COVID-19 impacts highlight the value of SAP’s existing portfolio and road map
Before SAP CEO Christian Klein took the virtual stage for SAPPHIRE NOW 2020’s keynote, Chief Marketing Officer Alicia Tillman spoke with the company’s regional leaders for EMEA, APJ and the Americas. Across geographies, there was consistency in customer sentiment, particularly around the benefits of using technology to react quickly to changes in demand and supply chain challenges.
SAP’s president of Asia Pacific and Japan, Scott Russell, summarized many of the regional leaders’ key points by saying, “There’s one thing that I keep on hearing from our customers small, medium and large, whether you’re in the manufacturing sector, which is really strong in this region, or in other industries, is that ability to be flexible, agile and act with speed. And that’s the expectation of SAP: You need a digital platform … to give you the information you want in real time, so I can make better decisions and adapt to a situation, which for all of us is very unpredictable.”
The pandemic-induced, turbulent business environment has created a new lens for customers to look through and appreciate SAP’s portfolio, but at its core, SAP’s strategy has remained consistent in recent years. SAP has been building upon its Intelligent Enterprise vision, in which customers use wall-to-wall SAP products to integrate their IT environments and gain AI-enabled insights from their data. However, the pandemic did enable Klein to double down on SAP’s messaging about the value of IT modernization, stating, “We have all realized companies which use innovative technologies were more competitive before the crisis and are more resilient in the crisis. Those that enabled new digital business models drove automation and adapted their supply chains and were better prepared for the unexpected. This crisis shows us if your business is not resilient, you will be left with nothing.”
SAP (NYSE: SAP) held SAPPHIRE NOW 2020 Reimagined, with the “Reimagined” branding stemming from the event’s virtual delivery method. While this was a new delivery method for SAP’s annual event, the vendor’s messaging stayed largely the same, with a focus on SAP Business Suite 4 HANA (S/4HANA), S/4HANA Cloud, Qualtrics and emerging technologies — all part of SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise vision. In addition, SAP’s recent strategic shift toward industry-specific solutions in the back office added a new flavor to the vendor’s go-to-market strategy.