As my colleagues and I gather with hundreds of customers, partners and influencers at SAPPHIRE NOW, certain topics will inevitably arise throughout the event, as they’re top of mind for anyone in today’s business climate.
Digital transformation, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), data management, and analytics are all important. But above all this, the one thing weighing most heavily on my mind — and I believe on everyone’s mind from the c-suite to entry-level salespeople — is the thing that ties these together: customer relationship management (CRM) and the customer experience.
Being a customer-first organization is not something that’s new to SAP. And just because SAP is a massive company doesn’t mean we can’t simplify the buying process and provide the best service for every individual, all at scale. In fact, it means the opposite; it means we can integrate the entire value chain to make the best customer experience a reality. With the launch of SAP C/4HANA, we’re putting a stake in the ground to lead the CRM market and reinvent customer engagement for customers, as we also transform our own customer experience.
We’re Giving Customers the Reins
Putting customers first doesn’t just fall to the sales organization; it means putting a 360-degree focus on customers, connecting all touchpoints within an organization, and bridging the front and back office into one. To do this, SAP C/4HANA will combine the necessary components — all running on SAP Cloud Platform — to deliver the refocused, end-to-end SAP Customer Experience. This will give our customers the complete, modern platform they need to deliver better buying experiences — tailored and individualized — to win business and gain lifetime customers.
Because we truly believe in this platform, we’re not just making it available to customers, we’re running it ourselves to transform how our customers shop for SAP applications and solutions. Running on SAP Customer Experience and SAP Commerce Cloud (SAP Hybris’ digital commerce platform), we’re removing the siloed way that people used to purchase from SAP, unifying the buying process on SAP.com.
For our customers, 80 percent want digital access for even better customer experience, one with more transparency and a streamlined path to purchase. SAP.com is now the one place where customers discover, try, buy, and use SAP and partner offerings in one centralized location. Prior to today, SAP.com was primarily a branding website where customers could research the solutions they were considering for purchase, gather information, and then navigate to another location to complete their purchase. We’re excited to say that we’ve removed these barriers to purchasing, simplifying how our customers access and buy our offerings and our partner offerings. SAP.com is becoming transactable, with purchases only requiring a couple of mouse clicks.
This is important for a multitude of reasons. Forrester’s June 2017 report, “US B2B eCommerce Will Hit $1.2 Trillion By 2021,” revealed that 64 percent of B2B buyers research half or more of their work purchases online. This is where making the path-to-purchase as simple and intuitive as possible is critical. Once a customer has made their decision, there can’t be any fragmentation or barriers keeping them from completing the purchase. Anything short of a few clicks obstructs the buying experience, creating frustration and confusion. Our customers want a direct, omnichannel experience to purchase SAP and partner solutions, and the new product pages on SAP.com reflect our commitment to creating that unique experience where they can access all they need in one spot, when they need it.
To lead the customer experience revolution, we need to standardize and simplify our entire value chain, delivering a seamless customer, partner, and employee experience. A top priority has to be a successful no- and low-touch experience, establishing SAP.com as the one channel for the entire life cycle.
The Best Experiences are Intelligent
Digital transformation is essential for today’s enterprises to not only survive, but drive rapid growth and essential customer retention. B2B commerce is much more than just a business transaction, it needs to be an experience, one that directly creates value in the simplest possible way. And that’s why it must go beyond the sales team, it must amplify the overall buying experience. Every customer touchpoint must be contextual, integrated, and intelligent.
At SAPPHIRE NOW this week, you’ll hear a lot about the intelligent enterprise and how SAP is delivering it. It starts first within SAP: using our own solutions and integrated technology architecture as a role model for realizing the value of the intelligent enterprise. We’ll lead by example, accelerating the best run SAP and driving simplicity, growth, and scalability, while improving partner, customer, and employee experiences. These experiences must be real-time, self-service, and digitally assisted in order to achieve our mission to redefine and lead the CRM market. With SAP C/4HANA, we’re empowering connected, omnichannel commerce and intelligent experiences at the point of sale and at every touch point with SAP.
Our digital transformation journey is not complete, nor will it ever be, as we continue to innovate and deliver new and improved experiences. But with today’s unveiling of the first set of new SAP.com product pages and SAP Customer Experience, we’re taking a big leap forward in powerfully engaging and digitally empowering our customers.
If you’re attending SAPPHIRE NOW this week and would like to learn more about this, attend my session on Thursday for more details: Gain Real-World Insight by Exploring Our Digital Transformation Journey (LE6206).
Bertram Schulte is chief digital officer at SAP.