Director Product Marketing, Virtual Forge
GDPR, Customer Experiences, and Inbound Marketing strategies — they remain the hot topics for global marketing and sales teams. How do big companies stay on top of their game in the post-GDPR era, and what makes the B2B tech-ecosystem so dynamic — to get an insider’s view on these issues, we spoke to Patrick Boch, Director Product Marketing at Virtual Forge.
Tell us about your role at Virtual Forge and the team and technology that you handle.
Originally I was part of the Pre-sales team, so I was in a more technical oriented role. However, with our fast rate of growth (more than 25% year over year since I joined in 2013), it quickly became clear that we need someone to oversee the marketing of our products, how to position them, etc. Therefore I now head the product marketing for all of our products, making sure the global message is aligned and consistent across all regions we serve.
What is the current state of Digital Transformation for B2B companies?
The current state is improving, I would say. Some countries, for example, Germany, where our headquarters are located, have been slower to adapt to the new realities, and that is what we also see in the SAP market. As in many other areas, the SAP market in Germany is fundamentally different than what it is in the US. We do see that in the US, digital transformation is more sophisticated than in Germany, but on the other hand, we also see that there is much work to be done in North America, as well.
How much of this state would GDPR impact?
GDPR will definitely speed things up. With the new regulation, companies are forced to deal with their process regarding data, and that helps them to realize that so much more can be done when they design their process with digital transformation in mind in the first place. However, the need to comply with GDPR also means that resources are being taken away from other projects which influence the digital transformation more directly. Nevertheless, I am confident that GDPR will be an accelerator for the digital transformation in the long run.
How does Virtual Forge deliver data protection and security to SAP customers?
With our solutions and services, we enable SAP customers to take a comprehensive approach to SAP security. For solutions like those from SAP – the ERP business suite alone carries almost 400 million lines of code, compared to around 70 million for Windows 10 – there are many tools which consider security. Some more so, others less, but there are hardly any solutions on the market which enable customers to handle their security needs in all areas. Our objective is to enable comprehensive security for all SAP customers for all security relevant areas. And our solutions – foremost the Security Suite we offer – and services reflect that mission.
What does your product and solutions roadmap look like for B2B marketing and sales companies?
B2B marketing and Sales companies have been slow to adapt SAP solutions in the past. But we do see an increase there, especially with the new cloud offerings by SAP. Our solutions are implemented at a very technical level, which means that we are usually industry agnostic. Having said that, however, we are also expanding our portfolio to cover more of the SAP solutions directed toward marketing and sales companies, such as SAP Hybris.
What role would bots play in making a refined Digital Transformation?
Personally, I think that bots are a great way to enhance customer experience, especially for marketing and sales. From a company’s perspective, bots also help to pave the way for a more digital-oriented way of doing business – companies who use bot need to dive deeper into digital transformation.
What technologies in AI/machine learning have you deployed, or plan to deploy in the coming
For security solutions, AI is a very interesting technology. We’ve actually seen some experiments where artificial intelligence will learn how to detect and fix vulnerabilities without any human interaction. For SAP security specifically, AI will be the way to go forward – if only for the large amounts of data which SAP systems are generating. One example of this is a solution which SAP is positioning, which enables real-time-analysis of attacks. It’s called “Enterprise Threat Detection” and will detect potential attacks our of terabytes of data. We at Virtual Forge are working together with SAP on this technology and machine learning is key to be able to actually differentiate an attack from a simple operating mistake.
Thanks for chatting with us, Patrick.
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