Building momentum for its upcoming Sapphire Now conference in June, SAP has launched three industry-specific versions of its customer engagement solutions for customers in the insurance, utilities, and retail verticals. The announcement comes at a pivotal time not only for SAP, which has recently experienced an executive shake-up following the resignation of Vishal Sikka, but also for the CRM space at large.
According to Gartner's latest market share report, the CRM market is worth roughly $20 billion and is growing at double-digit rates, with the value predicted to increase to $37 billion by 2017. "A lot of this growth is driven by interest and demand for cloud solutions," Jamie Anderson, global vice president of SAP Cloud for Customer Engagement, says. "This is why we're focusing on migrating our capabilities and committing 100 percent to the cloud," he added.
SAP's expanded HANA Cloud Platform now includes a "lead-to-policy" cloud solution for the insurance industry designed to help insurers better engage with customers throughout the buying process, a B2B sales solution for customers in the utilities sector that will enable sales personnel to engage with commercial and industrial customers through a single interface, and a retail solution built to enable store employees to customize in-store experiences and deliver more unique offers, better product recommendations, and up-to-date inventory information.
The industries were logical choices for SAP, because all three represent historically "strong areas" for the company as well as areas of high customer demand, Anderson explains. The insurance field, for example, is an important focal point for SAP because engagements between insurers and their customers are different than customer engagements in most other industries. "When it comes to insurance, people tend to interact with those companies only when something goes wrong, so they've got very specific customer engagement needs and need solutions that can meet those needs," he says. "[The new industry-specific solutions] are a competitive play for us," Anderson adds, "because customers have become frustrated with cloud solutions that aren't specific enough for their unique needs, and we're looking to change that."
As the demand for cloud solutions continues to grow, Anderson says SAP is ready to roll out additional solutions for the 26 industries it serves. "These are just the industries that we're starting with, but there are more announcements to come," he says. The company will continue to build its cloud portfolio, and customers can expect more updates this summer.
SAP is also gearing up to host its annual Sapphire Now conference in Orlando next week, where big things are going to happen, company executives have promised. "I've been with SAP for a long time now," Anderson says, "and there's really an unprecedented amount of momentum building up for Sapphire Now. We think there are a lot of unique opportunities right now centered around customer engagement, and we're focused on building the right products for customers. It's an exciting time," he adds.