These days, everybody in business seems to be talking about the customer experience. Regardless of industry, whether business-to-business or consumer products, private or public sector, you’d better be able to provide an easy way for customers to interact with your organization, or else.
That’s the driving force behind DataXstream, although it might not seem that way at first glance. DataXstream has developed a product called OMS+ – OMS meaning order-management system – which has recently been added to the SAP App Center. I wanted to know more about it, so I caught up with Ron Votto and Tim Yates of DataXstream in late 2017.
The conversation began with an explanation of OMS, which is what organizations use to manage sales and delivery processes, order input, inventory tracking, post-sale service, and so on. Sounds simple? Well, it’s not.
Complex Processes Made to Look Easy
“Take an aviation company delivering a rocket to a government defense agency, for example,” Tim told me. “The sales process might span 25 years or more, involving hundreds or even thousands or transactions, suppliers, subcontractors, partial delivery timetables – and on and on. The people responsible need to be able to manage all that.” Even a much simpler retail transaction taking place in a short time frame encompasses many different moving parts. “From high-touch specialty retail like home furnishings to lower-end, high-volume big-box stores, the people handling the transaction need to enter and access information about the customer, inventory, warranties, delivery, and so much more.”
There are plenty of OMS products on the market today to help manage these processes, said Ron, who is DataXstream’s sales director. What makes OMS+ different is its ability to support the back-end order-management process as well as the front-end, point of sale, with fewer clicks, simple screens and with lightning speed.
What problems does that solve?
“The sales process requires too much user navigation,” Ron explained. “The information needed to execute customer-assisted sales transactions is too spread out, and it’s difficult to answer customer inquiries quickly and efficiently when discussing products and their availability. OMS+ has a simple, intuitive user interface that makes it easy to navigate and access the back-end database that stores all the key information.” And that back end would be … SAP ERP.
Tim, who is one of the founding partners of DataXstream (circa 1996), explained that the company has since its early days been focused on SAP. “The SAP software – SAP ERP and now SAP S/4HANA – is the most powerful engine for this purpose. And both the order-management and point-of-sale processes use the same underlying foundation. But the information was not always readily accessible. Our vision was to simplify and streamline those processes for the user – and to develop a product so easy to use that it requires almost no training.”
And that brings us back to where I started: Provide a simple, intuitive user interface for the people interacting with the customer, and fast access to accurate information, and there you have it: a superior customer experience.
On the Map and Ahead of the Curve
I asked Tim and Ron about their longtime focus on SAP and current engagement with the company – aware that they typically attend all three of SAP’s major events — SAPPHIRE NOW (customer event), SAP TechEd (developer event), and SAP FKOM (internal field kick-off/sales event), each of which has a different purpose.
“SAPPHIRE NOW offers a way for us to showcase our products to customers and engage with the SAP account execs,” Ron explained. “At SAP TechEd, the intent is to have good conversations with developers about the technology we leverage as part of the SAP partner ecosystem. And at SAP FKOM, we get first-hand experience about where SAP is going, which is important because our strategy, road map, and messaging align completely with SAP’s. Being there helps us stay ahead of the curve.”
The fact that OMS+ is now available as a cloud-based solution on the SAP App Center is no coincidence, since DataXstream has closely followed the evolution of SAP’s cloud strategy.