In a bid to mirror the simplicity of consumer app stores, multinational software company SAP has launched SAP Digital, a collection of “digitally native” software applications which is aimed at business owners, salespeople, business analysts, human resources and talent managers and developers. Just like music, e-books, and apps on the consumer side, SAP seeks to make software purchases for businesses just as simple.
The announcement for this release was made at Sapphire NOW, one of the world’s leading business technology conferences, held in Orlando, Florida from until May 7. Bill McDermott, CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, said, “Our digital business will bring the power of SAP technology to individuals, using the same simple approaches they know in their personal lives.”
SAP Digital, which is built on SAP’s hybris Commerce Suite, removes the need for purchase orders, invoices, and the cumbersome request-for-proposal process which are typical when companies buy into a software platform. With contracts taking the form of a one-click agreement, and transparent pricing, individual users are up and running in less than a few hours, according to SAP, without the need for IT help or third-party consultants. And, if they like the product, upgrading to an enterprise edition can be done seamlessly.
“SAP Digital is making it simple for individuals or small teams to put the power of SAP to work for them, personally,” says Jonathan Becher, chief digital officer and head of SAP Digital, in an interivew. “Buy with a credit card, and use that day. We are a new category – B2I.”
A number of different applications are available as part of this SAP Digital initiative, including SAP Digital for Customer Engagement. It’s been dubbed a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) application for sales and customer service professionals. Data can be imported into the database from other systems, including Outlook, Google, or CSV files, and the database can then be used to manage customer interactions in one place.
“You can go from ‘I want to buy it’ to ‘I’m live on it’ in 15 minutes,” said Becher of SAP Digital for Customer Engagement.
SAP Lumira is another self-service software available through the online SAP store. It features analytics software for business professionals, which allows users to easily change how data is structured, how it correlates, and how it is reported with no outside or IT assistance. At the time of the SAP Digital release, SAP announced that 500,000 users had already downloaded the free version of SAP Lumira. If users find they need more functionality, they can upgrade to a paid version.
This release is part of a greater ambition for SAP to extend into the digital services market. McDermott, speaking at the Sapphire Now conference, said, “In 2014 we talked about ‘Run Simple’; this year we are giving you a roadmap to simple. Forget about [Software-as-a-Service], that’s old school, now it’s simple-as-a service.”
Given that it is a Big Data-cloud company, naturally SAP encourages companies to be data driven. McDermott emphasized that businesses should be using a data platform to operate, innovate, and connect with their customers and employees in a seamless way. “It’s a consumer to business market,” he stated, “and the consumer rules. It’s not just about products, it’s about services, ease of consumption and value.”
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Photo of Bill McDermott via Flickr, Creative Commons