Our fourth Customer Empowerment (CE) Day of 2019 took place at the SAP Shanghai office on February 28th. Our small but mighty team of Lori Paulin and Luis Orama arrived in Shanghai immediately following the CE Day earlier that week in Sydney, Australia. Lori is the Global Head of the Customer Empowerment Program and Luis is the Global Head of Customer Success for SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
Nerves and anxiety were high because the day would be run from start to finish in the local language – but with one slight hiccup… both Lori and Luis were presenting and didn’t speak a word of Mandarin. Thankfully, the local Customer Engagement Executive, Frank Mao; our resident integration expert, Anna Zhou; and Value Map specialist, Ellen Ni were local and ready to help. The team had also arranged to have headsets for speakers and have a translator present. The translator would translate Luis and Lori’s presentations into Mandarin and the audio would play in the attendees’ headsets.
The 63 customers in attendance were excited to have such an event presented in their native tongue. After a slight speed bump with breakfast never arriving, the day kicked off with an opening keynote from Luis where he explained SAP’s Intelligent Enterprise Vision. Customers were very interested and eager to learn about the roadmaps. When asked why they chose cloud, many cited ‘speed’ and ‘efficiency’ as the main drivers for this decision. We had a plethora of customers in different stages of the implementation in the room, from newly licensed, to planning, to live. The live customers attested to the efficient data sharing with SAP S/4HANA Cloud saying, “before it was fragmented, now it is an end-to-end process.” Data security was another topic that came up. With the doing away of onsite servers, customers were worried about data security, but trusted SAP enough to move forward with Cloud ERP.
Customers were very pleased about being able to speak freely. One said, “I wish we had more days like this. We should have had this months ago…” Another commented, “it was a wonderful and safe learning day. I was able to ask questions and not worry about being sold to.” That exemplifies why our CE Days are so popular – we DON’T SELL.
One live customer claimed that their reason for choosing SAP S/4HANA Cloud was to revamp Procurement with new functionality. He continued to say, “you do not need to always have tangible ROI.” Our state of the art reporting was enough to get him on board. At the top layer are “the people – they are the ones receiving and sending data”. He emphasized that changing the employee mindset away from paper-based processes, which often result in errors, and embracing change management continue to remain priorities for him.
Local customers, REHAU and Newsega presented their S/4HANA Cloud journeys to the group. This was one of the customers’ favorite parts of the day as they were able to incorporate their advice and best practices into their project plan. They LOVED meeting other customers and were elated to be able to ask them candid questions. One customer said, “I learned about where to find resources, support, and who to contact. Very good to get to know and meet others – made many friends today.” Another said, “I feel like we can have a smooth ride now knowing others have done it and gotten excellent results.”
In the afternoon, we had a wonderful ERP Simulation scheduled which gave customers the opportunity to work on a live SAP S/4HANA Cloud system. They were able to play with reporting, see the enhanced functionality, and learn about the streamlined processes. For many of the customers, learning about SAP S/4HANA Cloud in the morning, and then being able to experience it during the Simulation, brought the event together for them. A customer noted, “From the SIM in afternoon, I got to really feel how to use and how S/4HANA Cloud will be for us. Thank you.”
Customers were ecstatic over a full day of learning and networking, informing us that days like this are what inspire trust in SAP’s Cloud vision. They were impressed with the topics covered by the speakers and couldn’t wait for the next event like this! In the future, they want to see more on integration, especially around S/4, Concur, and SuccessFactors.
The takeaway? Shanghai is a fan of the Customer Empowerment Program. For next time, the challenged us to make sure catering arrives on time – which we readily accepted. For more information on upcoming CE Days, visit the In-Person Events page on the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Customer Community.