SAP’s Adoption Revolution: When Expectations and Outcomes for Cloud Transformation Meet

When an organization starts its digital transformation journey, it does so expecting great outcomes. Whether that means increasing competitiveness, efficiency, innovation, growth, employee satisfaction, reducing costs, or all of the above — expectations are always high.

Expectations can also be very diverse. End users want their jobs to be made easier and more productive. The typical CIO wants scalability, greater data protections, and a secure IT infrastructure that runs with lower total cost of ownership.

And we — the cloud software provider — also have a clear-cut expectation that customers should actually use the software. Otherwise, bold transformation objectives won’t be met and subscription contracts won’t be renewed.

Disappointment is often described as the gap between expectations and reality. When software adoption is low and expectations for digital transformation outcomes are high, disappointment is almost guaranteed.

That is why we are making the changes necessary at SAP to increase customer adoption. Adoption is our main lever for increasing customer satisfaction by ensuring we deliver on the promise of large-scale transformation.

A New Ambition for Service Delivery

My goal leading our new Customer Services & Delivery Board area is to make it easier and faster for customers to adopt our solutions. We want to ensure that customers get all the benefits they are expecting out of their large-scale cloud transformation by reducing the hurdles and ensuring long-term value.

We are fully committed to ensuring that new digital opportunities are not only introduced, but also used to their full potential. Our focus is not on “lift-and-shift” to the cloud, but on holistically and actively supporting our customers in their transformation. And we act as customer advocates, trusted partners, and guardians of their interests.

My new Board area will therefore bundle services, including professional services, premium engagements, customer innovations, and customer support. In addition, it will include cloud infrastructure, cloud operations, cloud lifecycle management, and private cloud provision for SAP customers worldwide.

Why Now?

Adoption has always been at the core of our efforts. What’s different now is that a truly transformative technology — artificial intelligence — has emerged and is enabling end users to interact in more natural human ways. This has powerful technological and societal implications.

Be ready for AI built for business with SAP

It is also presenting software providers like us with unique opportunities to enhance adoption. Think how easy (and fun) AI interactions have become. AI innovation is a catalyst for us to enhance adoption, and we are seizing the moment with determined steps toward providing SAP Business AI.

But for our valued customers to benefit from all the advantages of SAP Business AI, we really need to be there for them throughout their cloud transformation journey, because AI innovation only happens in the cloud.

What’s Changing?

We know that cloud customers want flexible and innovative solutions that help them solve their biggest challenges and that can be deployed quickly and consumed easily. For the past 52 years, we have been vested in the success of our customers with the best team of experts in the industry to support them at every point of the customer value journey. That has not changed!

What has changed, however, is that we are putting the power of my new Board area behind the delivery of our solutions, providing governance and support to our delivery ecosystem, and continuously improving our cloud delivery and support methodologies. And we have created a unique opportunity to bring together cloud operations to streamline the entire customer experience.

Our overarching objective is customer satisfaction. We are committed to increasing it through comprehensive and innovative post-sales technical delivery services or partner-led implementations to drive our customers’ business transformation and deliver measurable value, which is “business speak” for absolutely delighting them! That’s how we will ensure organizations can fully realize their new digital opportunities.

Offering Transformation as a Service

We deliver the most complete business transformation suite in the industry. That has been our ambition since launching RISE with SAP some years ago. With the range of capabilities on offer today — including RISE with SAP, GROW with SAP, SAP Signavio, cloud application lifecycle management, SAP LeanIX, and, of course, SAP Business Technology Platform — we are well on our way to enabling customers to accelerate transformation.

We are committed to optimizing our portfolio for delivery, and we are working on tooling and automation to speed up the process. That’s how we are reaffirming our promise to provide transformation as a service. 

Closing the Gap Between Expectations and Outcomes

Adoption of our portfolio opens new possibilities for business model innovation along with increased competitiveness, cost savings, and employee satisfaction, while realizing the benefits of new SAP innovations more quickly: essentially all the outcomes organizations are expecting when they set out on the pathway to digital transformation.

So, you could say, we’re more dedicated than ever to closing the gap between expectations for cloud transformation and the corresponding outcomes.


Thomas Saueressig is a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, leading Customer Services & Delivery.

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