When the editors of SAP Insider approached me with the question,
"Does mySAP.com represent an evolution or revolution for SAP customers?"
it was clear to me that a lot of work still lies ahead in establishing
the mySAP.com brand! We need to make it clear that mySAP.com represents
an evolution, not a revolution. Personally, I associate a lot of
unpleasant imagery with the term "revolution." Revolutions happen overnight,
with little or no warning, and are typically accompanied by a lot of pain,
suffering, and innocent casualties.
That's not the case with mySAP.com!
mySAP.com is the next natural evolution of our powerful solution offering,
but the difference is that it is happening at Internet speed. With this
initiative, we leverage the enabling power of the Internet with the established
powerful infrastructure of our customers' SAP-anchored business processes.
Customers determine the rate of speed with which they embrace this technology.
We deliver it in a componentized fashion, which is supported by both our
technology and software licensing.¹ You can place the Workplace on
just a few desktops, or jump right in and implement full-blown B2B and
collaborative Marketplace scenarios, which speak to the real heart of
customers' concerns these days.
What's the #1 Concern
Among SAP Customers? Retaining and Growing Their Customer Base
Without question, the #1 priority among SAP's customers is how to retain
and grow their base of customers. That's really at the root of
both the fear and the fascination that the Internet holds for many customer-focused
organizations. Since the Internet doesn't require a new competitor to
make a huge investment of infrastructure and "bricks and mortar," worries
exist about competitors appearing overnight and market share suddenly
So our customers have been asking us, "How
do I protect the customer base that I already have, while making sure
I grab the opportunity to build greater market share or to capitalize
on new channels that I couldn't reach before?" This is a marked departure
from the priorities that dominated our industry just a few years ago.
||A progress in which something gradually changes into a different
and usually improved form.
||An abrupt or radical change in a process, belief, or manner of
In the 90s, customer focus was on cost
reduction, shorter reaction times, and operational efficiency. This school
of thought said, "Streamline internal processes, and you gain a competitive
edge in the marketplace." But now, in 2000, as we begin a new decade,
customers are looking outward, not inward, at value-creation business
processes. Static supply chains will soon be a thing of the past. To retain
and grow one's customer base in an Internet economy, supply chains must
be based on dynamic, collaborative business processes that let organizations
work faster and smarter with suppliers, partners, distributors, and, most
important, their customers. There's no doubt about it: Web-enabled, collaborative
supply-chain applications will soon become the dominant model.
mySAP.com provides the solutions to take
you there. The mySAP.com Workplace, Marketplace, Business Scenarios, and
Application Hosting solutions can rapidly make a customer's existing business
processes ready for secure and reliable operation in a Web-driven world.
You can't simply create a Web site for customers or suppliers. That Internet
presence must be tightly integrated with your backend business
processes. You not only must be able to take an order over the Internet,
you've got to be able to quickly fulfill that order. Otherwise, you're
just one click away from losing a customer rather than building a stronger
customer relationship! This is especially true for business-to-business
as well as business-to-consumer scenarios.
For example, consider a supply-chain partner
who has stripped down his safety-stock inventory levels to the bare minimum
because he feels he can depend on rapid-turnaround delivery of your materials.
Yes, he's squeezed inefficiencies out of his process, but at the cost
of making himself vulnerable to the integrity of the collaborative business
solution between his enterprise and yours. If the solution fails him,
he's still on the hook to his customers - and, more than likely, now looking
for someone else to do business with.
The stakes surrounding the issue of data
integrity and systems reliability have never been higher, and therein
lies the wealth of experience in business process integration that differentiates
SAP and our mySAP.com deliverables from all others. This is what distinguishes
a mature, high-tech company like SAP from the numerous dot-com companies
that are cropping up everywhere, delivering "revolutionary" new solutions,
new technologies, new platforms, and new tools.
mySAP.com Is Still Evolving
mySAP.com builds upon customers' existing business processes, enabling
organizations to participate in collaborative business processes. And
it's still evolving: within the next year, wireless or pervasive computing
will dominate our e-business discussions. Yes, the focus right now is
on the Web browser, but in the near future, employees of our customers
- whether they are sales people, service technicians, or even executives
- aren't going to be sitting in front of a browser. People on a plant
manufacturing floor will have a wearable or handheld device with which
they will be communicating to the transactional databases. Sales reps
will be able to look at customer contact information and place orders
over their cell phones. This is not a daydream; these are the kinds of
applications and solutions that we're just beginning to deploy for a few
customers. And frankly, it takes a vendor with SAP's resources and experience
to make these kinds of advances happen.
Building the mySAP.com Brand
Every strong sales organization understands the importance of a strong
brand, and building a powerful brand is an evolutionary process as well.
SAP is taking a number of steps to clarify and expand the reach of the
With the rollout of a global campaign,
leveraging both traditional and Web-based media (perhaps you saw our ads
during the Academy Awards telecast), we will heighten the overall industry
awareness. Any imagery, messaging, and communication from SAP will now
emanate from a coordinated and consistent branding strategy.
We intend to achieve a global, consistent
positioning of what mySAP.com is and what it can really do for you, and
to clearly and effectively communicate how mySAP.com can help a company
leverage its existing investments in R/3 infrastructure.
By the end of 2000, I am confident that
in the US marketplace, SAP America will achieve almost half of our overall
revenues from mySAP.com opportunities. This will include upgrading existing
customers to take advantage of the role-based workplaces, deploying additional
functionality of Web-based procurement and selling scenarios, and application
hosting of accelerated solutions. That's an aggressive projection for
an initiative that's literally right out of the starting gate. But considering
the fact that the mySAP.com footprint is becoming so pervasive throughout
all of SAP's solutions, it's hard to say where a "traditional" SAP solution
stops and a mySAP.com solution begins - all of which speaks to the evolutionary
nature of the mySAP.com initiative.
|¹ New customers
are now purchasing mySAP.com licenses.
Existing customers who are upgrading
have a choice: they can either upgrade
their existing license with a mySAP.com
appendix, or they can simply convert
to a mySAP.com license, which covers
a much broader range of SAP offerings,
including the core product, new dimension
products, and mySAP.com-specific products.
|Chris Larsen joined
SAP America, Inc., in 1993, and was appointed
President in December 1999. As President
of SAP America, Larsen is responsible for
overseeing all field operations in the
United States, which include sales, presales,
consulting, partner management, industry
marketing, and solution development for
all the industry business sectors.