SAP CEO on Qualtrics Deal: A Global Growth Juggernaut in the Cloud

Nov 12

SAP CEO Bill McDermott says that buying Qualtrics creates a “global growth juggernaut in the cloud, the number one business software growing in the cloud in the world.” McDermott says that he’s here to build a company for the generations, not just for a few days and that this is a fundamentally transformational deal, one that will reshape the entire industry.

Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith says that combining forces with SAP will change the experience economy forever. “This is by far a once in a generational opportunity and it’s going to change how everyone thinks about cloud and SAAS and CRM and ERP and HCM forever,” said Smith. “Why wouldn’t we want to be a part of that?”

Both SAP CEO Bill McDermott and Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith talked about the acquisition on CNBC Squawk Box this morning (Watch Video Below):

SAP CEO: If You Can Combine X-Data and O-Data You Can Change the World

We’re reshaping the enterprise application software industry. What led us to this deal is that all CEOs you talk to want to run their companies on an end-to-end basis. They want to deal with their customers in every channel, they want to fulfill, and that requires operational data. SAP touches 77 percent of the world’s transactions, but the operational data doesn’t ask the right question. It doesn’t say, why does the customer feel a certain way about your brand, about your products, and about their experience. This new category called experience management is all about x-data and if you can combine o-data and x-data you can change the world.

Ryan I have known each other about three months. We spent a lot of time together, a lot of text, a lot of phone calls, and we fundamentally wanted a transformational deal, one that would reshape the entire industry and here we are.

SAP CEO: If You Want to Survey Somebody You Hire Survey Monkey…

Have you looked at acquiring SurveyMonkey? No, they do surveys we reinvent customer experiences in a whole new category called experience management. If you want to survey somebody you hire Survey Monkey, if you want to fundamentally change the way an enterprise thinks about its culture, its brand, its products, and its people, now you’re talking Qualtrics, the leader in the marketplace by a factor of 10x. We’ve always bought the biggest and the best one and thankfully with the high trust that Ryan and I developed and our companies developed we’re ready to go.

SAP CEO: A Global Growth Juggernaut in the Cloud

When you’re talking about this particular company, Qualtrics, they’re growing at 40 percent on a year-over-year basis in the cloud. They have a very serious go-to-market strategy, but it’s modest in size. We’re growing at 41 percent year-over-year in the cloud and we have a very large go-to-market machine, more than 15,000 people touching the customer every day. If you combine that rate of growth you have a global growth juggernaut in the cloud, the number one business software growing in the cloud in the world. So digest that dear shareholders.

We’re saying and we’re very clear on this, we’re going to grow total revenue in double-digit, operating income in double-digit, not to mention being the fastest growing cloud company in the world. So today this will be digested. Now they’ll know, why did he do a big one when he said he was more likely gonna do tuck-ins? Because I never thought I would get Qualtrics and it takes some skill to pull deals like this off and convince a great entrepreneur like Ryan that he’s better off with SAP than going it alone when he’s 13x oversubscribed in his IPO.

SAP CEO: I’m Here to Build a Company for the Generations

So that’s what took a little bit of time and when we pulled it off together this weekend we were literally crossing each other in the air at 39,000 feet, so this was high-stakes. Now that we’re here, we’re doing all-hands meetings, we’re talking to the media, we’re talking to the bankers, and I expect the stock to do extremely well as the day progresses, and more importantly in the mid and the long term. I’m here to build a company for the generations, not just for a few days.

Qualtrics CEO: We Created the Experience Management Category

We were planning on ringing the bell on Thursday. I was home this weekend just to kind of take a little break after a week on the road it was going really well. We were 13 times oversubscribed with the best still ahead of us and then we had an opportunity to combine forces with SAP and change the experience economy forever. I think in my conversations with Bill it’s something that we only dreamed of that we could make this happen. It’s pretty special.

We’ve been doing this for 16 years. We transformed the entire experience management category, we’ve created it. We’re powering the feedback for 14 different airlines, 200 financial institutions, and we’ve really created this category to go do something big, that was the goal. We never had a financial reason to go public, we bootstrapped our company longer than anyone and we had no investor pressure. We’re one of the only companies that has been cashflow positive and high growth since its inception. The reason why we were going public was to create this massive new category.

Qualtrics CEO: A Once in a Generational Opportunity

When Bill approached us with a once in a generational opportunity that we could take all the power of Qualtrics and our 9,000 brands and have that sit alongside SAP and have every ounce of customer feedback go into the entire product process with an ERP system, reshape how the world thinks about CRM, and everything that we’re doing to power all the employee experience of the whole world that’s all available overnight. That’s something that we couldn’t turn down and we chose to be here.

Our IPO was already way oversubscribed, it was gonna take off and everyone was looking at us saying, hey this is the next $20 or $30 billion dollar standalone company. But we want to win and this is what winning looks like and we’re going to reshape the entire industry and Bill’s on board and we’re excited.

We were pretty set on going public and so it wasn’t till this opportunity came through this weekend where we said, hey look, this is by far a once in a generational opportunity and it’s going to change how everyone thinks about cloud and SAAS and CRM and ERP and HCM forever. Why wouldn’t we want to be a part of that? We couldn’t be more excited and like I said this is a pretty special team with Bill and me.

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