Soccer team in a huddle

Q&A with SAP CEO Bill McDermott: Customer Journey

Feature Article | June 19, 2017 by SAP News

We recently talked with SAP CEO Bill McDermott to get his perspective on market dynamics and SAP strategy, SAP’s solution portfolio, and how customers can work with SAP to accelerate value creation through digital technologies.

In this Q&A series, we will feature highlights from the conversation on each of these topics. This final installment focuses on the customer journey.

I’m a customer. I like the SAP strategy and story. But I have a legacy. How do I move forward? What’s your recommendation?

We fully understand companies are facing the “innovator’s dilemma.” They have to continue to run their core business and innovate in parallel. They have to build a bridge between their existing processes and landscape into a future vision in concert with their overall business strategy. That’s why we are seeing more and more that this topic is becoming a board-level discussion. CEOs, digital officers, CIOs, and many other leaders are involved.

SAP developed a very simple, comprehensive approach to help customers move into the future. It’s a combination of three pillars that run in parallel.

  • We help companies optimize their existing landscape and release cash to fund innovation. We do this by consolidating and simplifying IT landscapes and moving them to the cloud.
  • Extending value is mainly driven by adoption of our comprehensive cloud portfolio that helps you reduce spend, improve employee engagement, and improve your decision-making process though advanced innova­tions like SAP Digital Boardroom.
  • We bring strong data scientists and SAP Leonardo technologies to identify several strategic scenarios. We co-innovate with the customer and start to prove the value of innovation with these new technologies in a specific environment.

Bill, if you were a customer, how would you engage SAP to move forward?

Well, last year I gave out my e-mail address, so they can always reach out to me personally! In all seriousness, I’ve always been a true believer in the power of design thinking. Every customer should ask SAP to put this process to work on their behalf. Desirability rules—do we have the big ideas that are important for the future of your business and connecting to your strategy? Feasibility—do we have a plan to pull this off, to take the necessary steps to evolve your technology land­scape? Viability– can we demonstrate and prove the com­pelling value that makes these investments worthwhile? This approach works, and we will support any customer who wants to do it, whether you want to start with one innovation idea or develop an end-to-end digital road map.

There’s a formula here that is tried and true for any customer: Start with your business strategy—what problem are you try­ing to solve? Ask us to show you our innovation road map that is tailored to exactly that goal with the relevant context of your industry. From here, we’ll co-innovate together and create a road map to deliver business value—a plan for you to win!

How would you describe your 2025 success?

The management team at SAP is always thinking about the future, and we’re not shy about setting bold goals for what we can achieve. The overarching rule is, “How do we accelerate value creation for our customers?”

You can imagine how a goal like this manifests itself. For example, how can we get 90% of SAP customers migrated to our new platform by 2025 so they can become intelli­gent enterprises? How can we get an additional $2 trillion in commerce running through our business networks so we can eliminate paper-based processes and redundancy? How do we get a billion users of our cloud solutions so we can accelerate the adoption of new innovation? How do we get half a million businesses of all sizes running SAP software so we defeat complexity and help companies run simple?

Or think even bigger—how do we arrive at a moment in the not-too-distant future when 90% of SAP users are only interacting with our technology through voice recognition and digital assistants? We can literally kill the keyboard!

Overall, we want SAP to uphold our legacy as the most adopt­ed enterprise technology in the world. We want to be the most relevant company—an engine of the new trust economy and economic growth for the world. That’s the SAP I know. It feels very authentic to me that we should aim high and never hold anything back for our customers.

Read more highlights from this Q&A series:

Download the entire Q&A with SAP CEO Bill McDermott.

Leave a Reply