SAP used its recent SAP Sapphire annual user conference in Orlando, Florida to detail a “definitive agreement” under which SAP will acquire WalkMe, a digital adoption platform (DAPs) company.

What Is A Digital Adoption Platform?

An arguably somewhat woolly term, digital adoption (something we all naturally do anyway as an increasingly instinctive action as we absorb new tech devices, tools and services) in this formalized sense of the term refers to platform-level technology that sits on top of an enterprise application or suite to guide users with onboarding functions so that they gain competency with the digital functions on offer.

Typically enriched with a healthy portion of artificial intelligence (especially in the current era) to provide contextual guidance relevant to the application and the organization inside which it is used, digital adoption tools provide walkthroughs (hence the company name in this case) as well as automated self-help functions and step-by-step “overlays” i.e. abstraction layers designed to walk users through application functionality by hand.

WalkMe says its solutions help organizations navigate constant technology change by providing users with advanced guidance and automation features that enable them to execute workflows seamlessly across any number of applications. This results in higher adoption of the underlying application and, as such, drives value realization.

Do You Know Word, Really?

As a working example, imagine the average user of Microsoft Word or Excel. These applications harbor hundreds of functionalities that the average user never really touches or accesses. Used in an enterprise environment, digital adoption technologies are designed to ensure users get the most productive potential out of the applications and data services they are exposed to every day.

“WalkMe helps organizations boost enterprise productivity and lower risk by enabling consistent, effective and efficient use of software and the workflows it enables. Its DAP works on top of an organization’s application landscape, detects where people encounter friction and provides the tailored support and automation they need to complete the job to be done, right in the flow of work, across any application. Importantly, WalkMe will continue to fully support non-SAP applications,” notes the company, in a press statement.

In wider external use outside of enterprise environments, digital adoption services might guide online banking users through additional incremental services that they didn’t know they had the option to exploit. As an even more tangible example, imagine a supermarket shopping app that users might grasp to automate their checkout payments at the till. While base functions in Happy Shopper (not real, but it could be) are used by all, how many customers are using the loyalty rewards option, how many users take advantage of special price offers etc. While most DAP is used inside the enterprise, this outward-facing application scenario also exists.

An Adoption Concoction

“Applications, processes, data and people are the four key elements of a successful business transformation,” said Christian Klein, CEO of SAP SE. “By acquiring WalkMe, we are doubling down on the support we provide our end users, helping them to quickly adopt new solutions and features to get the maximum value out of their IT investments.”

The executive and supervisory boards of SAP SE and the board of directors of WalkMe have approved the transaction for US $14.00 per share in an all-cash transaction, representing an equity value of approximately US $1.5 billion. The envisioned combination complements SAP’s Business Transformation Management portfolio around SAP Signavio and SAP LeanIX services.

“We are thrilled to join forces with SAP. This acquisition marks a significant milestone in our journey, providing us with the resources and customer base necessary to enhance our product offerings and expand our market reach,” said Dan Adika, CEO of WalkMe. “By leveraging SAP’s extensive ecosystem, we are poised to unlock substantial growth opportunities and deliver even greater value to our customers. Together, we look forward to a future filled with innovation and exceptional service.”

Next Step For Any Workflow

WalkMe soon launch its WalkMeX copilot, which will use WalkMe’s contextual awareness and AI to suggest the best next step for any workflow, anywhere. WalkMeX has the capability to always be on, serving as an overlay to any application, including copilots from different vendors that companies use in their landscapes. Integrating the strength of WalkMe’s adoption capabilities with SAP’s copilot Joule will boost AI assistant and productivity gains for all SAP customers. 

Additionally, integrating distinctive e-learning features in the SAP Enable Now solution with WalkMe will form the center of SAP’s people-centric transformation approach going forward.