SAP Enterprise Product Development Customer Council, why have it?

All the businesses from the beginning of history have struggled with product development (assuming there is a market, doing the market testing and so on). But now they start with customer development. Get the customer who says, “Yes. I want that. I need it. I wanna use it. I’ll pay for it.” And then you go back and work with your engineers. It is changing the world!”- Brian Tracy (public speaker and author).

It is a changing world indeed! Today, many companies still consider marketing as a role that revolves only around promotional activities to generate leads and build brand awareness. Even during my MBA and bachelor degree studies in International Business not too long ago, this was what was taught to us during lectures. However, what I realized now, after some gaining some experience in the real world, not only at SAP but also at start-ups and other product organizations, it is not as simple as that. Even though marketing still has its role within the product organization, and will continue to be a part of it, I also believe what books forget to teach us is that the origin of marketing starts with the role of the Product Manager. Whether the product is software, a physical product or a service, the key person that knows the ins and outs of the thing that brings value to others, is the Product Manager.

What I love about SAP is that we follow this way of thinking. During these customer councils, our product owners and development team get the opportunity to share and work together with you, our customers – our actual end-users of our software, to gain feedback, and continuously work on improving and adding new software features that you need to run your daily business at your very best.

To build our newest PLM Cloud solution, SAP Enterprise Product Development, we initially started a  mini customer council with a small group of users. In the spring of 2022, for the first time, we hosted our first public virtual customer council from the 4th to 6th April.

Each day was a half day event, where we shared our PLM Cloud story, and how SAP Enterprise Product Development enables and supports your company’s product lifecycle in an ever-evolving digital supply chain. We showcased how product managers and product teams are equip with the necessary apps to define, develop, deliver and manage intelligent and sustainable products.

If you want to have a recap on this, Ismail Serin, Head of Product Management for SAP PLM shares this insight in the video below

Each day of the 3 half-day event was unique on its own and it gave the community the chance to get to know the different end to end business processes that the solution supports, considering both discrete and process industry processes. The team also demonstrated how SAP Enterprise Product Development integrates with other SAP solutions that enables a digital thread. At the same time the event provided the community a chance to connect directly with our product managers at SAP.

I absolutely loved our first public customer council for SAP Enterprise Product Development. It is super important our developers and product managers understand and gain feedback from the community directly, to ensure that we are building the right features that allows you to run at your best.

The solution has really matured since we launched it in 2020. We had just started out with four shy capabilities, and now we have many more capabilities upcoming – stay tuned for the newest upcoming apps!!

What I am super stoked about is that all these apps share a beautiful UI and are integrated seamlessly with each other. Not forgetting to mention the further integrations it supports towards SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP Ariba (Supplier Collaboration) and other SAP solutions that supports a product downstream process. With all these integrations that are available, you can truly have a seamless digital thread, accomplish a digital twin of your product, closing your product lifecycle loop by gaining feedback from end users or service operators which can be considered in product development as well as allowing you have new business model opportunities of your product along the way.

PLM in the cloud is here to stay – The journey has just begun for many of you and we look forward to continuously collaborate with you, our community in the future!

You might be asking yourself, how can I join in the community? How can I use SAP Enterprise Product Development to enable my company to make products that customers actually want? How can we as a company continue to stay competitive, increase product speed to market, understand products in the field and do all of this in a sustainable way?

To stay up to date on when the next event will take place, follow our tag on SAP Community and ask your questions directly in the SAP Community. Check out the SAP website to find more information, and even try out the free trial!

If you are interested in how your company can get started in implementing SAP Enterprise Product Development, you can check out the Quick Start Service for SAP Enterprise Product Development.

We have put together a playlist of snippets of the first day of the council. If you missed out on the event, feel free to watch it at your own leisure.

About the Author:

Sarah Mei Niesel is the Go To Market Sensei for SAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

Her main focus is to share stories about SAP PLM & build bridges between software development, marketing, solution management, consulting, product management, partner management, customer excellence office and of course, our community.

Follow her on LinkedIn to get the latest news about our PLM solutions at SAP.