Open Letter to SAP Customers

Consensus and Trust: Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott (photo: SAP)
Consensus and Trust: Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott (photo: SAP)

Dear SAP Customers,
We are writing to you today in the spirit of openness. You have no doubt taken note of the changes SAP has made in its executive leadership team.  We feel it’s important to write to you directly and express how honored and excited we are to be appointed Co-CEOs.  We do this with the firm belief that SAP’s success was and will always be linked to the success of our customers.  Our mission remains to make your business a best-run business. Customers are the very center of our strategy.

Over the last three weeks, we have been highly energized and working hard to set SAP on a better course.  The excitement we feel and the passion we have for this company is very much about who we are and what we are all about.  And we know that the changes at SAP have led to some questions, and we have answers for them:

Does new management mean a change in our strategy?

No.  While we are making some changes at SAP, some things won’t change, including our product road map and our commitment to making your company a best-run business.  We realize that SAP software touches 60 percent of the world’s transactions, and we take this responsibility seriously.  We also recognize that you have made a substantial investment in SAP and built at least part of your business on us, which is why we want you to know that the investment you have made in SAP is protected and valid.

What will we change?

What we will change is to accelerate the pace of the innovation we deliver to you.  We will do that by energizing our entire company to become even more open to and informed by the needs of your company.  This is not a new task, as innovation has long but quietly flourished in many groups within SAP.  Our goal now is to bring these groups together and unleash the creativity at SAP by fostering a new motivated employee culture, increasing customer involvement, and by increasing the clock speed of development efforts.

How will we operate the business as Co-CEOs?

With our appointment as Co-CEOs, SAP has put customers and product leadership at the center of our management model and given us a template to forge a new generation of leadership. Over the past year and a half, we have been working together on bringing the field and product teams closer together.  With our different focus areas and skill sets we are a very complimentary CEO team.   Moving forward, we will retain our responsibilities leading Global Field Operations and Product Development, and you will also see an even closer alignment between solutions and services.

What else are we planning?

Over the coming days and weeks, we will share more updates on our key priorities—for example, delivering new innovation On Demand, On Premise, On Device, and in the Orchestration across your IT environment.  Like you, we also highly anticipate the delivery of SAP Business ByDesign in the middle of this year.   We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we have a strong foundation as the leading business software company, with solutions that have a level of integrity and reliability trusted by thousands of organizations such as yours – our global customer base is among our greatest assets.

What is at the top of our agenda?

There’s one more thing that will change: we will listen more for your feedback and look for more opportunities to share our strategy with you. It will be very evident, as we reach out frequently to you and all of our stakeholders—customers, partners, employees and shareholders – to continue SAP’s transformation as a market leader focused on your success.  We will use many opportunities to spark an active and open dialogue with you, to hear back from you, and welcome your ideas.  In the coming days we will launch a blog platform to foster open dialog… for now, we welcome your comments at co-ceo@sap.com. We look forward to sharing our passion for software and its potential to transform business to help our customers be best-run businesses.

Best regards,

Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe