrid cloud capabilities. These connected value chain solutions, which NTT and SAP will co-innovate, aim to deliver a more unified and automated collaboration across customers, suppliers, retailers, manufacturers, and logistics providers. This is a salient example of what is to come at scale: Not only delivering on customers’ digital transformation needs but reinventing how businesses run.
Globally, we have 100,000 people geared up to serve our customers, and we must stay focused on being a local partner that understands the nuances of specific countries and industries. This means putting global knowledge, skills, and insights in local hands and providing easy access to the best of what SAP has to offer.
We’ll know we’ve succeeded when more customers in every market and every industry fully adopt and consume our technologies to derive the greatest possible value from them. This is our ambition and my passion for our customers in a full-cloud future with SAP.