In this interview recorded live at CRM 2013, Dr. Ahmed Hezzah, a CRM global rollout expert with Accenture, discusses some of the challenges and latest trends impacting complex, global SAP CRM implementations. Touching on SAP HANA, Big Data, and mobility, Dr. Hezzah shares how these trends are influencing customer decisions surrounding their implementation projects.
San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York perfectly summed up SAP’s mobile, cloud, social, and analytics strategies during the SAPPHIRE NOW keynote Tuesday morning while discussing his experiences as a fan at a Notre Dame football game.
Joined onstage by SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, NBA deputy and future commissioner Adam Silver and moderator James Brown of the NFL Today on CBS for the longest segment of the 90-minute keynote, York discussed sitting in the front row at the 50-yard line during a game at Notre Dame and yet feeling like he wasn’t on top of the action because he couldn’t follow the conversation about a controversial on-field ruling.
Think about that for a second: Front row. 50-yard-line.Not a better seat in the house, and yet not feeling connected. Having a “front-row seat” always has meant metaphorically being part of the action, an eyewitness to history. Being there was more than just enough, it was everything. Now, that “front-row seat” means being connected with the world; listening, commenting, and understanding what is happening in real-time. York’s intent wasn’t to disparage the in-game experience; he is, after all, the CEO of an NFL team building a $1.2 billion stadium. Rather, he was pointing out that today’s fan expects more.
McDermott hammered this point home during his opening remarks before a conference hall audience of 20,000, with an additional 80,000, including this writer, watching on-line. For businesses and consumers alike, access to real-time, actionable insight is the future. And for SAP, that future will be realized by the potential of SAP HANA, which McDermott characterized as “the fastest growing software product in the world,” the “intellectual renewal of SAP,” and the “platform for everything that SAP does moving forward.”
It is no surprise, then, that McDermott discussed the influence of the Millennial Generation, those 2 billion consumers born between 1980 and 1995 who, McDermott said, were “born into the mobile device.” Like the sports fan who expects instant up-to-date statistics, those consumers look at technology as purpose-driven, not product-driven; software, not hardware.
Summoning his inner Millennial, McDermott said that for that influential segment “technology doesn’t make me who I am; it allows me to do what I want.”
And that, really, is at the heart of SAP’s game-plan moving forward, evidenced by McDermott’s closing remarks when he said that SAP now defines itself as a B2B2C market leader with “user experiencenow our top priority.” For SAP, he said, its most important consideration as it touches 75% of all worldwide transactions that are conducted on the SAP Business Suite is that “behind every business process is a real person.”
So for all the talk of how SAP HANA can help businesses run “smarter, faster, and simpler,” McDermott’s message during the keynote was SAP HANA’s real value being derived from helping people improve their everyday lives. From the car that can help its driver find parking, to personalized medicine, to biometric shirts, to real-time sports stats, to the application that gives brewers real-time statistics on beer pours, SAP HANA helps transform heretofore “dark data” into meaningful data by making sense of intent to predict future possibilities. (For more on beer industry insights, check out the article on WeissBerger on Page 27 of SAPinsider’s special SAP HANA issue.)
After wrapping up his opening remarks, McDermott introduced his all-star sports panel for more discussion of SAP HANA. York and the 49ers of course teamed with SAP to develop the SAP Scouting mobile app, and Silver pointed out that the NBA statistics page on NBA.com is powered by SAP HANA.
And that fan experience that York unintentionally disparaged? Well, look also for SAP HANA to be front and center for the “new” fan experience at the 49ers new home stadium, Levi’s Stadium, scheduled to open in Santa Clara, Calif., in time for the 2014 season. (SAP is a stadium partner and owns naming right to the team’s practice facility). York said that fans can expect a “ticketless and cashless” experience during game-day, where they can create their own individual experience without leaving their seat; everything from ordering food and drinks to following a fantasy team to having their own sideline reporter.
This experience, McDermott said, is part of SAP’s strategy to “connect the league to the team to the fan in one integrated value chain,” as it rushes headlong from scrimmage into the sports and entertainment industry – the 25th industry it’s now a part of.
No different, really, from SAP’s recognition of the importance of a business’s customers, the “real person” that McDermott said is at the heart of every transaction with the SAP Business Suite and the SAP HANA platform that intends to make that customer’s everyday existence “smarter, faster, and simpler.”
