Like many, I am not into shopping. I don’t mind buying things, but spending precious time in a store, dealing with the sales process makes me uneasy. I like to shop online, but not for clothes; the prospect of having to return something that is not a good fit or color is, to say the least, discouraging.
So, when I recently needed to buy a new business suit I found myself dreaming of how I could enter a store, be recognized by a salesperson who already knew my shopping history, preferences, and even my social media interactions – all enabled by analytics and machine learning. Inside the dressing room, a smart mirror would scan me for my exact measurements and reflect especially tailored images of suits on me. If I inquire about the cloth quality, texture, and stitching, a virtual reality headset could display a detailed view, and offer a complementary tie, to be 3-D printed onsite for me. As I leave the store, a combination of sensors and blockchain technology would silently charge my purchases to my account, and my new suit would be delivered to my doorstep by a drone. Am I in the future?
The truth is, those new technologies are not only in my dreams. They exist, and we are already starting to see them in action in the retail industry, as well as in many other industries and segments.
As we begin to experience the exponential power of technology, digital native startups have an important advantage
Recently I spoke about this at eMerge Americas, an event that gathers over 10,000 entrepreneurs and startups in Miami. I reflected on how these new technologies are readily available to drive exponential value for businesses, regardless of their size. These data-driven systems of intelligence integrate machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and other technologies, with the ability to work together for better insights and capabilities, to re-imagine business processes and even help companies adopt more competitive business models. At SAP, we call this digital innovation SAP Leonardo, and it can also integrate these breakthrough technologies with services, and run them seamlessly in the cloud.
We are just starting to experience the exponential power of technology, and startups have an important advantage as digital natives. With the right idea, business model, and access to technology they can quickly scale their innovation and challenge long established industry leaders. Once again, technology has the potential of leveling the playing field for startups and accelerating their value.
Startups everywhere are turning innovative ideas into value in unexpected ways. This is the case of a company called Postmetria, that joined the SAP Startup Focus program at the SAP Labs in Southern Brazil. Using SAP HANA and machine learning to analyze and automate petabytes of unstructured data, they help companies understand client satisfaction and monitor customer loyalty. It is no wonder that they rank as one of the 100 Open Startups in Brazil.
Just like Postmetria, startups across the Americas are helping to redefine business in this new digital era. At SAP, we’re excited about co-innovating, helping them achieve their ambitions, and creating the future in the present.
Claudio Muruzabal is president of SAP Latin America & Caribbean