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SAP Goes Big in Creating Personal, Trusted, Connected Experiences

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Injecting energy and authentic enthusiasm into an online event is challenging – especially now when every event is digital. Not so for SAP, a long-time LiveArea partner. Last week, the company hosted SAP Customer Experience LIVE, pulling off a fast-paced, lively event that offered an up-close look at new product innovations and roadmaps across commerce, sales, service, marketing, customer data, and the brand’s technology partner ecosystem.

I’m excited about what’s happening in commerce at SAP. (I was also pleased a video featuring a LiveArea client, The Entertainer, kicked off the event.) A strong, cohesive story was told through customers, industry leaders, and executives who shared best practices on how to deliver personal, trusted, and connected customer experiences. In this strange new world we live and shop in it is clear customer experience (CX) is – and will continue to be – the true differentiator.  SAP gets this – and we are right beside them as we evolve our brand and strategy, and deepen our commitment to elevate commerce and create inspired customer interactions.

Commerce everywhere

CEO Christian Klein noted that SAP CX is the fastest-growing category in the company’s vast portfolio. In commerce alone, SAP has $500 billion of gross merchandise value under its management. And, as the company executes its “commerce everywhere” strategy along with a more entrenched focus on personalization I see even greater strength on the horizon.

In light of today’s pandemic-driven pivot to digital, it’s no surprise that the importance of agility and the ability to adapt on the fly was highlighted in many of the sessions along with the concept of “freedom” — the freedom to buy everywhere, anywhere, in apps, marketplaces, online, in-store, through social channels, and more. Keynote speaker, actor, and entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher posited that the trends we are seeing today – curbside pickup, virtual education, telemedicine, gaming-influenced interactions – are here to stay (and I agree.)

Speaking of stars …

But the real throughline connecting commerce sessions was data and the need to “hyper-personalize” customer interactions across the entire customer journey and in every channel. This brought the curtain up on SAP’s big reveal at the event – the global announcement of the SAP Customer Data Platform (CDP).

This next-generation platform, which fits neatly into SAP’s cloud portfolio of solutions, will allow enterprises to redefine the customer experience across every engagement, from commerce and marketing to sales and service.

A bit about the platform. It is engineered to tackle four key opportunities to increase brand reach and effectiveness:

  • Connecting every data source in the organization
  • Respecting customer data with a holistic data privacy strategy
  • Understanding large volumes of data
  • Hyperpersonalizing engagements based on a comprehensive view of the customer.

It is built on the foundation of SAP Customer Data Cloud solutions, based on Gigya technology. SAP Customer Identity and Access Management and SAP Enterprise Consent and Preference Management solutions are woven in for a secure and compliant digital profile. SAP’s CDP serves as the connective tissue of the real-time customer profile, powering a 360-degree profile of customers unifying customer data from every source, inside the SAP ecosystem and outside of the company (for instance, social channels).

Here’s how SAP Customer Experience President Bob Stutz put it: “SAP Customer Data Platform is one of the most advanced enterprise-grade CDPs. It can truly deliver personalized experiences that nurture anonymous users into known, loyal customers using the customer’s preferred channels, unifying vast amounts of front-office, back-office, and experience data as only SAP can.”

Spotlight: Emarsys

It’s no surprise SAP’s acquisition of Emarsys, announced this month, was featured at CX Live. A leading omnichannel customer engagement provider, Emarsys fits neatly with the CDP in SAP’s CX portfolio and will bolster the brand’s ability to deliver on its promise of “commerce everywhere” strategy. We are looking forward to seeing how Emarsys is integrated into the overall CX platform once the transaction closes, which, subject to regulatory approval, is likely to happen this year.

Emarsys, SAP explained, is not just another customer engagement provider. It is an innovative and easy-to-use fully integrated customer engagement platform that allows companies to deliver truly personal customer interactions across email, mobile, social, SMS, and the web at scale. Putting Emarsys’s strength in perspective, the solution manages 10 billion personalized customer interactions per month.

Listening is still a differentiator

So, netting it out: The CDP for customer data and actionable insights and Emarsys for customer engagement. The third leg on the stool is experience management. This was highlighted in a session covering customer listening enabled by SAP Commerce Cloud and Qualtrics.

This powerful combination enables companies to invest in listening to what customers are saying, and understanding their intent. The commerce front-end is the ‘listening post’ to capture experience data revealing how customers interact with product pages, account portals, experiential content, emails, or checkout. Curated feedback surveys at every touchpoint can be collected, correlated and Qualtrics applies deep AI-powered analysis to identify key themes and emerging issues. Businesses that invest in XM see on average:

  • 2x faster growth
  • 15% lower cost to serve
  • 80% higher value creation

LiveArea team members who attended the event, including our SAP sales vice president, Rich Morgan, and our SAP practice lead, Jon Mundorf,  agree it’s a great time to be an SAP partner. We’re proud of our long-time relationship and we look forward to growing alongside the company as we bring to life all the CX portfolio has to offer.

Author

Peter Giersch
Peter is Senior Vice President of Global Alliances for LiveArea.

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