2022 Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award Finalists: Go to Market

Nine teams across three categories — each reflecting a different type of breakthrough thinking, considering the various ways in which innovation drives SAP’s success — are competing for this year’s Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award.

Here, meet the 2022 Go to Market finalists.


The Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award is the highest
employee recognition at SAP, awarded annually by the CEO
to an individual or a team.


Demo Experiences with Persona-Driven Storytelling

Every customer journey leads to opportunities for SAP to showcase solutions, shape its market presence, and demonstrate value to its customers. “However,” says Milan Cerny, who works in Value Experience at SAP, “one of the biggest issues addressed is that customers often do not understand our offerings well enough.”

This finding was the trigger for Cerny and his team of nine to work on the demo tool Interactive Value Journeys. It closes the gap between high-level marketing materials and in-depth product demos by providing a platform for value-driven storytelling for customers, focusing on their business needs and how SAP can help.

Interactive Value Journeys

Click the button below to load the content from YouTube.

Interactive Value Journeys

Video by Matthew Dillman

The team, which consists of designers, developers, and solution managers in various locations across Germany, started working on a prototype in May of 2021. They quickly rolled it out to a select group of early adopters to achieve efficient feedback and development cycles. Based on initial input, the team developed the foundation of their demo tool, including the mandatory inclusion of personas and value drivers in each journey. Incremental improvements have led to a larger release, which reflected the feedback gathered from usability testing, interviews, and the embedded feedback functionality.

The creation and authoring of Interactive Value Journeys require very little effort, as the tool standardizes visual and structural aspects and thus takes away complexity from authors. This does not limit flexibility in how content is laid out and put together; rather, it allows authors to focus on the content and storytelling.

The Interactive Value Journeys tool already has an active authoring community and has been used in various customer scenarios, on the partner portal, and in other instances. Cerny is confident about its future: “More than 4,700 unique users and over 68,000 hits in 2022 prove that Interactive Value Journeys should become an additional, essential piece of the tool kit SAP is using to position itself in the market.”


Finalist Fast Facts

  • Submission Title: Interactive Value Journeys
  • Team: Elena Baur, Lina Gonzalez Garcia, Ruben Stoesser, Carlo Kloss, Marco Heumann, Christian Weber, Helena Schloeter, Tim Krohne, Milan Cerny
  • Number of employees: Nine
  • Achievement: The development and launch of a standardized, consistent, and highly customizable solution to deliver value-centric and persona-driven demo experiences
  • Impact: Interactive Value Journeys provide simplified yet relevant content that focuses on customers’ needs and challenges, serving as a valuable addition to no-touch and low-touch customer engagements.

Optimized and Data Privacy-Compliant Conversations with Customers

Sales and marketing executives are often flying in the dark when determining a customer’s interest and if they are allowed to talk to them considering data privacy restrictions. That is why Christopher Salvatore and seven colleagues from the Data Privacy, Compliance, and Technology team came up with their idea.

“We wanted to qualify the customer as center of the decision and, by analyzing what specific topic they want from us with an all-encompassing view, if we are allowed to even talk to them under privacy law,” Salvatore says.

Contact Interest Intelligence

Click the button below to load the content from YouTube.

Contact Interest Intelligence

Video by David Aguirre

The team developed Contact Interest Intelligence, a tool that uses contact interaction data from various sales and marketing systems and, via a new Contact Interest Intelligence engine, determines if SAP has legitimate interest to communicate with a contact and in which topics they are interested.

The team consists of data privacy professionals from sales and marketing, data curators, operational leads, source systems, and SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) cloud architects, and has been working on the tool for four years. It was built with the requirements of two business units: global sales and marketing.

“For sales, it started with a privacy-focused idea around automating the understanding and legal basis of legitimate interest. For marketing, it was a need to recognize the contacts’ ‘topic’ interest from an operational and privacy perspective,” Salvatore explains. “It was not until we combined efforts that we saw this program take off.”

Contact Interest Intelligence first enables specific customer interest conversations by eliminating redundant and conflicting messages, so the customer or prospect receives focused, relevant responses from both SAP sales and marketing. The result is a better, streamlined SAP experience for customers. Additionally, the prospect opts out less because they are receiving information relevant to their needs.

