As SAP continues its own intelligent enterprise strategy, the role of the CIO takes on new importance. In an interview with CXO Talk’s Michael Krigsman, SAP CIO Thomas Saueressig talks about managing SAP as its “own first customer” and the role of IT in customer experience.


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On the impact of the cloud on the CIO:
“If you think about all this move to the cloud, I think you recognize IT is actually becoming part of the core value chain of the company and also, actually, quite frankly, part of the product itself. Now, I’m also responsible for the customer experience of SAP from a technology perspective and the global cloud infrastructure of SAP. All our 150 million users of SAP are run by my IT organization.”

On IT’s influence on product:
“I believe, from an SAP IT perspective, we actually influence the product strategy and are part of the product: two examples of what we do… As we run, we have so much insight into the portfolio and into the integration topics, we actually defined, for instance, the integration from SAP Ariba to SAP S/4HANA. This integration was defined by the IT organization and is now the standard integration of SAP itself… I think an IT organization should be the best prepared to think about how [we] can use technology in a smart way for greater impact to the company and to the customer.”

On IT and the customer experience:
“For me, customer experience, you also need always to look at end-to-end, which means the first touchpoint is of any individual who is visiting our Web page, and we don’t have an information purpose except the IP address… It starts with the first touchpoint on the Web, and it hopefully ends with this customer has interest to get a trial system. Then most probably it will turn a trial system into a productive system. Then we have a contractual relationship, and the customer’s entered into it. Then he will receive services, and we will need to help him to adopt our solutions with customer success. If he has an issue, for sure, we need to provide the right level of support, end-to-end. We basically enable all of that.”

Watch the full interview above to learn more about IT infrastructure at SAP and how IT is the company’s customer experience enabler.

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