That tremor that you felt isn’t going away. Disruption is happening, and if you aren’t feeling it, you’re already behind the trend.
The next generations of consumers are taking control of the economy and business trends in a way that we’ve never seen, and at a pace that is brutal. With digital experiences at the heart of everything they do, these up-and-coming clients are in the driver’s seat when it comes to how businesses need to engage with customers.
So said Carsten Thoma, president and co-founder of SAP Hybris. During his keynote speech at the final leg of SAP Hybris LIVE: Digital Summit 2017, Thoma pointed out that the consumption economy is forcing brands and businesses—both B2B and B2C—to adapt at the speed of change.
Thoma launched the last leg of a worldwide global online event that started in Singapore, handed off to Munich, and closed out in New York City. Over the course of 24 hours, thought leaders and experts shared their hot takes on what’s happening now and how to be prepared for the future via live stream from each international city. In Singapore, SAP Hybris CMO Jamie Anderson shared his belief that artificial intelligence will push businesses ahead, and that it must permeate through every customer experience.
“There needs to be intelligence behind every channel, which is where things like artificial intelligence and machine learning come in. There has to be a response mechanism and intelligence baked into every channel because customer service and experience is absolutely key,” Anderson said.
In Munich, SAP Hybris Chief Strategy Officer Brian Walker spoke about digital being the heart of this disruptive machine. “We need to embed digital into the very fabric of the services that we design, build and deliver. Investing in technology is no longer a simple cost to business – it’s vital to set you apart from the competition,” he said.
And in New York City, Thoma stressed that disruption isn’t just a buzzword. Every industry is experiencing an acute level of change, the likes of which Thoma compared to the industrial revolution.
“It’s mind-boggling,” Thoma told the packed room. “The questions I am being asked when I talk to customers are vastly different than the questions they were asking me even just a few years ago.”
The consumption economy is what’s on the mind of almost everyone he talks to today. Younger generations are looking for mobility—a model of consumption that many companies simply aren’t prepared for. Think Uber, but for everything, from clothes to cars to renting a room in a new city for holiday.
“The only question I am being asked now is,” said Thoma, “is ‘How can you help us take our product and turn it into a mobility product?'”
Looking out at the audience, Thoma noted that every product would eventually evolve into a service, because that’s the way the marketplace is trending. At any point in time, and at any touchpoint, brands must be able to engage with their customers in a fully automized manner that’s responsive to individual customer’s needs and wants.
What’s the key to surviving and thriving during this paradigm shift? The answer is simple—cloud enablement and microservices.
The cloud allows companies to put digital at the heart of everything they do, enabling a kind of agility that is necessary to meet emerging customer demands before they start disrupting your business. “We are working to help brands transform in the cloud, and over the next few quarters you will see that the complete portfolio, where it makes sense, will be available in the cloud,” Thoma said.
During his keynote, Thoma announced a new product, SAP Hybris Revenue Cloud. SAP Hybris Revenue Cloud constitutes a new generation of cloud products based on a microservices architecture that enables partners and customers to build and harness flexible extensions and solutions.
The SAP Hybris cloud suite can run on SAP Hybris as a Service (informally known as “YaaS”), which helps businesses rapidly and easily augment and enhance their existing solutions with microservices and software-as-a-service applications. This, said Thoma, is how brands will get ahead of disruption and begin to meet the customer expectation of “getting what they want, when and how they want it.”
“We are facing probably one of the most impactful industrial revolutions of the future,” Thoma said.
And, in a demonstration of the SAP Hybris commitment to the future, SAP also announced a $100,000 donation to Business Technology Early College High School (BTECH) in New York. Students interviewed customers, watched sessions and capped off the day with a lunch with Carsten Thoma to discuss s careers in tech, entrepreneurship, innovation, and start-up culture.
The SAP Hybris LIVE Digital Summit events may have ended, but the digital content is now available for replay and download. Just register to access the replay platform.
Amy Hatch is senior director and editor-in-chief of SAP Hybris