SAP Bets Cloud Marketing On Microsoft Office 365 Veteran

New SAP CMO Maggie Chan Jones

New SAP CMO Maggie Chan Jones

Can SAP shed its legacy as a big, monolithic, on-premises software company? That's the challenge facing Maggie Chan Jones -- a Microsoft Office 365 and cloud marketing veteran who was just named SAP's new Chief Marketing Officer. This could turn into a great case study for IT leaders who are striving to reposition corporate brands.

The move comes as SAP continues to accelerate its cloud computing business. Overall, SAP's revenues aren't meeting Wall Street's expectations. In its most recent quarter, cloud subscription and support revenues grew 42 percent to $350 million, SeekingAlpha reported.

That's good growth -- but not nearly enough to please investors when SAP's overall quarterly revenues are $5.4 billion, SeekingAlpha notes.

Enter Maggie Chan Jones, a Microsoft veteran who was most recently Senior VP of North America Marketing at Level 3. Take a closer look at her resume, and Jones' experience helping Microsoft to shift from on-premises software to cloud-centric offerings like Office 365 likely landed her the job at SAP. 

Still, Jones exited Microsoft in 2012 -- before Office 365 marketing and positioning really hit stride, and before Microsoft's cloud sales really shifted into overdrive. Did she build the foundation for that success, or do her successors at Microsoft deserve the credit for cloud success -- or is it a little of both? We're checking.

Also of note: Jones has never been a CMO before. She's essentially jumping from a really big regional job at Level 3 to the global CMO post at SAP -- a company that really needs to modernize its brand.

Jones also has small business experience (at Microsoft) and enterprise experience (at Sun Microsystems). That background could serve her well at SAP, which has largely struggled to take its on-premises business downstream into the SMB market.

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