Intelligent data can bring people anything from more enjoyable airplane flights and hockey games, to productive farming and sustainable seafood.

Market leaders from these diverse industries came on stage during one session at the recent SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference to share their experiences turning technology innovations into superior customer experiences.

Bumble Bee Aligns Business with Purpose

Tony Costa, senior vice president and chief information officer at Bumble Bee Foods, showcased how his leading seafood company channeled a passion for food safety and sustainability into a co-innovation project with SAP. The company is using blockchain to trace fish from sourcing in Indonesia to the plates of consumers worldwide.

“We feel as a company that traceability, transparency, and, more importantly, food safety are important to consumers and retailers,” he said. “Taking the business partners and the technology and putting them together has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Costa attributed SAP Design Thinking with the development of a value proposition. “We had a great business and use case, and brought design thinking in for an awareness of the different personas across our supply chains. It’s the fisherman, the buyers, food processors. For every one of those, we went through with the SAP teams to iron out the value proposition.”

NHL Gets Superior Game with SAP

Reaching over 260 million fans globally, the National Hockey League (NHL) is partnering with SAP to build on its 100-year-old history of customer experience innovation.

“We’re working with SAP to use technology to grow the game,” said David Lehanski, senior vice president, Business Development and Global Partnerships at the National Hockey League. “This [includes] how do we build and expand our fan base, how do we improve the game on the ice for coaches, players and officials, and how do we generate incremental revenue through technology.”

The NHL is responding to demands from fans, players, coaches and general managers to real-time data during games. Instead of paper-based print-outs prior- and post-games, coaches have analytics on their mobile device delivered in the moment.

“As players are coming off the ice, they can grab their mobile device to look at what just happened for instant feedback on their performance,” said Lehanski. “We are the first sport in North America delivering real-time analytics to the benches. We knew it would have value… SAP’s ability to work with us and develop a league-wide solution that every single team can use and customize so they do use it has allowed us to ensure competitive balance… We want all the teams to have access to that kind of data.”

Sustainable, Productive Farm-to-Table Experience

Kris Cowles, vice president of Global Applications IT at Topcon, talked about the role of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) in her company’s mission to make farms more sustainable and productive in the face of massive population growth.

“The ability to physically record what [something] is doing and at what speed, or sense the amount of nitrates in the field, or map crop yields over time… is phenomenal,” she said. We can monitor erosion and monitor for safety. With our remote surveying, we can monitor major habitats without having a human being going out and doing it.”

Cowles said having a healthy, ongoing dialogue with SAP about the product road map in the context of Topcon’s rapid growth business has added competitive value to impact the customer experience. She advised companies to consider the technology, use case, and risk profile when deciding on how and when to innovate.

Workforce is Competitive Differentiator

When American Airlines and US Airways merged to create the largest airline in the world, the major priority was building a people-first culture.

“Our aspiration was to be the greatest airline in world,” said Mark Mitchell, managing director of HR Shared Services at American Airlines. “We had to build that people-centered culture that would drive and create that world-class customer experience… We had to create a seamless, unified employee experience… that would drive all the business results we needed. People will be the differentiation. We [are] using the SAP SuccessFactors suite to make sure we’re differentiating on what’s important to our customers.”

At first glance, airplanes, professional sports, tuna, and farming might not appear to have much in common. However, these businesses are united in delivering differentiated customer experiences using the latest technologies.

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