SAP announces a 3-year partnership with Microsoft: Why you should care


SAP and Microsoft recently announced they had signed a three-year partnership to help simplify the process for SAP customers to bring their data to the cloud. The industry is abuzz about it, but what does it really mean for you?

What does this new partnership between SAP and Microsoft mean for me? Why should I care?”

The Struggle of Migrating to the Cloud

In this day and age, where cloud computing is the gold standard for many businesses, an all-too-common complaint from SAP customers has been that it can be challenging to move from SAP’s on-premise model to remotely hosted services.  This partnership aims to change that.

Embrace: Making Migration to the Cloud Easier

The new partnership between SAP and Microsoft will bundle SAP cloud services with what they’re calling the Embrace. This will help clients run operations hosted at remote servers, supported by SAP’s flagship S/4HANA database. The goal is to allow SAP customers to more easily migrate from their existing on-premises models into the cloud by simplifying the migration to SAP S/4HANA and SAP Cloud Platform on Microsoft Azure.

So, what this means for SAP customers is that moving to the cloud is about to get a lot easier, faster, and less expensive.  It will also provide new and exciting opportunities to both SAP service providers and partners, Microsoft partners, and cloud service providers.

As part of the agreement, Microsoft will resell components of SAP Cloud Platform alongside Azure. It will reduce the complexity and minimize costs for customers as they move to SAP S/4HANA in the cloud. While the partnership strengthens SAP’s relationship with Microsoft and its Azure cloud division and positions Microsoft as SAP’s preferred partner for cloud solutions, Embrace will also work with Google and Amazon Web Services to provide customers with flexibility for their business solutions.

The Benefits of the Partnership Between SAP and Microsoft

Here are a few key takeaways about the new partnership between SAP and Microsoft and the benefits that Embrace offers:

The Cloud is the Future

This partnership between SAP and Microsoft is a powerful indicator that the entire cloud business is maturing and reaching new levels of power and sophistication.  With cloud computing becoming more important than ever before, this new partnership provides a unique opportunity for you to take advantage of the power of these solutions and move your data and services to the cloud to poise your business to improve your existing offerings and poise yourself to take advantage of future opportunities.

Fake News Filters: Spotting misinformation

How do we filter out fake news and misleading information in the vast ocean of the internet?

The advent of the internet brought with it incredible advancements in technology, communication, and the global economy, but with it also ushered in a long list of challenges that were previously unknown to us as a society. Identity theft, email scams, phishing, and other cybercrimes arose as the internet became larger and more widely used.

One challenge that has taken prevalence in recent years is fake news. With the widespread use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, instant mass-communication became a permanent feature in our lives, with people spending anywhere from 2 to 3 hours on their social media channels. As the internet quickly became our main source of information and news, the concept of the "official story" was somewhat muddled in the process.

We used to rely on large broadcasting companies and newspapers to get our world and local news. These companies are traditionally bound to strict codes of practice and legal compliance before they can agree on what the truth about any given story was. Because of the costs behind printing newspapers or broadcasting to television, communicating news and content required a broadscale effort and a lot of coordination. Nowadays, the internet and social media have made it possible for every independent citizen to have an outlet where they can publish content with very large potential outreach. While this has amplified our global communication and made our world smaller, this has also been taken advantage of by those who have found it profitable to peddle in deliberate misinformation and fake news. This has become significantly damaging in recent years as misinformation has been weaponized for political purposes.

It can often be difficult to distinguish fake news from real, credible information, especially given how social media algorithms function to show you content. Critical thinking and discerning are vital to surviving in the fake news era. As a digital marketing company, we feel it's important to start honing these skills as surfers in the ocean of information that is the internet. Before getting into a few tips to get better at filtering fake news, let's take a look at the types of misinformation you may run into online:

How do we get better at spotting fake news?

It's all about improving our critical thinking and applying it as an active exercise when consuming information online. Here are are a few tips to improve your fake news filters:

1) Vetting credibility

Vetting the credibility of a publisher is a simpler task than one would imagine. The reader must ask themselves several questions: does this publication meet academic citation standards? Is the domain name of the site suspicious? Is the author known?

A lot of fake news gets passed around by direct sharing. Remember: just because a link came from a friend you trust does not mean it has accurate content. Do your own vetting, even if the article was shared by someone you trust.

2) Quality and timeliness

Quality is a very important factor when it comes to spotting fake news. If you notice a lot of spelling errors, overly-dramatic tone, or general sloppiness in redaction, it's likely your dealing with a piece of fake news. Another easy way to vet a story is simply by looking at the date. Stories often get recycled for clicks and can be taken out of context.

