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SAP’s on-demand solutions – customer intimacy every step of the way

In our approach to on-demand solutions, we are rewriting the  ‘rules of engagement’ between solution provider and customer – and moving away from being a simple supplier of technology, to maintaining a very close, intimate relationship all through the process. We have multiple initiatives in place to make sure both parties work shoulder to shoulder, from creating shared visions, to designing solutions, all the way through consumption. Customers and end-users are discovering that the paradigm shift to the solution includes working in partnership at every step of the process. We maintain this customer intimacy by: 

  • A dedicated co-innovation program: We offer a comprehensive co-innovation program, to both customers and partners, to provide feedback on our concepts, and test our solutions as we develop them. Representative users/customers are identified early in the process, and are involved in the design and scope of our solutions. The cycle of feedback allows us to constantly streamline and improve our product offerings. 

  • A new development model: We are adopting a new development model (Agile) throughout the company, where we co-locate cross-functional teams and allow them to develop in rapid iterations called “sprints”. In fact, the codename of SAP StreamWork was “12 Sprints” as it was built in 12 sprints. At the end of each “sprint”, we have running code, available online, to be tested by representative users to ensure high quality. As soon as we reach an acceptable level of delta functionality, the solution becomes available to all our on-demand customers, who can then reap immediate benefits from this functionality.

  • A comprehensive, integrated feedback mechanism: Our on-demand solutions include a feedback tool, available to all registered end-users. Customers have the ability to interact with each other and with us to identify necessary enhancements. A voting mechanism allows the community of users to collaboratively prioritize enhancements. The feedback mechanism is built directly into the system and allows for two-way communication – end users can voice their suggestions to us, and we can keep them updated on what changes can be incorporated as well as the time frame. 

  • Tracking of customer usage: Tracking customer usage gives us direct and instant feedback on usage rates, and precise information on real time consumption. We are able to incorporate this knowledge to enhance the most widely used features.

In the old system, we received feedback in a more static manner – via emails or through workshops and meetings with user groups. Feedback was indirect and involved a time lag. We operated on an annual release cycle, so feedback took a minimum of a year to incorporate. Depending on the upgrade cycle, it was possible for a customer to not see feedback implemented for as long as 3 or possibly even 6 years! That time frame has shrunk to 3 – 6 months!

Everyone is a winner with this comprehensive and integrated format. The dynamics of this new, intimate relationship allows us to create better, more relevant products, and to provide enhancements up to 12 times faster. Ultimately, this makes us a significantly superior solution provider, with end-to-end benefits for our customers.

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