The Adler Mannheim hockey club’s mobile app is an example of how companies can intensify customer relationships through digitization and communication.

Janina stands in the checkout line of the fan shop at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany, waiting eagerly to purchase a team jersey carrying the name of her favorite hockey player. As she reaches the cashier, Janina touches an app icon on her smartphone to display her Fan ID. The cashier scans a barcode on the display that recognizes Janina, enabling the loyal fan to pay for the jersey with cash, credit, or points that she has accumulated over past months.

With this purchase, Janina is rewarded with additional loyalty points which are immediately reflected in her account balance. While leaving the shop, she reviews all of her past purchases and her current point totals. On her way home, she gets a notification that her favorite player will be signing autographs at a local department store. The fan app also integrates a live ticker and links to social media channels that are part of Janina’s daily life.

With more than 100,000 followers active on social media, fans are a key economic factor for the Adler Mannheim hockey team. Executives recognize that a company that knows its customers can more effectively anticipate their future actions and needs. Every interaction between a fan and the smartphone app touches a spectrum of back-end cloud-based software services (see box) enabling club executives to open up new revenue streams and steer the club even more successfully into the future.

A company that knows its customers can more effectively anticipate their future actions and needs

Adler Mannheim is not just any professional hockey club. The club is a seven-time-winner of the German ice hockey championship and has over 7,500 season ticket holders. With over 100,000 registered fans, it boasts one of the largest and most loyal fan bases in the league, regularly filling the 13,000-seat arena.

Adler Mannhein’s fan app is served by the following backend solutions running at SAP Arena:

  • SAP Customer Checkout: A point-of-sale solution at the Mannheim Adler fan shop that supports all sales processes. With every sale, fans accumulate points over the fan app, which can be converted to coupons which enable them to buy merchandise at a discounted rate.
  • SAP Customer Checkout Server: An extended component of SAP Customer Checkout which enables the central administration of fan app users, coupons, and vouchers. Example: With this solution, points are distributed to all users after a goal or a win.
  • SAP Event Ticketing: A ticketing solution that enables the generation and administration of ticket sales for events through various sales channels. The solution can be integrated with SAP Customer Checkout Server to authenticate fan app users.
  • SAP HANA: SAP HANA is used as the database for the backend system at Adler Mannheim.

But behind all the emotion and commotion in and around the sports arena is a formidable IT infrastructure for resource planning, inventory management, accounting, ticketing, point-of-sale systems, and human resources – and it is composed almost exclusively of business software from SAP. This should come as no surprise, since SAP is the club’s technology partner and one of the biggest employer’s in the region.

In fact, the SAP Arena in Mannheim has become a showcase for the company’s industry-leading cloud software and services. Using the technology, the club has a holistic view of customer master data, including purchase histories across ticketing, the merchandizing shop and food and beverage consumption at the venue.

“Digitization is crucial in running a company,” says Daniel Hopp, managing director, SAP Arena and Adler Mannheim. Using the management reporting system which aggregates data from several cloud-based solutions, Hopp can view the turnover at each event in real time from anywhere in the world. But the fans are the main motivation behind the club’s decision to digitize the arena’s business.

“Our fans are our most important asset,” he said. “We want to know more about their individual preferences who they are, what they want, how often they come to a game. We will be able to identify the most dedicated fans and offer them truly special rewards including ‘money can’t buy’ experiences, like a training day with the team.”

To optimize use of the data it collects, the SAP Arena will introduce SAP Hybris software in 2016. “We’ve collected lots of different kinds of data over many years,” says Hopp, “Our goal is to use SAP HANA to evaluate this historical data and use it to steer our company to the next level and improve our efficiency.”

SAP Hybris will enable the club to evaluate the preferences of each customer and make individual offers based on these preferences. That means that Janina can expect to receive offers from the club targeted specially to her needs in the future.

Video via Daniela Huckele-Goerisch, Global Sponsorships.