Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith on SAP Deal: 'It's Literally a Match Made in Heaven'

November 14, 2018

By Chloe Aiello

Ryan Smith was planning to celebrate the public debut this week of Qualtrics, a company he founded, built, and now leads along with his brother and father. Instead, one day before Qualtrics' scheduled IPO, he stood beside SAP CEO Bill McDermott to celebrate something entirely different.

Both Smith and McDermott are still riding high on German software giant SAP's ($SAP) last-minute, $8 billion buyout of Qualtrics ー a deal Smith called "literally a match made in heaven." And they've got plans to shake up the enterprise technology world.

"This was the biggest move possible because it re-architects every enterprise in the world," McDermott told Cheddar on Wednesday right before he and Smith rang the NYSE closing bell in honor of their deal.

Qualtrics, which calls itself an "experience management" company, offers cloud-based subscription software that assists in collecting and analyzing data a company can use for market research, product development, and customer engagement. SAP, on the other hand, deals in operational data and is especially known for its work in enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and human capital management. SAP counts Salesforce among its rivals.

Both CEOs have been singing praises about the deal's synergies.

"Experience management is going to be the biggest category in the business software industry, probably in the last 25 years," McDermott said. "We have a chance to take all that operational data, combine it with the experience data and fundamentally reshape the information technology industry."

"They go end-to-end, we go end-to-end. If you look at it, it's one single system," Smith said. "There's no other company, there's no other culture."

And the deal doesn't mean the end of Smith at Qualtrics. He'll continue to run things there, and he expects to see continued growth.

"We just got off the phone with the governor of Utah, and Bill's comment was, 'You better pull out the diggers and the bulldozers, because we are going to be building some buildings,'" Smith said.

"We are literally going to be expanding as fast as we possibly can."

For full interview click here.

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