The role of CIOs and IT organizations has changed extensively, from being just service providers to now driving transformational business strategies based on intelligent enterprise solutions and advanced technologies. But for true business transformation to occur, technology – no matter how advanced – must make the everyday experience of employees better and set up the organization for long-term success.

SAP doesn’t just encourage its customers to embrace this concept: its IT team applies the same technology-driven business transformation processes internally to continually improve business functions throughout the company. The intelligent enterprise solutions created and rolled out by the SAP IT team significantly enable SAP’s day-to-day business success. These solutions are developed in close consultation with business stakeholders to help ensure they effectively support the real-world needs of the end user.

“The chief information officer is the guide to a successful digital transformation journey. To ensure superior business outcomes, IT leaders need to work closely with the business to support their transformation journey with game-changing technology – no matter if it’s about rapidly adopting new business models or optimizing business processes end-to-end,” said Sebastian Steinhaeuser, chief strategy officer, SAP SE.

Partnering for Success

It began as a project to upgrade SAP’s sales technology infrastructure at the end of 2021. SAP IT collaborated with colleagues from sales teams to visualize and successfully deliver a solution that met core business requirements and empowered end users to thrive. This partner approach led to a new SAP sales engagement platform that has streamlined sales processes using advanced automation, cloud-based tools, and data analytics.

To be successful, sales executives must clearly understand their customers’ needs. Especially in the world of cloud-based technology, appropriate recommendations and effective price negotiations require transparency and quick access to reliable data and advanced insights. Sales teams need the latest technological developments to make informed decisions and maintain their competitive edge.

SAP sales representatives now have a single-solution experience that offers improved access to competitive intelligence and compelling content to drive better deal win rates. Through process automation, an intuitive user interface, and reduced complexity, it has become the go-to hub for employees in sales and marketing to manage engagements with prospects and customers. And optimized digital demand generation is driving continuous pipeline growth, while workflow automation has improved sales efficiency.

Machine Learning Refines Opportunity Forecasting

Machine learning is one of many exciting technological advances in the headlines. Its wide application potential is helping companies speed up processes and automate tasks. It can simplify sales operations by automating tasks such as lead scoring, customer segmentation, and sales forecasting. Using machine learning algorithms, sales teams can identify the best prospects, segment customers quickly and accurately into meaningful groups, and predict future sales trends.

One area where machine learning is instrumental at SAP is predictive opportunity scoring, which helps make revenue forecasting more accurate and results in considerably lower error rates for SAP sales teams. And, by continuously aggregating and maintaining revenue forecasts predicted through machine learning with verbal forecast data from account executives, the sales organization has instant access to live revenue forecasts in the sales platform’s “digital boardroom.” These types of enhanced automated business processes can reduce manual efforts but also allow for retaining expert knowledge at the same time.

Increased Margins Through Optimized Sales Support

Transparency is an important aspect in process optimization. It is also a critical component of business accountability and an important factor for employees, customers, and investors. Especially in reference to sales and deal support, it helps reduce the risk of errors and allows for more accurate and reliable contract processing. Here, SAP IT moved sales processes to tool-based processing of digital contracts, which provided increased transparency for account executives during the contract renewal phase and further reduced the margin for errors.

“SAP’s IT organization invested time and worked with us to fully understand the fundamental requirements of our sales and post-sales operations. Now with the new sales engagement platform providing improved revenue forecasts and critical transparency for better price negotiations, we freed up time for our sales teams to focus on what they do best: selling. It’s a win-win,” said Murat Moustafa, global account director – PricewaterhouseCoopers, SAP Deutschland SE & Co. KG.

In the era of digital transformation, transparency, cross-organizational collaboration, and leveraging innovation leads to new technology solutions that are truly based on the requirements of the user.

Florian Roth is chief digital and information officer at SAP SE.