At first glance quality education and fine wines might sound like very different market sectors. But one thing they have in common is a commitment to empowering employees so they can deliver amazing customer experiences in the experience economy.

Market leaders shared their respective lessons learned bringing cloud-based solutions to their organizations at the recent SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference.

Improved Employee Experiences Impact Customers

Product innovation is a business imperative for E. & J. Gallo Winery. In addition to managing over 130 brands of wine, the company introduces about 10 new brands each year. It’s no easy feat juggling grapes from vineyards that have a 30-year life cycle with continuously changing consumer tastes.

“We always want to keep something new in front of consumers,” said Robert Barrios, vice president of IT at E. & J. Gallo Winery. “We retire some brands as loyalty goes down, filling gaps between something consumers no longer want as their taste profile evolves. We always have a brand for everyone.”

The company, which ships and sells 1.6 billion bottles wine each year, is using SAP S/4HANA to help provide the intelligence that supports everything from product development through delivery to retail shelves.

“We wanted to enable employees to do the verb in their title — to analyze, manage, and direct,” said Barrios. “How do systems remove work that doesn’t contribute to that verb or make you more efficient? Our goal was to cut through the red tape and get to a point where initial transactions had enough data for employees to analyze and process it with no time wasted.”

When it comes to change management for new software systems, Barrios suggested steering clear of the typically large communications plans that often get lost in busy employees’ inboxes: “Make all communications relevant. If employees receive communication that’s irrelevant to them, they won’t read or absorb it.”

The New Normal is Ongoing Change

Committed to keeping tuition costs down, Purdue University has increased its three-year degree programs, along with a robust online educational experience. Theresa Jacobsen, manager of Business Solutions at Purdue University, said the school is using SAP S/4HANA along with SAP Ariba, SAP Concur, and SAP SuccessFactors software to help reduce operations costs through simplification and automation.

“The visibility with reporting has been awesome on the financial side,” said Jacobsen. “The faculty members can see more information. They went from gathering data to determining strategic goals.”

She advised organizations to test and practice all new software solutions regularly. “Be aware that when you go live, you’re not done. You have new releases coming after that.”

Transformation Can Only Happen Company-Wide

As innovations continue to explode, so does the pressure to generate meaningful business outcomes from company investments. These three organizations have found where the value lies in the context of their respective objectives, using technologies to transform the employee experience to the delight of customers.

Follow me: @smgaler