The complete bag of tricks? SAP acquire Qualtrics

15 November 2018

Tom Bridge

Tom Bridge

Digital Marketing Manager

SAP isn’t monkeying around when it comes to survey software – Qualtrics being their latest acquisition. Is this just a sign of a large tech firm putting too many fingers in too many pies, or is this a more strategic move?

Qualtrics – what is Qualtrics? 

Qualtrics, in their own words, is the “Leading Research & Experience Software”. Think Google Forms but with richer features and the ability to design bespoke surveys for top end research. It has four applications targeting the customer, employee, brand and product all with the aim of understanding, tracking and analysing these sectors. It’s easy to see how these resonate with SAP and where the attraction is.

Using logic and flows, you can produce detailed research that carries real weight and follows recommended guidelines. Qualtrics offers a wide range of survey types, scaling and response options to give you richer and more useful insights. It’s often the go to choice for leading educational establishments, research-based organisations and public bodies. You can set up a free account to get an idea of how it works.

Adding more ‘intelligence’ to the Intelligent Enterprise

SAP’s focus is on the ‘Intelligent Enterprise’ – harnessing your organisation’s data to allow for intelligent decision making. We call this the Automated Enterprise.

Part of the intelligence gathering process is about being able to measure the pulse of the important things:
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer retention
  • Employee satisfaction
  • New product development – is there a need for X or Z
  • Brand reputation
This is where the acquisition comes into its own. If SAP can successfully intertwine Qualtrics' ability to collect detailed insights at each of the core business functions of Procurement, Finance, CRM, and HR then they will have a data ecosystem that uses its own data to feed itself and continually improve. That will be a powerful proposition. 

Qualtrics and SAP C/4HANA – our thoughts…

There is a big drive in the Customer Experience (CX) space for organisations to predict ‘customer intent’ and this acquisition could help. But that may just be us reading between the lines...

There might also be some transactional capability that SAP wants to integrate with C/4HANA for direct surveys. SAP Cloud for Customer has got its own built-in survey tool used in the sales and service scenario. But the Coresystems acquisition in June already brings a better survey tool for the service scenario.

In SAP Marketing Cloud, survey campaigns can currently only be executed using an integration with SurveyMonkey. Maybe SAP wants to integrate this capability in their product. That's just pure speculation at this point in time.

What we do know is that keeping track of customer attitudes and experiences can increase campaign effectiveness by enabling a more accurate prediction of a prospect or customer’s propensity to buy. It also aids sales and marketing teams to track prospects that often go undetected using traditional segmentation models. Take a look at this case study for BMW.

From our experience, we see an increasing level of interest in methods that model customer intent, increase levels of personalisation and more heavily influence buying decisions. Rich qualitative data is a key part of that and already being considered by big players across industry. Qualtrics is the obvious solution to that.

Qualtrics and SAP Analytics Cloud

SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is core to SAP’s vision for the Intelligent Enterprise and its easy to see that there would be an advantage to integrating the cloud-based survey solution with it. 

Imagine the possibility of being able to input real-time survey results to your mix of Business Intelligence (BI) data. Imagine being able to see more clearly the relationship between customer satisfaction and sales as one example. 

SAP Analytics Cloud already provides opportunities for traditional BI, Predictive Analytics as well as Planning, so the addition of customer, product and HR insights would further strengthen its toolbox. 

Not the most obvious acquisition

Although the acquisition has raised some eyebrows and a few head scratches, it does make sense for SAP to be investing in this area. But it will be interesting to see how SAP wishes to integrate its new acquisition.

Will it be left as a silo for some time, or will it be a short time before we see integration with platforms like SAP C/4HANA and SuccessFactors? The beauty of platforms like Qualtrics, is that with the right knowledge and by asking the right questions, organisations will be able to close the gap in better understanding people’s pain points; be that customers, users or employees.

The million-dollar (or shall I say $8 billion) question is the ROI on this acquisition – do the benefits really add up to the price tag? Is it a gamble? Perhaps there's something behind the scenes, some next level innovation that has caught SAP’s attention. Only time will tell.

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Tom Bridge

Digital Marketing Manager

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race

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