Written by Alexa Gorman SVP, SAP.iO Foundries & Intrapreneurship at SAP

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at the NVT Houseparty with Mark Osborn, Global VP of Business Development and Strategy for SAP Consumer Industries, about how SAP.iO delivers on our 3-fold value proposition.  SAP’s startup driven innovation activities strive to deliver value to SAP customers, benefits to startups and strategic impact for SAP. Our conversation focused on how SAP.iO helps innovators start-up with SAP as we bring together leaders from every region, industry and line of business to transform how businesses run. If you are interested in listening to our discussion, you can watch it here

Since 2017, we’ve helped 300+ startups and ventures accelerate their growth while enabling thousands of SAP customers to access the startup solutions on the SAP Store. At SAP.iO, we work closely with startups and help them extend their networks, integrate their startup solutions, and support their go-to-market efforts with SAP. This allows us to get valuable feedback on our technology and APIs while expanding SAP’s offering to include the latest innovations in the market and building the next generation of partners for SAP. We collaborate with SAP’s customers and connect them with relevant startup innovation that helps to transform their business and extends the value of their investments in SAP solutions.  

Over the past 4 years SAP.iO has become the matchmaker of the enterprise software world. We look into customers pain points and match their needs to the startups that will best support their business transformation. Many SAP customers collaborate with us to select the startups we bring into the SAP ecosystem. One of the ways we excel at matchmaking is evaluating customer and market needs and providing programs specifically focused on addressing those current needs.  

An industry that is going through major transformations, is the consumer products industry, which is an area of focus for us. In our discussion, Mark spoke about the importance and value for customers and SAP of working with consumer industry startups. Not only does the collaboration shape the perception of SAP as an innovator in the industry but also opens new doors and strengthens relationships within our customers. “It has exposed our teams more broadly to cutting-edge innovations that are all complementary to our investments in the core SAP portfolio to take a bigger and better story to our customers about the value we provide.” Mark said.  

As far as latest trends, Mark noted that trends that were transforming the consumer products industry before the pandemic have only been accelerated as a result of it. For example, consumer values are shifting fast, quoting a Nielsen report “consumers are buying the change they are seeing in the world.”  

There are creative people around the world seeing this as an area of untapped opportunity which is leading to the next shift, moving us from the age of resources to the age of ideas. Today, what is most important is the idea that you have, making it ever so imperative that companies attract the right talent to bring these ideas to life. All of this is happening, and we are seeing areas of declining cost, like in sales and marketing where is it considerably cheaper to reach your audience through social media channels. It’s not only cheaper, it can be an almost instant, meaningful connection with the consumer.  

We’ve seen this with global companies, like Unilever, that recently partnered with an SAP.iO startup Scantrust, who developed technology for QR codes that they applied to packaging. Unilever applied codes to soup packets so that the consumer can easily scan the packages and learn more about the source of all ingredients. What that has done is create an additional channel for the company to interact with its consumers that had never existed before. Here they can foster trust, share more content, push marketing offers, and interact through sharing recipes. Read more on Moments of Opportunity Tel Aviv Demo Day  

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