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SF Small Business Week. Celebrate Small Business.


SAP: Run Your Business at Its Best & Accelerate Decision Making

We’ve asked some of our #SFSBW2018 sponsors to share their insights, and how they help small business flourish in San Francisco.

Today we hear from Eric Friedrichesen, VP and Head of SMB for SAP North America.

SAP people standing at desk with laptop

What is your Company’s Mission?

SAP’s mission is to enable every company in the universe to run at their best through our technology. This means companies of all sizes – from startups to the Fortune 500, we enable businesses to simply run at their best.

 

How does SAP support and engage the small business community?

80% of SAP’s customers are small and midsize companies. They use our solutions to take complexity out of running their business, so they can focus on growing their company.

SAP solutions tie inventory and financing to your point of sale in a way that not only simplifies the process for your customers but also for your employees. We help accelerate decision-making, integrate processes, and provide information in real time with solutions that scale as your company grows. We have experts from 26+ industries that can serve as trusted advisors as well.

 

What tools and resources has SAP created to help small businesses tap into new opportunities to reach new customers, increase their revenue, and grow their business?

We have many products, including cloud ERP, on-premise ERP, and even solutions for businesses with 5 employees. Our digital core contains HR solutions, travel solutions, customer engagement and commerce, analytics, and cloud and data platform, among others. SAP also has a large network of 250,000 small and medium businesses around the world that has grown with us, and quite successfully. It’s a network all of our customers can tap into. To name a few in the network- Skullcandy, allbirds, College Football Hall of Fame, doTerra, the Sharks, TOMS, Direct Relief International, David Yurman, and Fresh Direct.

 

What are the trends you see when you think about the small business marketplace, and how will these trends shape the future of small business?

The cloud is huge. It makes technology accessible, affordable and FAST to implement for small businesses. As technology changes, it’s also important to remember that your customer is king. If you own or manage a brand or organization today, you are in the business of customer experience.

Digital disruption has changed almost everything that we knew and accepted as ‘normal’, from the way we consume information to how we purchase goods and services to how we engage with brands. As a result, customer experience has become a requirement for any business to survive today. Gone are the days where you could survive solely on the product or service offered, yet many organizations today still struggle in truly transforming the customer experience. So, how can businesses engage, in a meaningful way, with the experience generation and where does digital transformation fit in this whole picture? To answer that we need to first understand what digital transformation is really about. Digital transformation is about innovation, which means doing things differently. Every successful innovation starts by having the customer in the very center of it.

Customer experience starts with customer engagement, and customer engagement is built on trust. Customers will come back to you when that trust is guarded and honored. Trust is the real currency in today’s digital economy and there are lots of way technology can help you build it.

 

Can you share one brief story about how SAP is helping San Francisco businesses thrive?

A large portion of our customers started as startups in the Valley and they continue to thrive. Not only do they run our software so they can help the world run better and they do business better, but we also have arms of our business that fund startups and ventures!

SAP card reader

What words of advice or wisdom would you like to share with small business owners?

I’d like to share something that one of our customers told me some months back. She was an entrepreneur who built an amazingly successful company. She said, “Entrepreneurship is a journey of learning.” Small business owners have a lot to learn from other entrepreneurs. Just because your business is different does not mean no one can help. Seek advice everywhere, build a network. In addition to developing a peer network, you have to find a balance between not letting people discourage you and being blind about your business and ideas. Listen to other’s questions, but don’t be discouraged by them – explore them and let them help you to make a better business case.

 

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