How the Experience Economy Enticed My Return to SAP

When I took up the role of Vice President, Head of Platform and Technology with SAP, I felt a sense of pride and familiarity. This exciting new role not only represented a wonderful advancement in my career, but a reintroduction to one of the most dynamic and trusted brands in the world.

It’s been over a decade since I first worked for SAP and it’s remarkable to see how much the organisation – and the technology that supports it – has changed.

Within the first few weeks of new role, I was fortunate to attend the Gartner Symposium and connect with various IT experts and CIOs across different industry sectors. One of the key themes of the event was the customer experience within the experience economy.

Put simply, the experience economy is a product of the recent shift businesses have made towards online engagement and customers’ experiences. While previous generations focused on production and costs, the digitalisation of commerce has brought with it a much greater emphasis on customer experience and user-generated reviews.

This may have seemed like a new concept to some Symposium attendees, but I need only look at SAP’s acquisitions in the SaaS space to see the vital consumer experience plays. Brands such as Ariba, Concur, Fieldglass, SuccessFactors, and Hybris are important tools in understanding customers’ experiences and motivations.

Experience Versus Expectation

To help align customer expectations with company processes and outputs, businesses need to adopt intelligent enterprise solutions that combine experience (X-data) with operations (O-data). SAP’s recent acquisition of Qualtrics is another example of our companywide commitment towards customer centricity – understanding, analysing, and actioning consumer insights.

The evolution of online shopping and communication has also brought with it a new kind of customer – one that has more choice and buying power than ever before. The experience economy has empowered these consumers to research prior to purchasing and engage with brands following positive or negative interactions.

The credence people place in online reviews reflects the increasing power customers wield in the experience economy. Bad reviews can go viral quickly and businesses need to have a handle on all its different departments to ensure negative customer sentiments are mitigated quickly.

Intelligent Step Forward

Businesses are recognising the importance of standardising its various processes and systems to help highlight efficiencies. ERP platforms integrate disparate departments and databases to provide a holistic management solution, transforming businesses into intelligent enterprises. This frees up time and resources, which can be focused on a company’s core competencies, like customer service.

SAP’s vision is to help the world run better while improving people’s lives, so our focus on customer centricity is an all-encompassing mantra. We put our customers at the centre of everything we do – whether they be our clients or our partners. Our mission is to help organisations make sense of the immense data it produces and offer a dynamic solution that evolves with business needs.

It’s an almost ‘back-to-basics’ idea – focusing on customers – but intelligent technologies have made it much easier to understand how people search for products and services, what they expect from their purchase, and what compels them to review their experience.

My previous roles how shown me just how crucial the customer is to the success of a business. With this exciting new role. I intend to reinforce that idea wholeheartedly. SAP provides some of the most comprehensive data analysis, which is an invaluable resource in understanding and servicing customers.

My plan, stepping into this role, is to ensure more businesses are aware of the opportunities available to them today to help address the inefficiencies they’re experiencing and how those shortcomings are impacting on their customers – both current and potential.

Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is to expect different outcomes from the same actions/activity”. I say ‘Let Sanity Prevail’ – take an informed, intelligent approach to innovation by adopting the solution sets available to you today in an applied and agile manner. And by agile, I don’t mean ‘Fail fast’, which is a mantra on Agile; I believe we can and should succeed quicker.