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tamasszirtes
Contributor
The metaverse is the future of the internet. A new virtual world. A new economy representing a revenue opportunity approaching $800 billion in 2024 according to Bloomberg Intelligence. What is SAP’s role in it?

What is the metaverse?


The metaverse is the network of social virtual 3D worlds where virtual and real get mixed. We create avatars, which look like us, join 3D work meetings, follow courses, we make and sell products and services, e.g. sell our virtual house or buy a new virtual dress for our avatar, jump from one world to another one instantaneously, do some sports, visit musea, play, join parties, visit concerts – the options are unlimited just like in the real world. Commerce in the metaverse is based on crypto currencies and NFTs. These Non-Fungible Tokens provide proof of ownership of our digital assets (which would otherwise be easily duplicated).



Examples of the metaverse


Is metaverse only a concept as of today or something real? It is surely still evolving, but there are concrete examples already. Meta (previously called Facebook) offers the Horizon Worlds, but at the moment this is only available for US or Canadian citizens using Oculus Rift S or Quest 2 headsets, a variant of this is Horizon Workroom, which is for 3D work-related meeting and collaboration. Microsoft will soon integrate Mesh into Teams. If you are interested in arts, check out Spatial, Cryptovoxels, or if you have some spare millions, buy land in Decentraland or in The Sandbox. Go party in the Sensorium Galaxy. Play and create in Fortnite, Minecraft or Roblox.

Tech giants heavily invest in the metaverse


At the moment many metaverses originate from video games, but some of the new ones have a clear business focus. Some tech giants invest heavily in the metaverse such as Meta, Microsoft, Adobe, Tencent, etc. So let’s think, what might be SAP’s role in the metaverse?

SAP in the metaverse


I can imagine multiple ways SAP could benefit from the metaverse. Here are some ideas.

  • User Experience
    This is the most obvious one. At the moment we mostly use all kinds of screens to interact with SAP software and this is why SAP offers Fiori, Portals and mobile apps. In the metaverse instead of SAP Mobile Start, we would need “SAP VR Start”. SAP Conversational AI could play a key role. It can already be integrated into MS Teams, so when Mesh gets into Teams, SAP Conversational AI could be a key access point for business data in the metaverse.

  • Experience Management
    It would be logical to integrate Qualtrics into the metaverse, because this is where a growing proportion of business is going to take place.

  • Human Capital Management
    The metaverse will be the ideal place to do recruitment, because of the richer interview experience. Of course, this should be enabled by SAP SuccessFactors. Learning? There will be no better place for learning than in the metaverse thanks to the 3D format. Basically, employee engagement as a whole will get redefined, hopefully enabled by SuccessFactors.

  • Commerce
    The metaverse economy is based on blockchain, crypto currencies and NFTs. If SAP would like to enable companies in the metaverse, SAP Commerce Cloud will need to be able to support crypto and NFTs.

  • Developer advocacy
    High on SAP’s priority list is to attract new talents, among them developers. SAP could buy some land, built its presence and let the world get to know SAP intelligent technologies in the metaverse too.

  • Demos
    We all know how important it is to give good demos for prospects which are considering which software fits their business the best. SAP built a whole network of Experience Centers globally to bring the SAP messages in the best way. Why not do the same in the metaverse? This could bring the Experience Center concept to a full global reach.

  • Design Thinking
    Collaboration is key to design thinking. This is why SAP built the SAP AppHaus network of customer-facing co-innovation spaces. This is the sweet spot of the metaverse. SAP could scale the AppHaus approach to new levels.


Timing


In my humble opinion, the question is not if some of these things (and many other) will happen, but when they will happen. Consequently, the big challenge is the decide on the timing when it makes sense to invest. Just based on the known announcements, we will see bold moves, among others, from Meta and Microsoft already in 2022. Of course, for SAP, as an enterprise software vendor, being a pioneer in the metaverse might not be the first priority. Too early is not good, but too late is not good either. The question remains: What will SAP do?

 

Disclaimer: I don’t work for SAP and I have no insider information about this topic. All what is stated in this blog is pure personal speculation.
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