eCommerce CIO

(How to) Be Deliberately Disruptive and Win Big in the Digital Revolution!

Engage Your Customers with SAP Cloud

Engage Your Customers

Do you engage your customers? Do you reach them where and when they are listening, and they to you?

Let’s put it another way, do you define Customer Engagement among the core competencies that form your company’s path to value? Have you considered the explosion in possible customer touch-points that the digital revolution has created, and wondered how to turn these opportunities to your advantage?

In our first installment, SAP Cloud Matters, SAP Cloud CMO Tim Minahan explored the impact Cloud is having on Business, IT, and Innovation. In this second installment, we switch our focus to Cloud and Customer Engagement.

Particularly, Tim shares with us his view on how the system paradigm for engaging your customers shifts with SAP Cloud from internal “command & control” to a more Millennial friendly omni-channel “customer-of-one” experience.

And, when it comes to your relationship with your customers, this really is a matter that warrants to attention of the entire C-Suite.

eCommerceCIO: Tim, you once discussed being “an insight driven organization”. This sounds like a much evolved definition for businesses competing in a multi-channel world. Can you elaborate on what an “insight driven organization” is and how it differs from other organizations? How can SAP help its customers become “insight driven organizations”?

Tim: Access to data via Cloud is a different world. We are just beginning to scratch the surface of what we can analyze and deliver in real time and in the context of business process.

Take SAP’s Predictive Supply Chain analytics as an example. With HANA, you can aggregate and analyze multiple volumes of data in minutes that would previously have taken days to cull through. And with Cloud, customers can also tap into the business network.

The Ariba Network which is 1.5 million connected companies around the world pulls information sources not just from the network companies, but from government reports and finance reports and so on and organizes all this information into a common algorithm. It enables an incredibly rich pool of information and data for predictive analysis to provide the sort of insight that was previously impossible for many companies to handle solely in an on-premise world.

eCommerceCIO: Do SAP customers understand this opportunity as well as SAP does?

Tim: They are beginning to, and are beginning to create entirely new scenarios that we did not see.

For example, Marriott did not rip and replace their existing systems, but rather extended with Cloud through Talent Management and Workforce Analytics. Also they tapped into our social business collaboration platform called JAM. This approach provides Marriott an efficient and effective way to onboard the largest portion of their workforce which is their seasonal employees, their contingent workforce, and to truly turn them into ambassadors for their brand. Also, they can take advantage of the creative thinking of thousands of managers worldwide who are trying various promotions and services to adapt Marriott’s level of customer service globally much more quickly than they could before.

These are the scenarios our customers are driving because they now see the possibility to do so, because they are not just tapping into an on-premise system that was organized to be a system-of-record rather than a system-of-collaboration.

We have Cloud tools that help – Social Analytics and Business Collaboration. In fact, we have the most widely used Business Collaboration tool out there, more users than Chatter or Yammer, etc. And what makes our Social Collaboration tool different is not that it is just a place to go to ask questions. It is a place you go to ask a question, and then to drive immediately into the business transaction. Did you know 74 percent of the world’s transactions emanate from an SAP system? This means we can truly be a moving force to bring social into the context of the business process, and we make this happen through what we call “work patterns”.

Consider Social Selling. Customers can wrap SAP JAM into CRM to allow not only a salesperson to get a 360 degree view of that client, but entire company populations can work on a dynamic profile of that customer. Through tagging, automatic recognition for any related information to that customer or that industry, and social mining such as LinkedIn or others, you can thoroughly map and understand where you might have connection to that account and identify some key influencers that you might be able to leverage.

So these are some of the types of social engagements that augment what traditionally is done in CRM by adding a Cloud engagement layer on top.

eCommerceCIO: It certainly sounds like the lines between a B2B or B2C platform are blurring. Really, it is more a question of how you want to engage and what you want to do regardless of modality.

Tim: I would absolutely agree. We truly believe and are seeing customers adopting Cloud for new engagement models and ultimately philosophically coming at things in entirely new and innovative ways with enterprise applications.

Beyond the original construct of “System-of-Record for Command & Control”, what we are seeing now is the fundamental construct of “Mobile First” which in my opinion is a euphemism for “applications are being developed for people”.

Organization structures are fundamentally changing in part because of globalization, but in part because of diversity in workforce. Of those born after 1980, the Millennials will soon account for nearly half of the workforce in 2017. These are the digital natives. They do not look at instruction manuals. They expect products, especially technology products to be intuitive. If they cannot figure out an app or how to run a device then they think there is something wrong with the product. This is fundamentally different. We are not sending them away for two week courses on how to use ERP. That is not acceptable to this generation, and we are very mindful of that.

Also Millennials especially want to share information and consequently organizations are flattening, facilitated in part by technology. Companies are not only allowing but are promoting the sharing of ideas, collective problem solving, etc.

This is an exciting time, and technology is shifting from Age of Enterprise Applications to Enterprise Personal Applications.

eCommerceCIO: Originally, I had planned to ask what do CMOs want from their CIOs but now in talking with you the question seems to be less about the CMO and CIO independently and more “How does the C-Suite become a force for digital disruption to drive competitive advantage for the company overall, and how does everybody get behind that game? In short, how do we turn the entire C-Suite into a virtual, collective CIO?

Tim: Yes, I agree. Essentially we are moving from “Enterprise Applications” to “Personal Enterprise Applications”, and it is about a “Customer of One”.

Going back to your original premise, this means omni-channel commerce is really about how to deliver a consistent and unified customer engagement or customer experience in the way the customer wants.

If customers want to research on their cell phone, order on their laptop, have part of the order drop-shipped to their house because it is not in stock and pick up the first part on their way home, companies need to be able to support that. Cloud makes it possible.

Being able to carry that engagement, that transaction across multiple devices, across multiple channels in order to support the Customer of One, and it all must be no more than 2 clicks away- these are the sorts of C-suites discussions that are going on now, not just in software industry but in every industry.

Companies are saying “We have one single omni-channel presence that we need to support”. Cloud can make it happen.

eCommerceCIO: Many companies are still struggling with how to become a multi-channel let alone omni-channel retailer. It sounds like SAP has a clear vision for the platforms that get you there.

Tim: Yes, particularly if you look at where we made investments. We made 40 years of investment in system-of-record solutions. Our recent acquisitions are around Hybris, Ariba, and other omni-channel solutions. We believe we must be ahead of and to set the curve, to assemble the right infrastructure that helps companies participate and win in this digital economy. And, at this juncture, that means Cloud.

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