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While the digital transformation is happening with full speed we are already facing the next era: the era of intelligence.

We as SAP are helping our customers to become intelligent enterprises. At the same time, we are using our own solutions to become an intelligent enterprise ourselves. In an intelligent enterprise every business process is a part of the company’s entire value chain. While every department has a specific role, all activities need to be aligned to create the visibility, focus and agility that define intelligent enterprises.

In this blog, I will look at the transformation of our marketing processes, as an example of the evolution of one department in SAP’s journey to become an intelligent enterprise. It is proof that real intelligence can only be achieved if all functions come together to achieve one common goal – in our case, creating customers for life.

Marketing is unique as it is a line of business that is highly impacted by digitalization. Today, marketing is almost completely digital. Buyers research online and often make buying decisions even before talking to any vendor – if they talk to one at all. This informed buyer needs to be addressed differently than in the past. Traditional marketing tactics like mass mailings need to be replaced by personalized digital marketing tactics and marketing automation. Buyers want to receive relevant information when they need it through the channel they prefer – in their own speed via various touchpoints. All interactions leave behind important digital footprints which can be used to identify topics of interest and measures tailored to each prospect or customer.

And this is where marketing needs to be aligned with all other corporate functions. To offer customers the experience they wish for, a 360-degree view of our customers and their data is crucial – in alignment and according to legal rules such as GDPR. At SAP, customer data is aggregated across the entire enterprise – this allows real-time analytics to understand how customers are engaging with us and provide them the personalized content that they need via the channel they prefer. Technology allows us to re-think processes in marketing automation, thus nurturing functionality as well as a scoring model increase the quality of leads and help to route the right leads to our sales teams at the right time, so they can have more meaningful and engaging conversations with our customers and prospects. Our contact scoring is being done by Machine Learning, thus we can qualify customer contacts faster and better than before – this is where our sales teams really benefit as our pipeline’s quality and volume improve. Additionally, our agency portal in the cloud connects marketing agencies as well as data providers to further optimize and harmonize the processes for our marketers.

We transform marketing at SAP with the help of SAP C/4HANA and our SAP Marketing Cloud. The SAP C/4HANA Suite is designed to support digital and future oriented marketing automation. With marketing being highly data driven, it relies on a tight connection between the front office and all fulfillment functions. SAP C/4HANA together with SAP S/4HANA can provide just that. This combination guarantees the most important pre-requisites to increase marketing-led demand generation: trusted data, single view of the customer, customer for life mindset, digital first engagement models and the connection of front and back-office.

To achieve this, we must overcome silo-ed thinking and work on one harmonized process across all related functions such as sales, development, digital channels and IT. Together, we need to ensure that our customers are experiencing one seamless end-to-end journey, from the time they search for a product through the sales cycle to solution adoption, usage, service and support. Our overall goal is nothing less than creating customers for life. Our team is thinking about every stage of the customer experience to make every step as frictionless as possible for our customers.

For us at SAP, our investments in our marketing transformation are already paying off with significant business benefits towards our targets, such as 2.5 x increase in contribution to revenue, 70 % reduction in lead response time and 37 % growth year-over-year in lead conversion to cloud bookings. With SAP Analytics always running in parallel to the end-to-end process, we can directly jump into the SAP Digital Boardroom and analyze marketing and customer data in real-time from end to end, meaning from the very first contact with the customer to the actual purchase and revenue. That said, we can continuously check the business benefits of our transformation.

By using our own technology, we are making our marketing intelligent. That brings us one step closer to achieving the visibility, focus and agility of an intelligent enterprise.

Maybe you know one of the many famous quotes from Albert Einstein: “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” In our case the ability and the willingness to change are key in becoming an intelligent enterprise. We must not forget that all this can only happen if all colleagues are convinced about the need to change and constantly adapt. Only then will the journey to the intelligent enterprise be successful.

On this journey, there are many more puzzle pieces that need to be transformed and aligned in one harmonized picture – not only in marketing. I look forward to sharing more stories during our journey to becoming an intelligent enterprise.