Next, Contact Interest Intelligence offers legitimate interest calculations. The tool considers more than 80 different global data privacy laws, export controls, and the like, taking the complexity away from sales and marketing. Based on previous interactions with sales and marketing, the tool also suggests next steps for the contact on their topic of interest.

The team is using cloud solutions from SAP, such as SAP BTP, SAP Event Mesh, and SAP HANA Cloud, to show that SAP can innovate from within. Recently, they submitted Contact Interest Intelligence for a global patent, and plan to commercialize the tool sometime in late 2023.


Finalist Fast Facts

  • Submission Title: Contact Interest Intelligence
  • Team: Mike Hollitscher, Scott Lawley, Christopher Salvatore, Asha Iyengar, Subrah Kappagantula, James Pagel, Pavan Yanmanagandla, Benjamin Smokovich
  • Number of employees: A team of eight, with many subject matter experts and supporters over the past four years
  • Achievement: Enables optimized and data privacy-compliant conversations with customers
  • Impact: Contact Interest Intelligence is U.S. patent pending and commercialization is planned for 2023. It could make SAP a leader in privacy and sales optimization tools.

Finalist: Digital, Customer-Centric Platform for Sales Acceleration

Back in 2019, Sandrine Pons, project leader in the Solution Sales & Innovation team, Midmarket EMEA North, set a task for her team: “We need to put our customers in the driving seat on their journey to discover the right solutions for their business requirements.”

The team of eight accepted the challenge. They wanted to simplify and humanize the way SAP connects with its prospects and customers and make it more sustainable.

Midmarket Business Always-On Platform of EMEA North

Click the button below to load the content from YouTube.

Midmarket Business Always-On Platform of EMEA North

Video by Esteban Villate

During their search for the right solutions to business challenges, the team found that customers required more than just demos. “Customers want to deep dive into topics by line of business and industries, understand the ecosystem of SAP, find references from peers, and explore other opportunities and future innovations,” says Pons. “In short, the customers need to interact with SAP in a meaningful and holistic way.”

When COVID-19 hit, the team had to rethink the traditional method of physical engagement — everything needed to become digital, but still maintain that human element. To adapt to the “new normal,” they started working on the digital, all-in-one Midmarket Business Always-On Platform for EMEA North.

Pons’ team reached out to more than 400 contributors from around the world and harnessed the talents of storytellers, designers, technical experts, sales, and business people to bring the best customer experience into existence. The task was to create an immersive, entertaining, and interactive way to tell the SAP story. The platform is designed to simulate a conference center with different floors, lifts, and rooms. Users can play demos, watch videos, visit summits and exhibitions, ask questions, book meetings, and receive relevant follow-up thanks to built-in analytics. The team has used SAP-owned technology as well as their own development.

Midmarket Business Always-On Platform for EMEA North was launched in 2020 and is running continually with measured impact each year. According to the finalist team, with each euro invested, the tool generated €30 in pipeline in 2022 and €85 million altogether. The platform was also adopted by the North America Midmarket team and other line of business customer territories.

“As we upscale and develop our design and content, the platform is becoming an increasingly valuable resource for sales, partners, and customers alike, but also for consultants, analysts, future talents, and anyone outside of the technology industry,” Pons says. The team also implemented personalized follow-up options based on built-in data applications to amplify the impact of the platform.


Finalist Fast Facts

  • Submission Title: Midmarket Business Always-On Platform
  • Team: Sandrine Pons, Enda Kilroy, Sanne Corneliussen, Amaury Martin, Neil Howarth, Olivier Demeusy, Sophie Brun, Linh Le Dinh Thuy
  • Number of employees: Eight
  • Achievement: A breakthrough, digital, and customer-first platform that has generated over €80 million in pipeline, achieved 60% net-new named customers, and signed more than 150 deals since 2020. It has scaled to run different events for all customer territories and regions around the globe, with two-times year-over-year growth.
  • Impact: Midmarket Business Always-On Platform transforms SAP’s digital engagement with partners, customers, and prospects using our own technologies. Instigates a digital breakthrough with scalable opportunities that will directly generate pipeline and impact sales revenue. The platform has a 92% customer satisfaction rate.