SAP Customer First is SAP’s board-sponsored global initiative aimed at cultivating transformation across the company to support its customers’ journey in becoming intelligent enterprises with positive, ongoing, end-to-end customer experiences. The business field unit, led by Martin Mrugal, was launched in November 2018 in recognition of the evolving needs and expectations of SAP customers and partners.
In September 2019—less than a year after its establishment—the SAP Customer First initiative was credited by Gartner for inciting significant improvements in the quality of SAP’s support and account management. According to a report, SAP Customer First helped change the perception of the German multinational software company from a sales-driven business to one focused on customer success.
By equipping employees with the tools and resources to deliver the right experience and cultivating a company-wide mindset of customer empathy, SAP customers and partners are provided with a proactive end-to-end engagement experience.
Today, as the world faces a huge crisis and economic disruptions brought by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the SAP Customer First strategy is proving to be one of SAP’s best assets in ensuring business continuity during these uncertain times:
Mrugal said in an “In Focus” interview broadcasted via SAP TV:
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprise after enterprise has proven that the safety of their employees, service to customers, and commitments to stakeholders are top priorities. It’s our job to passionately champion our customers by providing the best tools, services, and inspiration to help them meet their obligations and thrive in the process.”
Here at Inside SAP Asia, we’ve covered several SAP customers and partners which SAP successfully helped in navigating the sudden disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Amara Raja Group – The Indian conglomerate company was able to complete its SAP S/4HANA ERP digital transformation despite the nationwide-lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Grab – The ride-hailing and mobile services provider leveraged SAP Concur solutions to automate its expense and invoice management system. The solution allowed the company in playing a key role in moving people seamlessly and meeting new consumer demands and needs during the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in many Asian countries.
- Gojek – Another mobile services provider, the company was able to turn real-time insights into actions through Qualtrics XM technology to provide the necessary support needed by employees during these uncertain times.
What is SAP Customer First?
SAP’s strategy with Customer First combines the operational capabilities (O-data) of the company’s traditional offerings—such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), human capital management (HCM) and supply chain management—with the experience management (X-data) capabilities of the Qualtrics platform. This customer-centric approach aims to deliver the best customer experience in the industry by leveraging SAP’s people, processes, and technology.
According the software solutions company the SAP Customer First initiative is:
- a mindset of being relentlessly focused on customer business outcomes
- an engagement methodology for delivering a simple, holistic, and consistent experience that is value-oriented, and adoption and business results-centric
- an organization of empowered employees across the cloud and on-premises
The SAP Customer First field unit consists of the Industries and Customer Advisory Group which was created in January 2020. The newly added organization unified SAP’s Industries, Presales, and Customer Advisory areas. According to Peter Maier, Industries and Customer Advisory Group President, the organization aims to connect two important SAP roles—software developers and sales representatives—to ensure the right solutions are built by making sure essential customer experiences and needs are fed back into the development process.
In an interview, Maier said that as part of the organization’s goal of balancing SAP’s capabilities worldwide, it started an incubation model to bring in experienced employees from selected markets into the Asia-Pacific Japan (APJ) region to support the growth of the region’s sales team in gaining more traction.