Nothing should ever come between a man and his pizza. Or, to put it another way, an organization should really put a mobile app through stringent testing before it’s introduced as the only direct interaction that organization has with a large portion of its customer base. This just released SAPinsider Special Report on mobility has some important information that a certain unnamed pizza parlor in Norwood, Mass., could benefit from.
In January, I wrote about a positive customer experience I had with a furniture delivery, where the driver used an iPad to photograph the piece and capture my signature acknowledging delivery. Last Friday, a pizza delivery – with a smartphone as the customer conduit – didn’t go as well.
Being fairly new to our neighborhood, my wife and I are still experimenting with the local pizzerias. Last Friday night, as we’re wont to do, we ordered a large pepperoni and olive from an unfamiliar place after putting the kids to bed. Exciting, I know. Anyway, about five minutes after placing the order and giving them my American Express number, the store called me back to say they didn’t take Amex, but they “could do it another way” with my zip code. I had no idea what this meant, but being that I was famished I eagerly gave them the zip, less concerned with identity theft than with getting my pizza on time. Besides, they had my street address for the delivery, so they could have Googled my zip code in about two seconds.
The delivery guy showed up at my door with the pizza and a smartphone, handing me both at pretty much the same time. After putting the pizza down, I was asked to enter my Amex number and zip into the mobile app – information they already had. Then he asked me to enter the four-digit security code, which raised more identity theft alarms – but with the hot pizza 5 feet away, I would have given him my social.
Of course, the app rejected one of the many numbers I had to enter – “authorization denied” is I believe what flashed across his screen – so as he was waving the phone around my front porch hoping for a better cell connection, I told him to cancel it out and I’d try to find some cash.
From a CRM standpoint, this was a disaster. I had to give them the same information twice (strike one), I was asked for information they shouldn’t have needed to conduct the transaction (strike two), and the mobile app inexplicably rejected the information (strike three). I tend to doubt the store took the same time and effort Lubrizol put into deploying a mobile app for its sales force after implementing an organization-wide SAP CRM solution, a story Features Editor David Hannon chronicles in the just released issue of insiderPROFILES.
However, because the driver was apologetic and didn’t mind waiting as I cobbled together the cash, which entailed rooting through the junk drawer for loose change, I didn’t hold the experience against the store. Who am I kidding? The real reason is the pizza was exceptional, so unless someone from the store is maxing out my Amex card I might call again this Friday. I’ll just make sure to have cash on hand until they put their mobile app through its paces.
By welcome coincidence, I had the chance last week to speak with SAP Outbound Product Manager Terence Chesire about SAP’s new social media product, SAP Social OnDemand – part of SAP Customer OnDemand – at our SAPinsider CRM2013 conference the day after a high-end retailer’s private party celebrating a new Boston location turned into a publicity nightmare.
I was in Las Vegas for the SAPinsider event when I heard about the upscale home furnishing gallery’s blighted bash through – what else – social media. A tweet filled me in on the embarrassing details: Restoration Hardware was throwing a VIP, invitation-only grand opening party at its new Back Bay location, but the fire department shut it down early because of overcrowding. According to numerous reports, guests were squeezed in like sardines, unable to move let alone freely access the lobster rolls or top-shelf liquor. The band was ordered to stop. After filing out, some guests waited an hour or more for their cars. In short, not the positive press a grand opening bash is designed to attract.
Naturally, Twitter and Facebook blew up. “Not one drink, bite to eat, or moment to enjoy… literally horrified by the poor planning and dangerous amount of people,” tweeted one party-goer with 14,000 followers. “This will go down as one of the all-time worst planned events in Boston party history,” tweeted another.
I read up on this story shortly before I sat down with Cheshire at our SAPinsider booth to talk about SAP Customer OnDemand, which helps a business manage all of its customer processes in the cloud. Naturally, my questions gravitated toward SAP Social OnDemand and SAP Social Media Analytics by NetBase, the components of the solution that enable social media listening, prioritizing, analytics, and also help guide customer engagements.
Without directly referring to the Restoration Hardware debacle, I asked Cheshire how the solution allows a company to respond to a sudden, unexpected flurry of bad publicity. One thing it does, he said, is prioritize the millions of messages it can decipher across all social media platforms. So far from just listening to social chatter, it analyzes keywords, patterns and overall sentiment and equips decision makers with the information they need to make a real-time response.
So, in theory, Restoration Hardware executives utilizing SAP Social OnDemand and SAP Social Media Analytics by NetBase could have instantly understood the scope of the Twitter/Facebook barrage. Who’s saying what? How influential are they? How intense is the backlash? Is the message taking off? Using the solution’s collaboration tools, key team members could then formulate a targeted response based on an existing back-end trove of social knowledge.
