The SAP Sales Academy is a dynamic learning environment where participants foster innovative thinking and explore new ways to improve customer engagement. In this article, we dig into how SAP leverages the next-generation technology — such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) — to connect with people and transform corporate learning.
With the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changing the world of work, the German enterprise software giant has been championing the use of hybrid work solutions to reimagine the customer experience, as well as help shape new methods of learning and collaboration among employees. Patrick Fish from the SAP Academy for Digital Sales at SAP, shared that they recognised the challenges imposed by the pandemic as an opportunity to reinvigorate the learning experience of the associates at the Academy.
In a blog post, Fish discussed how they are incorporating VR technology across three Academy programs: Sales, Presales, and Digital Sales. By conducting a VR pilot, SAP Sales Academy intended to see if the technology can be used to improve co-worker relationships, train associates in a virtual setting, and rethink ways to improve customer engagement. As part of the program, Academy participants utilised 3D objects to create their ideal step-by-step customer journey when buying a product online — from product selection to delivery. After showcasing their 3D presentation, Associates then added virtual sticky notes outlining how SAP proactively addressed each stage in the customer journey.
Leveraging VR Technology at the SAP Sales Academy
In addition, VR is also opening up new avenues for transformation that SAP can take advantage of. SAP Sales Academy Associates have used VR capabilities to create virtual customer-facing presentations. SAP customer Lindsay Neill, Director of IT Applications at Mizuho OSI, shared her experience using VR, noting that:
“(This is) the greatest thing I’ve ever done with any vendor. The experience is so immersive. I was completely in the moment with your team and listening to their presentations. I’d actually love to meet with other customers or attend an SAP event in virtual reality.”
According to Fish, all Academy sales programs will incorporate VR this year and participants will be certified as SAP VR Champions, allowing them to organise internal and customer-facing meetings virtually.
“Blown away” by his first-hand encounter with the VR pilot, Mike Kaszuk, Chief Operating Officer, Midmarket & Partner Ecosystems, North America at SAP, said that it was a great immersive and cool experience. Meanwhile, Karina Edmonds, SVP Global Head of Academies & University Alliances at SAP, expressed her delight at the level of engagement the VR experience has delivered.
“I felt like we were all in the same room. It was an exciting new way to engage, learn, and practice new skills. I look forward to expanding our use of VR broadly,” she remarked.
Utilising AR Solutions
As a testament to being one of the leading innovative organisations using the next-generation technology to bring the user experience (UX) to the next level, the SAP Future Office also focuses on how to improve user engagement beyond the screen. Thomas Saueressig, Member of the Executive Board of SAP for SAP Product Engineering, explained in a Linkedin article that the SAP Future Office is creating an immersive experience with SAP’s intelligent spend systems by integrating AR into SAP Ariba and SAP Concur.
Noting that AR is also a powerful solution to bring together people who collaborate remotely, Saueressig said that the SAP Future Office is now looking at ways to use holographic representations of participants in virtual meetings to make them more effective.
“…a technology that has never been more relevant than in times of social distancing,” he emphasised.