Amid pandemic, SAP offers financial help for customers

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SAP CEO Christian Klein tells Bloomberg that sales weakness is evidence of Cloud transition.

SAP CEO Christian Klein told Bloomberg TV this week that his company has committed to extending customer payment terms and helping partners struggling as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

His promise comes as the second wave of the COVID-19 emergency ravages Europe and governments move to impose further lockdowns.

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“My biggest challenge is to make sure that our customers can deliver, sell and produce tomorrow and SAP is doing that, not only by the way on helping them to transform their business models [but] also by helping the customers who are in financial distress in the crisis. We are prolonging payment terms. We don’t want to leave one single customer, or one single partner, behind,” he said.

Indeed, the software giant needs to hold onto all the customers they can. Klein’s Bloomberg interview was also to help explain to jittery shareholders why his company’s revenues were down so much. The one bright spot in the company’s finances were Cloud revenue.

“Covid-19 is an inflection point for our customers,” Klein said in the interview on Monday. “They had a big ask: they want to accelerate the move to the cloud. This is what we are now doing. We are following the needs of our customers.”

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Company has a history of helping struggling customers

Klein’s comments are similar to what he said at the company’s Sapphire conference in June. There he said that “when a customer…had severe liquidity issues, we of course were open to talk and to find another financing options, to also change contract to make deals work.

“We are doing this on a case-by-case basis. We cannot do this for everyone, but especially to small and midsize customers who are really suffering, and I include their partners as well, we are reaching out with a helping hand.”

“We couldn’t trade the success of our customers, versus the old guidance we had out there in the capital market,” he said.