SAP India, the leading enterprise technology and cloud solutions provider, had recently launched a new offering to help mid-size customers in the country adopt cloud ERP that enables speed, predictability, and continuous innovation. This new offering, called ‘GROW with SAP’, also brings together SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, with accelerated adoption services, a global community of experts and free learning resources, helping customers go live in few weeks.
On the sidelines of this launch, Express Computer caught up with Claus Andresen, Senior Vice President, Head of Cloud Success Services, Asia Pacific & Japan at SAP, who delved deep into how this new offering will cater to the business needs of mid-market customers and how the newly formed Cloud Success Services organisation will help accelerate cloud adoption among enterprises.
Excerpts of the interview:
Q. How will the new offering, ‘GROW with SAP’, help the rapid adoption of cloud among mid-market customers? What were the premises of setting up the Cloud Success Services organisation?
I think the whole cloud journey has come to a point of rotation and acceleration. Yes, the COVID situation accelerated the adoption of cloud and the unprecedented times created some compelling reasons for many customers to ignite or accelerate their decision. Having said this, I would like to emphasise here that the whole cloud adoption has started picking up even before the COVID times.
The good news for us is this acceleration is continuing past COVID, which I think holds across most geographies. This shows that the cloud has become the new norm. It is no longer a question if it is more about the cloud, is it a necessity to the business outcome? In terms of the journey around the cloud, India has emerged as a massive cloud market force. According to IDC projections, it will be a $10 billion market by 2025. And I am sure it will continue to be even bigger in the future.
Our new offering, ‘GROW with SAP, fits very well to this market dynamics. We have a huge mid-market customer base in India. And both existing and new mid-market customers are growing the SAP. GROW with SAP offering very much caters to the need of the mid-market customers, be it the agility and scalability that they need, as they grow their businesses.
GROW with SAP also includes SAP Business Technology Platform, so customers can define their own processes in a cloud-native way using SAP Build. With SAP Build solutions, business users can create enterprise apps, automate processes, and design business sites without writing code, an important asset for those closest to the business that can create the solutions they need.
Now to your question on why we created this Cloud Success Services organisation. The answer to it is that we are in a cloud world, which is all about being in service. Today, our customers have opportunities and alternatives; they can go with SAP or to other service providers. We need to continuously focus on delivering value day-in and day-out to our customers. At SAP, we always had an obsession about customer success. But earlier we used to take a fragmented approach. We had a myriad of functions and there were different departments, say, for deploying solutions, safeguarding landscapes, etc.
But we realised that in the cloud world, it’s very important to create one unified experience for the customers. This is the basic premise for Cloud Success Services organisation, wherein we have built and put all the departments together under one umbrella to serve one single purpose – to deliver value to the customers.
Our role as a Cloud Success Services organisation is basically to be the custodian of the customer value. And to achieve this, we play to the strength of the capabilities that we have built over 51 years. These strong capabilities have given us an opportunity to bring the customer value realisation journey to a whole different level.
Q. While this newly formed organisation aims to make customers realise the real importance of going towards cloud and make it a mainstream technology; do you agree that customers, especially, the mid-market, still contemplate between on-premises versus cloud?
I think any customer will rightfully evaluate the options they have. My observation is, in the past, it was front and center evaluation, why is it an on-premise versus a cloud? But today, customers rely on technology or solutions that could help them achieve their business outcomes. These solutions may sit in the cloud or on-premise. Hence, it becomes a less of a concern point around where the landscape is hosted.
The SAP customers want an easy way to ramp up their technology infrastructure. This is where cloud as a technology helps. In the on-premise world, there are certain challenges around delivering these in the pace and speed of customer design.
As far as mid-market customers are concerned, they are one of the first ones that went on in this growth story. We have many mid-sized customers and startups that have embarked on this cloud journey very early to manage their businesses.
Q. What makes these services unique and how are you competing in the market?
I don’t think we are in a competitive landscape. We are part of an ecosystem. The reality is today customers rely on one SAP solution. We have also built a lot of content that helps our partners; we put these content on our platforms so that they can get access to all information, which in turn, help them serve the customers.
Our job is to make our customers happy, either directly or through partners. We have developed a one-stop solution for the customers and this gives us a competitive advantage. We have access to product engineering; we understand what the cost is; how the customer is operating the landscape on a cloud platform; and how they’re using our solution. These keep giving us insights on how to advise and guide our customers in a better way.
Q. These services were launched about a year ago. What has been the response from the market thus far? How are you measuring the success of these services?
As part of this Cloud Success Services journey, we have not only restructured the organisation but also redesigned the portfolio of offerings that we are delivering to our customers.
The measurement of success for us is first and foremost – our customers see value in what we deliver. Secondly, we constantly challenge ourselves, wherein we basically help our customers get to the best optimal landscape in the most simplified manner, because we know that’s where we can create the best outcome in terms of value for them.
Q. At this point of time, will it be right to say that the whole Cloud Success Services organisation will act as a catalyst in accelerating the cloud adoption amongst the enterprises?
You can absolutely say that, as we are the custodian for the customer value realisation journey. We are here to drive a clear articulation of what it looks like and what value our customers can get out of it. And to your point, our charter is to accelerate that, if a customer doesn’t see value in SAP solution, or a customer doesn’t see acceleration towards that outcome, they have choices and alternatives. And our role is obviously to make sure our customers see there is a great value in SAP investments that they make.