This article was featured in WOOL. Last updated for Wipro.com on March 6, 2020.
WOOL: Jennifer, congratulations on being named Co-CEO of SAP and we look forward to more great things! In your recent role as President of SAP’s Cloud Business Group, how did you leverage the position to create critical business innovations?
ENNIFER MORGAN Thank you - I'm very excited about the new role. As you may have seen, we recently acquired a company called Qualtrics, which is geared towards experience management. These days, we are all operating in an experience economy. If a company is unable to tap into and cater to customers at all levels, someone else quickly steps in to fill that (experience) gap. Companies like Uber and Lyft were born because of a gap between what service was available and what people wanted to receive. Several start-up led innovations are geared towards exploiting this experience gap, whether in a product or a service. Legacy companies are also integrating digital transformation by identifying and addressing this gap.
We are really excited about this new category (experience management) because it's going to allow us to combine operational data with experience data (of your employee, consumer, supplier, etc.) and distil not just what is happening but why it is happening. And I think companies that can leverage this kind of data in a proactive way will have a competitive advantage. I see merit in taking the best of what we have in terms of operational system and software enterprise and combining it with experience management or X-data, as we like to call it, to create a new way of seeing and running a business.
"Good corporate governance is about making sure that you are doing the right business in the right way. It's also about making sure that it is something not just talked about by a small group of people, but practiced ground up and that it becomes an ongoing process."
WOOL: Acquisitions are strategic, but integration takes time. As a leader, how are you transitioning on a cultural level, what does your to-do list look like, what are you most focused on?
JM Listening and understanding. I have just walked into a new role. My job is to step in and create an environment of trust and transparency so that people believe. If people don't want to tell you what they want, it is hard to understand what you need to fix, what you need to be doing, what you need to accelerate, what your opportunities for new ideas and innovation are. So establishing trust is critical. I'm also laser-focused on making sure that I'm getting up to speed quickly on the product and engineering side of the business. Obviously, I'm very familiar with the revenue side of the business and spend a lot of time with customers, but I want to ensure that I'm familiarizing myself with those other aspects of the business as well.
One of the things I'm going to be doing - in addition to spending a lot of in-person time with these teams - is actually leveraging Qualtrics to understand the experiences that our product and development teams are having across the business. I think this will help me have a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead from a product perspective. And this, to me, is walking the talk on ensuring that we’re understanding the "what" that comes from having great O-data and the "why" that comes from having great X-data - and in this case, that means understanding the employee experience. It also ties into making sure everybody is heard, and it allows me and everyone else in the organization to have a much broader context. I think this aspect is important for all verticals of businesses and leaders in order for them to understand how products are perceived, have more empathy, collaborate better, and ultimately, think differently and more creatively.
WOOL: Qualtrics is an $8 billion acquisition. There is always pressure to quantify results, especially with such big-ticket investments. How best can you deliver short term results since building trust, identifying new areas of innovation and forging partnerships cannot keep pace with quarterly earnings?
JM Obviously. Absolutely. Any company reporting quarterly results has the pressure to make sure that you are delivering on the short-term whilst creating sustainable growth for the long-term. And you have to balance both. I have worked on the revenue side of the business, so I am used to delivering every quarter. I embody that sense of urgency and balance, which is particularly useful because in a large company, there are multiple things going on and it is easy to lose focus. A big part of my job is to make sure that people stay focused.
You have to show progress in the short term and evaluate whether you are getting where you need to be, whether you report earnings or not. For me, I think what is important right now is to keep bringing the voice of the customer to the development and operational teams. It's no secret that further strengthening that connection between the customer and the product and development teams will continue to bear fruit for us. And that means ensuring that we’re soliciting customer insights and feedback along the entire innovation journey.
"We are really excited about this new category (experience management) because it's going to allow us to combine operational data with experience data (of your employee, consumer, supplier, etc.) and distil not just what is happening but why it is happening. And I think companies that can leverage this kind of data in a proactive way will have a competitive advantage."