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As SAP continues to expand and improve its product portfolio, an important part of this development is engaging with the customers who regularly use SAP products. There is no better way to gauge how software is serving customers than by directly talking to them about their experience.

“Connecting with customers throughout the development life cycle is critical for the success of SAP products,” said Kristin Albright, VP of SAP America’s customer adoption management and global head of SAP early adopter care services. “Customer input ensures SAP is developing solutions that are relevant to their business needs and bringing value to their organizations.”

Creating Paths for SAP Customer Engagement

To loop SAP users into the development process and assess feedback on new and upcoming features, SAP offers several customer influence initiatives. Through these initiatives, users can have a demonstrated effect on SAP products across several topics, including ERP and the digital core, HR and people management, and intelligent technologies, to name a few. These opportunities extend across a variety of industries.

“With SAP being customer-focused, it is great to see the company continue to practice what it preaches and create forums for customers to articulate the business problems they’re trying to solve,” said Danny Pancratz, director of product development at ASUG. “Influence has long been a part of ASUG, and long supported by SAP. It’s vital that customers take advantage of these opportunities.”

Users can make their voices heard through three customer influence initiatives. SAP Customer Engagement Initiative allows customers to interact with new developments in their early stages and gives users a platform to provide early feedback on those advances. SAP Customer Connection focuses on on-premise solutions currently in maintenance and gives them access to easily adoptable and non-disruptive improvements. Similarly, SAP Continuous Influence allows users to suggest enhancements and improvements on an ongoing basis for cloud-based and new solutions. In both programs, users submit improvement requests for the enhancements they want before voting to prioritize which requests should be completed first.

“Customers benefit from a close collaboration with SAP development when they get involved with customer influence programs. They have the opportunity to shape future solutions so they can maximize their business value,” Albright said. “The SAP Customer Engagement Initiative is focused on developing new features, while SAP Customer Connection and SAP Continuous Influence enable customers to incrementally improve the products and solutions in maintenance they are using today.”

The SAP Feedback Loop

The SAP Customer Engagement Initiative is particularly unique in that it grants customers access to early developments within the SAP product portfolio. Users must apply to participate in the three cycles that take place throughout the year. During these sessions, they can participate in either remote or on-site discussions aimed at generating ideas to address their needs and requirements.

The initiative also gives users a preview into the development process of SAP products in various stages. They can give feedback on these early-stage developments, gain insight into forthcoming features, and collaborate with SAP decision-makers to help shape new features.

This initiative is particularly helpful for SAP users because it gives them an inside look at the new functions SAP is building. “This is an important opportunity for SAP users to make sure that the needs of your company are represented within the global customer feedback that SAP is collecting,” Pancratz said.

Getting Involved as an ASUG Member

These influence initiatives not only help SAP users, but they also allow SAP to hear directly from its customers and users. This is beneficial to all parties, as the software company can tackle requests from users and enhance its software.

“Influence programs with direct customer input enable SAP to prioritize development activities and focus on customer requirements,” Albright said. “These programs provide the ability to influence SAP’s development road map for the product based on real-world needs, bringing the improvements to market at the quickest possible rate.”

Learn more about the SAP influence programs and register for the first SAP Customer Engagement Initiative cycle of 2020 by March 13.

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