Selling Cloud by not Selling Cloud – Huh?

Recently, I bumped into a blog post by Laurie McCabe, pointing out 5 things SAP needs to do to make simple real. To quote one of points in the article:


Stop saying SAP is ‘the’ cloud company

Unfortunately, this is a statement SAP executives made numerous times at the event, which, as I tweeted, had heads exploding at the likes of Salesforce and NetSuite! While SAP is aggressively moving to the cloud, it is getting there much later than these pure-play, born on the cloud companies. In addition, what’s the upside of even trying to stake this claim this late in the game? Though the puck is certainly moving to the cloud, survey after survey suggests that a hybrid IT environment will be the norm for most companies for a good long while. Positioning its ability to give customers choice is a much more believable and viable path for SAP.


Eyebrows rose or a glimpse of smile?! I’m not sure if we are 100% agree with what she said, though I do see her point of view.

Here are my thoughts:

1. Focus on what Customers care about.

If customers care about whether SAP solutions are cloud ready or available through cloud, then by all means, SHOUT it out loud and clear. Especially for our existing customers and CIOs, who may concern about infrastructure, TCO, and maintenance. However, if we are talking to CMO, CHR, I believe Cloud or not, will be their last piece of mind.

2. Stop saying but start acting.

Instead of focusing on our messaging on SAP is the cloud company, we should act as one. In Cloud model, the way we market our solutions will be different from the on-premise way. And when I think about it, it’s really nothing new but essentially what we have been embracing and doing for past few years, the 5 Marketing Pillars:

  • Humanise our Brands – Understand customers personas and talk in their languages.
  • Develop Pull – Helping Customers to Buy. Digital as the main lever.
  • Simplify Marketing – Simplify everything so that we can do anything. Really.
  • Invest in People – Which is essentially what we are doing now, at Development Day.
  • Tightening links to Business – Focusing on Business Impact.

3. Achieve the path of enlightenment: “Selling Cloud by not Selling Cloud”.

Apple do not say that they are mobile phone/tablet company powered by IOS, so do Nike, they do not say they are sportswear company, or Beats (BTW, I love their World Cup Video), who do not say they are music headphone company. Though one thing in common, they do deliver the best customer experience and brand promise. So I believe if we continue to follow that path, “SAP is the Cloud Company” will no longer be an important message.

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