In a previous post detailing SAP’s approach to the cloud, I touched on how software consumption at the enterprise level has changed dramatically over the last few years. Users want and expect immediate access to software that is easy to adopt and use, and solves their immediate business issues.
This consumption change has been fueled by the availability of Software as a Service (SaaS). Put simply, SaaS is the delivery of applications over the internet (or “in the cloud”) with no need to install, maintain or host software on site. Users simply access applications via the cloud as a subscription service. My colleague Prakash likes to compare SaaS to eating pizza at a restaurant, essentially having all the upfront work completed for you so you can start consuming the application immediately. Analogies aside, the importance of SaaS for our customers cannot be understated—it allows them the flexibility to run their businesses as simply as possible with access to the software they need, when they need it.
Now SAP has taken SaaS a step further: using our business process and functionality expertise we’ve re-architected our trusted and powerful line of business (LOB) applications to be cloud-enabled. But we haven’t stopped there. SAP also recognized the need to complement our own applications with best-in-class public cloud SaaS solutions for the most critical lines of business. And we did this through recent key acquisitions that include Ariba, Concur, Fieldglass, and Success Factors.
And of course these acquisitions, along with current and future SAP applications, will tie into our one unified cloud infrastructure based on SAP HANA. With SAP, companies of all sizes can run their entire business in the cloud from a single, integrated platform. And because we offer public, private and managed cloud solutions, our customers can start anywhere and go everywhere in the cloud, depending on their business need.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these recent acquisitions that have given us leading positions in HR, customer engagement and commerce, procurement, travel, and contingent labor:
Positioned by top industry analysts as the leader in human resources (HR) solutions, SuccessFactors helps organizations simplify HR processes, support talent development, and maximize employee engagement. Success Factors not only helps SAP customers scale and manage global workforces but creates a collaborative work environment that encourages better business results through a company’s best asset – its people.
SAP Cloud for Customer
Understanding what matters most to an organization’s customers and using that information to engage them in a meaningful way is crucial to business success. The SAP Cloud for Customer portfolio brings marketing, sales, commerce, and customer service together to deliver insight far beyond what typical CRM apps deliver today. SAP Cloud for Customer was recently cited among the most significant CRM suite solutions on the market by Forrester Research.
The slow and costly paper-based processes that organizations undertake to fulfill procurement requirements are a thing of the past with Ariba. This powerful sourcing platform automates transaction processing and connects companies to a network of suppliers for simple interaction with approved external vendors. An Ariba customer success story I like to share is Ceasars Entertainment – the global casino-entertainment company. By adopting Ariba, the company not only found low-cost suppliers that reduced time and expenses, but they were able to easily source diverse vendors that met the organizations’ social responsibility goals.
Managing business travel and expenses is a familiar challenge for organizations of all sizes. Companies need more visibility into travel spend and compliance with stated travel policies. They want to ensure productivity remains high when business travelers are on the road or back in the office. Concur solves these challenges with solutions optimized for business travel, expense and invoice management. The ability for Concur to create expense reports automatically by using calendar integration and pictures of receipts for all the necessary detail is a personal favorite of mine.
In today’s organizations, workforces consist of an increasingly high percentage of contingent workers, such as independent contractors or skilled trade workers and professionals, to help run their business. A contingent workforce is constantly evolving and difficult to track both from cost and personnel perspective. It’s challenging, if not impossible, to strategically and efficiently manage a workforce whose true cost is unknown. This is where Fieldglass steps in to help organizations manage their external contract workforce as a visible cost center, giving an organization a complete and accurate picture of their entire workforce.
Ariba, Concur and Fieldglass also share something very significant in common—they connect customers to a virtual ecosystem of service providers outside of their company’s four walls. At SAP we’ve termed these SaaS applications as Business Networks. So whether you are talking about procurement for indirect or direct materials, or identifying, sourcing and managing contingent workforce, or how business travelers engage with airlines, hotels, restaurants, car services or the like—these everyday business functions are automated through our powerful business networks delivered as SaaS.
I’ve only scratched the surface of what SAP has to offer. There are over 50 market leading SAP SaaS applications available today that seamlessly integrate with our customers’ unique business processes. Combined with hundreds of partner applications developed on our cloud open infrastructure, customers don’t have to look far to find a solution that meets their needs.
Are you using SAP SaaS applications? What has your experience been? Stay tuned for the next post in our series which delves further into this unified cloud platform that ties our strategy together—the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.