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Customers Are in the Driver’s Seat Now

September 16, 2015 by Paul Taylor 124

SAP has launched three new digital front office tools designed to enable companies to better connect with their customers in the digital age.

In the digital age, the consumer really is king and old tools designed to “manage” customer relationships just don’t cut it.

Today’s consumers are sophisticated omnichannel buyers who want to be able to move seamlessly between digital devices like smartphones and tablets and physical locations – for example, a retail store or sales kiosk.

In this digital world, businesses need to connect the front office and back office in real time – linking people, inventory, supply chain, pricing, and customers together. This means that the new front office must go beyond the traditional marketing, sales and service “automation” functions and include integrated, real-time personalization, Web and mobile commerce and social customer service.

“Customer engagement has been the No. 1 priority of companies for last five years; and omnichannel is an imperative,” says Paul Greenberg, President, The 56 Group. “Nobody is better positioned than SAP when it comes to reimagining CRM.”

Underscoring its determination to lead the way, SAP today  announced three new technology tools for the digital ‘front office’ that will help companies develop stronger and closer relationships with their customers as they transform into digital businesses.

Launched as part of a broad sales campaign, SAP hybris Profile, SAP hybris Customer Experience  and SAP hybris-as-a-Service bridge the gap that has emerged in the digital age between companies and their customers and dramatically improve the customer experience by providing more timely and relevant information.

Together they will simplify the front-office, helping businesses get a single, contextual view of their customers while giving each individual customer a consistent, personalized experience across all channels no matter how, where and when they interact with a business.

They build upon the real-time insights provided by SAP HANA technology and form a key part of SAP’s strategy to enable its customers to transform successfully into digital businesses able to compete with both old and new rivals in our fast changing world.

These new tools are necessary because traditional sales force automation and customer relationship management systems, including cloud-based services offered by Salesforce.com and others, have failed to keep pace with the connected consumer.

“Companies can no longer rely on the costly, siloed systems of yesterday to engage with their customers, who are savvy, multidevice digital natives,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP. “Consumers today want their needs understood and met – right now and every time,” he said.

“Legacy cloud-based CRM technologies create business complexity, because their foundations predate the rise of social media and mobility. Companies today need innovative, integrated solutions that simplify the front office, making them easy to do business with and fostering greater customer engagement.”

While Salesforce has the largest share of the old-style CRM market, analysts believe SAP has the opportunity now to define the new and emerging market of omnichannel customer engagement, and provide the essential linkage between digital front and back offices.

The customer engagement market is already growing quickly. SAP itself reported that Customer Engagement and Commerce cloud new bookings grew over 240% in the second quarter. The three new SAP hybris tools are already being used by a group of early customers and will be generally available during the 2016 first quarter, are designed to enable companies to deliver an efficient, superior omni-channel experience to their customers in real time.

SAP jumpstarted the Beyond CRM campaign with an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal today and is in the process of training and certifying thousands of professionals from global consultancies such as Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte Digital, IBM Global Services and Publicis on SAP solutions for customer engagement and commerce.

It will also encourage companies to take their first step in the journey beyond CRM, by offering the SAP Cloud for Customer solution bundled with SAP HANA Cloud Platform at “an attractive price point.”

New Tools for the Digital ‘Front Office’

  • SAP hybris Profile enables companies to build a dynamic profile of a customer by capturing all their touch points with the company across any channels, and use these insights to suggest specific offers or other actions in real-time. The system continuously enriches the profile using analytics and machine learning algorithms and is designed for maximum flexibility and massive scale.
  • SAP hybris Customer Experience is a content management system that enables companies to deliver dynamic, targeted and consistent content, offers, products and service interactions regardless of customer touchpoint, channel or device.
  • SAP hybris as a Service is a cloud-based platform that enables solution providers, software vendors and individual developers to build and offer a wide range of third party diverse services, further simplifying the front office and driving a stronger community for customer engagement.

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