Interestingly, where Restoration Hardware is concerned, there was some speculation during the post-bash hangover that the retailer knew the party was a recipe for disaster because on their way out the door some guests were handed “Sorry for the inconvenience” cards with a coupon for 20% off their next purchase.
I wonder if the store just used the cards they usually have on hand for when a piece isn’t in stock? Or were they in fact so in tune with Twitter sentiment and in possession of sophisticated social algorithms that they knew 20% was the magic number to make everyone forget all about the crowd?
We’ll post my interview with Cheshire on this site in a few weeks, so be sure to check back for his expert insights on SAP Customer OnDemand. Needless to say, when we had a moment to chat off-camera after the interview, Cheshire was in agreement that Restoration Hardware certainly could have benefited from SAP Social OnDemand.
Back in the office and back into the swing of things after attending my first SAPinsider events, CRM 2013 and Logistics & SCM, PLM, Manufacturing, and Procurement 2013.
Having barely stepped outside the Mirage in Las Vegas the entire week, I’m glad that the session rooms were all named after Caribbean destinations: Jamaica, Antigua, Montego, St. Thomas. This allowed for some mental escapism as I island-hopped from conference room to conference room for a string of informative, well-attended sessions that regardless of the line of business all shared a common language, if you will: In their list of session takeaways, nearly every presenter advised attendees that the most important step of any implementation project was communication.
Whether with key stakeholders, consultants, or other businesses, everyone stressed the importance of a well-thought out design process. “Get it right the first time,” said Brian Zeigler of Leprino Foods, who shared Leprino’s story of improving forecast accuracy with SAP’s Demand Planning. “Involve your employees and key stakeholders,” said Ahmed Hezzah, a global CRM implementation strategist with Accenture. “Talk to your people,” said Natacha Gutermuth of Institut Straumann, which implemented mobile CRM for its 800 employees.
(Speaking of “takeaways”, the trade show swag has improved significantly since my last show about 10 years ago for a previous employer, when an array of free pens was considered a good haul. From toys to chargers to amplifiers – not to mention a Harley-Davidson – it was clear the exhibitors were playing for keeps.)
It struck me that this simple advice – communication – was what made this and SAPinsider events like it so successful. That, of course, is what attendees were after, and those knowledge gaps are what the breakout sessions, SAPexperts Live sessions, and panel sessions were designed to fill. I had the pleasure of meeting many people in the extended SAP ecosystem who shared their stories, advice, and experiences with me at our SAPinsider booth, where we recorded some videos that we’ll post next month on the Insider Learning Network. Here’s a brief recap of some of what I learned:
Bernard Greene of Day & Zimmerman, a professional services company, discussed how his company beefed up sales by keying in on sales force functionality in SAP CRM 7.0. (I also learned Greene is a big Redskins fan. After comparing notes, safe to say he was more crushed by the ‘Skins loss in the playoffs than I was by the Pats’ early exit).
Anyone who has any questions about SAP Customer OnDemand should seek out SAP’s Terence Cheshire post haste. Chesire gave us the breakdown of this relatively new product, which enables all customer processes in the cloud. Social OnDemand is a big part of the solution, and Cheshire talked about how this functionality can analyze millions of social interactions in seconds to let a business know how to respond to every crises or opportunity.
Toby Brzoznowski, the Executive Vice President and co-founder of Llamasoft, gave us the inside skinny on the importance of leveraging mobility in the supply chain.
Other News & Notes from the Mirage:
Hate to say it, but it seems Ryan Seacrest’s appearance at the Mirage for a live “American Idol” Top 10 unveiling may have caused a tad more buzz than SAP Executive VP Steve Lucas’ keynote earlier in the day.
Wellesley Information Services EVP Riz Ahmed dipped his toe in both waters; he was on stage to introduce Lucas before his keynote address, and he also sat at a gaming table next to Seacrest’s “stylist”.
Memo to the Mirage: enough with The Beatles. Devoting key space to a Kardashians retail outlet while paying excessive homage to a band that broke up 43 years ago – a bit of a mixed message, no?
Great food at the event, however. I was expecting a lot of turkey sandwiches, but ended up with more “surf and turf” options than I could count.
Red eyes are never fun, but being met at home by an over-excited 2-year-old makes catching up on sleep a little tough. Payback for spending his college tuition on blackjack, perhaps?