SAP aims to 'punch its weight' with telcos

Joseph Waring
11 Mar 2014

SAP has made telcos a strategic focus and plans to invest in a better go-to-market strategy and focus on more innovative deals in the sector.

Andrew Pitcher, who was recently appointed as SAP’s head of strategic industries for Asia Pacific (which includes Japan), admitted to “We are under penetrated in telcos.”

He said telcos have fundamentally changed and “SAP has not really been punching its weight -- now it’s going to, and it’s not just through the standard application play. It’s through the platforms we sell to them, which they can then ultimately sell to the enterprise and the end consumer.”

He also thinks SAP will make acquisitions to build out its platforms so it has end-to-end capabilities in the customer experience space, but wasn’t able to offer specifics.

The company’s other strategic sectors are financial services, public services and retail. Together with telcos, these sectors represent SAP’s main growth areas. Last year the company experienced 140% growth in the financial services sector.

Pitcher said SAP, outside its management support systems (which about 86% of telcos use for CRM, inventory, supply chain, etc), is not well known in these industries in APAC. “So there is a big upside. SAP is not necessarily a leader with telcos. We haven’t invested in our salesforce and we haven’t invested in industry knowledge to partner with telcos.”

He sees telcos facing the same issues that financial services companies have in the past -- pressure on prices, the need to take cost out and moving to standard platforms. Putting systems in the cloud can reduce upfront costs and give firms the ability to do real-time analytics.

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