As companies continue their digital transformation journeys, customer experience is a key theme that remains top of mind across varying businesses and industries. Specifically, it is strategic to improving sales and revenues, as well as positively impacting the brand in the minds of new customers and partners.

Customer experience is a driving force behind SAP’s own digital transformation efforts and is of the highest priorities for success in building a seamless digital journey for our customers. As we’ve delved deeper into SAP’s digital transformation, we’ve been laser focused on championing a customer-centric ethos and being available to our customers wherever they are.

This is something I’ve written and spoken about at length during my time with SAP – creating a digital platform where customers can discover, try, buy and manage SAP and partner solutions all in one place – and it’s an especially relevant point as we dive into SAP Customer Experience LIVE this week. By connecting all touchpoints within an organization and breaking down silos between the front and back office, SAP is giving its customers control over how they experience their digital-buying journey.

Elevating Our Own Customer Experience: SAP Runs SAP

As both a customer- and experience-centric organization, SAP is leading by example, running SAP Customer Experience solutions to further enhance the experiences we create along the digital-buying journey. We truly believe in this platform and are transforming how our customers shop for SAP and partner solutions by running it ourselves. Not only is this furthering our own customer-experience efforts, it’s removing the siloed way that people previously purchased from SAP, unifying the buying process in one place: SAP.com.

The digital door to SAP – with more transactional capability over time powered by SAP Store and SAP App Center – SAP.com exemplifies our goal to create simple and connected digital customer experiences for finding, trying, buying and consuming SAP and partner solutions. Running our own solutions helps us make SAP’s integrations, extensions and new innovations even simpler to achieve and faster to integrate and propel forward. Additionally, by running on SAP Customer Experience and SAP Commerce Cloud solutions, we’re also changing the way we infuse experience into the interactions we have with employees and partners as well.

We are excited to continue running these solutions and adding more of the SAP Customer Experience portfolio for digital purchase on SAP.com. In fact, we’re pleased to announce today that the standard and professional editions of SAP Sales Cloud are now available for digital purchase on SAP.com, joining the starter edition already available there, with more planned to be available over the coming months. This will further support the creation of the best digital journey across our business, with experience serving as a core guiding principle in how we do this.

Why Experience Matters – For Customers, Partners, and Employees Alike

While there’s no doubt of its impact on sales and business as a whole, experience, as an element of the customer journey, is about significantly more than keeping customers happy. Businesses must think of all their audiences – which means prioritizing brand advocates in partners and employees, too.

Employees: The interactions that employees have with customers are critical to closing deals as well as supporting customer retention, loyalty and longevity. When employees have positive experiences, they are able to positively influence customer experience – interacting on a more personal level to help them easily and seamlessly connect via digital channels. SAP focuses heavily on facilitating these experiences for employees, leading to happier customers who place their loyalty and trust in our brand.

Partners: By prioritizing customer experiences here at SAP, we’re also creating a better partner experience as well. In doing this – making it as easy and seamless as possible for our partners to advocate on our behalf, and on behalf of our customers – SAP is ensuring that each partner is more than a third-party supplier, but an integrated extension of the brand.

Expanding Experiences Through SAP App Center

Speaking of partners, our customers can find specific partner apps side-by-side with SAP offerings on SAP.com, or easily access the entire set of ecosystem innovations on the SAP App Center to complement all their SAP solutions. This channel is a key component of SAP’s efforts in simplifying and unifying the digital-buying experience.

For example, last week NatWest Markets announced its release of an SAP premium certified commercial plug-in for SAP Commerce Cloud – FXmicropay. Now available on SAP App Center, this plug-in aids online businesses in capturing foreign-exchange margins on cross-border transactions. Access via the SAP App Center to FXmicropay on SAP Commerce Cloud enables businesses to let their customers pay for things in local currency, making local currency pricing part of a unified omnichannel customer experience.

SAP Commerce Cloud customers can download and test the FXmicropay plug-in in just a matter of hours, a key benefit of the SAP App Center. Other customer-experience-facing partners with a range of applications on SAP App Center include Mediafly, Vertex, In Mind Cloud, InsideView and more. Customers can easily discover partner applications like these to best extend and complement SAP solutions – building up customer trust and increasing sales and conversions.

Our aim continues to be hyper-focused around implementing the simplest ways, via digital channels, for SAP customers and partners to engage with us and each other online. We are here to facilitate and expand the digital-buying journey for all current and future customers and partners, with experience serving as a core tenet of how we continue to make this possible. As we move further on our own digital-transformation journey, we remain dedicated to expanding SAP’s digital offerings – working closely with partners to provide customers the kinds of experiences that bring them what they want, exactly when and where they want it.

If you’re attending SAP Customer Experience LIVE this week and would like to learn more about this, attend my session on Thursday for more details: How SAP Digital Makes It Easy for Everyone to do Business with SAP.

Bertram Schulte is chief digital officer at SAP.
@bertramschulte | LinkedIn