3) Sources

This goes beyond stories on social media; you should check sources and citations for nearly all the information that comes your way. How did you arrive at this article? Who was it shared by? Is the information on this article available elsewhere? What is or isn't quoted?

Check cited sources and perform reverse searches for sources and images on the content you see. This will help you confirm the legitimacy of any given piece of information.

4) Fact-checkers

Fact-checking websites exist to make it easier for readers to quickly check the veracity of a news article. They use technology and expertise to provide accurate vetting and filtering. Fake stories can show up on more than one website and spread quickly, giving the impression that it is real information. You can check any of these fact-checking websites to help you vet news and stories:

We hope these tips are useful to our readers and help them become better at filtering fake news. Stick to the facts!

Staying Competitive in the Experience Economy

Experience Economy 101

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of competing in the experience economy, let's take a quick history lesson. Since the dawn of man, the economy has existed in one form or another. The first time a caveman exchanged a sharpened rock for a mammoth steak, trade was born. When we discovered food could be grown and harvested the agrarian economy was born and dominated civilization until the mass technological shift of the industrial revolution birthed the industrial economy. Two world wars and a Cold one after that resulted in stark structural changes in global economics. In the late '90s, the internet began its conquest of our personal and business lives and it changed just about everything. The way we interact and respond to our world evolved and ushered in our latest economic era: the Experience Economy.

The term was first described in a 1998 Harvard Business Review article, the author made note of experiences being a distinct economic offering "as different from services as services are from goods". Experiences exist as the most differentiated offering in today's economy; they go beyond price and quality and give the consumer an emotional reason to engage with their brand, product, or service. The modern consumer expects a fair price, excellent quality, and flawless customer service as minimum requirements to even consider a brand and bases their decision to purchase on an emotional response. In the experience economy, you are marketing feelings over the service or product.

Experience and the Purchase Cycle

It's tricky to come up with a formula that gives businesses the key to delivering on experience. We need to consider that this can be a bit abstract at times since experience is always present throughout every stage of the purchase cycle and varies greatly at each point. The experience you may want when searching and actually paying may be completely different from the experience you want interacting with your product.

Let's use an example: the author of this article is an avid video game enthusiast. For the better part of the last decade, most video game purchases are done through direct digital download: you search for your game, enter a payment method, download, and start playing. Gone are the days of enduring a block-long line for several hours in the cold to purchase a physical copy of the new Mortal Kombat, but also gone are the days of the thrilling anticipation that came from waiting to get home to unbox a brand new game and put it in the console for the first time. Direct digital downloads improved the experience of making it easy for everyone to purchase and immediately receive a game from the comfort of their homes, but completely removed the emotional value of unboxing a game.

Video game company's found a way to deliver on both these experiences and also make more money out of it through Day 1 collector's editions. These experience-heavy editions of video games allow the customer to download the game before it's release and activate on launch date so they can start playing immediately, but they also ensure the delivery of additional digital and physical content such as artbooks, action figures, bonus items, and elaborate boxes with a physical copy of the game on the day of the release. This way they are both removing the negative experience of having to leave your house to stand in line to buy a game, but adding the positive nostalgia-filled experience of unboxing something unique, all for a hefty price tag usually 3x or 4x the price of a standard digital-download.

Engagement and Customer Experience

That last example illustrates how experience sells, but video game company's are still selling a tangible product. How do we deliver on experience when it comes to service providers? The "math" is pretty much the same: the opportunity in this economy lies where business can meet or even exceed a customer's initial expectation of their buying experience. To understand what those expectations are, it's crucial to study your customers in detail and collect and use as much data from them as possible. Creating profiles of the different type of buyers that approach your business will help you learn how to appeal to each one on many different levels including the way they consume information and the way they make decisions. A lot of self-assessment is also required from every business to understand what they can be doing better to deliver on CX.

There is a lot of fertile ground in this budding economy in digital marketing even though it may not be easily apparent. What are your potential buyers looking for online? Why are they looking for it? When are they looking for it? What devices are they using?

All these questions give you answers on where you can improve CX. From intuitive design to content marketing and lead-conversion optimization, we are considering customer-experience throughout every level of how we do business and trying to drive the CX philosophy in the work we do for our clients. Our marketing strategies are aimed at driving engagement by improving customer experience elements for digital audiences. Learning and analyzing how your audience asks questions online and building informative original content to generate demand goes much further than providing basic product information. Customers are looking to be understood and cared for, so answering their questions as best as possible without them having to do too much searching is a compelling way to deliver on experience in this industry.