Recently, SAP partnered with the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team to upshift its IT infrastructure and become future-proof. Together with SAP, the team will tap into cloud solutions, infrastructure, and services that will enable them to thrive on and off the track.

Formula One is a technologically innovative form of motorsport, where each car features over 300 sensors onboard that generates 1.5 terabytes of data in a single race weekend – data that needs to be analyzed to detect potential performance enhancements and reliability and safety concerns.

But until the late 1960s, Formula One cars were designed on traditional drawing boards by engineers using retractable pencils and a set of French curves. This is not dissimilar to the tech industry, where for decades the value cases for investing in technology were architected for customers by busloads of engineers armed with Excel spreadsheets.

Cloud computing changed not only what technology to buy, but also how businesses engage with their vendors when making investment decisions. Enabled by new technologies like mobility and artificial intelligence (AI), customers now expect immediate responses, exponentially faster time-to-value, immersive experiences, and flexible and intuitive engagements powered by robust low-touch and self-service capabilities. Not surprisingly, industry research shows that four out of five B2B customers will want to be engaged digitally by 2025.

SAP executes digital customer engagement via digital hubs located on six continents. The hubs are home to highly collaborative teams of diverse, digitally skilled talent that can deliver comprehensive, virtual customer engagement services. Like an F1 team, digital hubs use cutting-edge technologies to help drive accelerated business outcomes for customers with great customer experience, incredible innovation speed, and optimal levels of productivity achieved through data-driven, surgically precise execution.

Speed of Execution: Embracing Flexibility and Adaptability

Formula One teams operate in a relentless pursuit of speed, continuously refining their strategies to gain a competitive edge. Similarly, the ability to deploy teams to serve SAP customers virtually with the latest digital innovations allows us to reach more businesses faster at precisely the time they need us, no matter where in the world they might be and which stage of their digital transformation journey they are at.

Step into the future with SAP digital hubs, where innovation meets opportunity

Digital customer engagement can allow us to close the feedback loop across thousands of customers around the globe at velocity, helping to shorten their time to value from years to months and from months to weeks. In 2023, SAP digital hubs supported more than 22,000 digital customer engagements across the globe, setting these customers up for successful digital transformation journeys at unprecedented speed.

Speed matters and the race is on. The ability to recognize what a customer needs to grow and to work with partners that can quickly address these needs has foundationally elevated the need for digital customer engagements.

Precision in Execution: Leveraging Data and Technology for Optimal Performance

In Formula One, every aspect – from car design to the race strategy – hinges on harnessing and analyzing terabytes of data, often in real time. Similarly, in an increasingly competitive business environment, embracing precision through technological innovation allows organizations to balance accelerating their digital transformation decisions and optimizing profitability. The balance can be struck only through an almost unreasonable obsession with measuring and executing on fact-based insights.

At SAP digital hubs, we can track key value metrics across the entire customer journey, be it for demand campaigns, customer value propositions, personalized digital asset performance, the adoption of new productivity-driving tools, and so on. We do this not only to understand what’s most relevant to our customers but also to track the effectiveness of what we do and how we do it in the context of what our customers need.

Customer Experience: Focusing on Value, Personalization, and Great Experiences

In Formula One, success is not solely measured by speed. The sport thrives on delivering a captivating experience tailored to engage multifaceted fans from a multitude of angles, making sure everyone gets value from the event. The same is true in the digital business world.

SAP’s digital hubs virtualize and leverage SAP’s rich heritage of industry best practices and benchmarks to help personalize the customer journey, bringing customer stakeholders in alignment with one another and delivering on SAP’s value promises across geographies, cultures, and industries through immersive and memorable experiences. SAP digital hubs can accomplish this across the entire customer journey with SAP – from the time we create awareness, to customer onboarding, to supporting customers with valuable solution and industry expertise, until we help customers realize the full value of the SAP solutions they adopt.

AI-Powered, Human-Led Approach: Focusing on Digitally Native and Digitally Skilled Talent

In Formula One, decisions pivot on data. But it’s the team that uses their experiences to apply that data and simulate different scenarios to discover new ways to drive superior outcomes. Similarly, while data and AI technologies fuel decisions and actions in SAP digital hubs, it’s human ingenuity that leverages the tech and data and elevates customer outcomes.

Just like the F1 teams, our hubs attract and employ only the best of the best, offering a high-energy working environment that thrives on intricate collaboration. The individuals who join us can gain immediate cross-role and cross-geography exposure, enabling them to become productive members of the team in record time. Continuous learning and pointed diversity, with gender parity in half of our digital hubs today, form the backbone of our digital culture, where everyone is treated with respect, skills are constantly honed, and different roles are seamlessly orchestrated to present a unified customer experience.

The rules change, and we have to as well. Every pit stop and each customer touchpoint is a chance to pivot in real time, refine, and go faster, helping SAP customers and shareholders gain more value at exponential velocity and great volumes. This is the “3V” promise of SAP digital hubs and this is how we win the race!

Sam Masri is global head of Digital Hub, Customer Success at SAP SE.

Stay up-to-date with all things SAP news