SAP has taken a stand to dismiss speculation swirling around its commitment to its customer experience business.
Such murmurs bubbled to the surface in January when The Register wrongly reported that all of its 3,000 job cuts centered on its CRM business.
Since, the publication changed its language to suggest that CRM was only one of the impacted business units.
Yet, the story broke on the same day news surfaced that SAP was looking into selling its remaining 71 percent stake in Qualtrics, the voice of the customer (VoC) platform it acquired for $8BN in 2018.
The move added to the narrative of a retreat from the customer experience space.
Meanwhile, some have highlighted the infrequent announcements surrounding its CX portfolio, which includes eCommerce, customer data, service, sales, and marketing solutions.
However, this doesn’t suggest that SAP is pulling back from CX. Instead, SAP seems to be refocusing its efforts in a way that plays to its ERP-business application forte.
In doing so, SAP has crafted a “one office” vision. This involves pulling its CRM closer to its ERP with the aim of developing industry-specific solutions.
Clarifying this aim in a co-authored blog, Julia White, Chief Marketing & Solutions Officer, and Thomas Saueressig, Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, stated:
Some voices across the market are recasting SAP’s commitment to an industry-first strategy to suggest that SAP is no longer committed to key needs of our customers, starting with our CX portfolio. Let us be clear: SAP will continue to deliver customer experience (CX/CRM) solutions.
The post also references new SAP innovations that help to bridge the gap between its CX portfolio and ERP solutions to improve customer experience delivery.
For instance, in retail, it offers a predictive replenishment tool that uses AI to refill stock, which harnesses data from its cloud ERP and customer experience products.
Also, in the automotive space, it connects sales data with production planning and forecasting tools to boost logistics optimization, ensuring traders are ready to meet customer demand.
These are just two examples of how SAP is pulling its cloud portfolio together, looking for synergies, and developing cloud-native innovations to better support CX initiatives in specific industries.
SAP is not alone in doing so, with Oracle taking on a similar strategy after its layoffs.
Indeed, Liz Miller, VP & Principal Analyst at Constellation Research, believes it is a trend that transcends the enterprise technology space. On LinkedIn, she wrote:
We’ve seen several big players in CX get called out for shifts in the portfolio…claims they are exiting or shifting back…when in reality, they had to take time to rearchitect the experience sausage factory to fit the need for more modern, cloud-native solutions.
Moreover, SAP is still advancing the products within its customer experience suite.
In October, it launched the new cloud-native SAP Sales cloud and additional Customer Data Platform (CDP) functionalities to support more B2B use cases.
Nevertheless, SAP must still fight to conquer perceptions of a retreat from the CX market.
Releasing this statement is the first step. Yet, putting SAP CX front and center at its upcoming SAP Sapphire event, amplifying CX success stories, and engaging more with media, analysts, and thought leaders in the space are likely critical next steps.
Otherwise, SAP may have to keep quashing speculation – perpetuated by market rivals – surrounding its CX portfolio, even if its industry-specific focus resonates with customers.