Con­sumer Cen­tric­ity Dom­i­nates Dis­cus­sions, New Tech At SAP Con­fer­ence

WWD Digital Daily - - News - BY LAU­REN OLSEN

The firm’s new of­fer­ings aim to help re­tail­ers bet­ter ser­vice — and keep — their cus­tomers.

In a com­plex retail en­vi­ron­ment, re­tail­ers and brands are fo­cused on bet­ter­ing the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. Ac­cord­ingly, the con­cept of con­sumer cen­tric­ity — and the tech­nol­ogy nec­es­sary to de­liver it — took cen­ter stage at SAP’s re­cent Sap­phire Now an­nual con­fer­ence.

Cit­ing an aim to help busi­nesses “serve” and “re­tain” their con­sumers, the soft­ware tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions gi­ant re­vealed a new suite of ap­pli­ca­tions, SAP C/4HANA.

“The legacy CRM sys­tems are all about sales; SAP C/4HANA is all about the con­sumer. We rec­og­nize that every part of a busi­ness needs to be fo­cused on a sin­gle view of the con­sumer,” said SAP chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Bill Mc­Der­mott. “When you con­nect all SAP ap­pli­ca­tions to­gether in an in­tel­li­gent cloud suite, the de­mand chain di­rectly fu­els the be­hav­iors of the sup­ply chain.”

With panel top­ics such as how busi­nesses can re­think cus­tomer en­gage­ment to sup­port dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tions, dis­cus­sions at the con­fer­ence in­di­cated that SAP is es­pe­cially fo­cused on the no­tion of con­sumer-cen­tric­ity.

A spokesman for SAP ex­plained that the of­fer­ing “now ties to­gether so­lu­tions to sup­port all front-of­fice func­tions, such as con­sumer data pro­tec­tion, mar­ket­ing, com­merce, sales and cus­tomer ser­vice.”

The firm also un­veiled the SAP HANA Data Man­age­ment Suite. Ac­cord­ing to the spokesman, this so­lu­tion al­lows busi­nesses “to gain vis­i­bil­ity and con­trol of their highly dis­trib­uted data.”

The suite en­ables users to “col­lect and in­te­grate data from all sources in a trusted, uni­fied land­scape.” What’s more, its “frame­work and in-mem­ory data­base” as­pire to help users lever­age tech like ma­chine learn­ing, In­ter­net of Things, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and more.

With reg­u­la­tions like Europe’s new Gen­eral Data Pro­tec­tion Reg­u­la­tion in the head­lines of late, data col­lec­tion and pri­vacy are at top of mind for con­sumers — as are sys­tems that sup­port that and prom­ise op­ti­mal cus­tomer ser­vice ex­pe­ri­ences.

As Lori Mitchell-Keller, global gen­eral man­ager of con­sumer in­dus­tries at SAP, re­cently wrote in an op-ed for WWD: “Cus­tomer cen­tric­ity is not only putting the cus­tomers’ point of view at the cen­ter of every de­ci­sion, it also re­quires build­ing the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence around the cus­tomer. Implementing this type of think­ing will help re­tail­ers meet and ex­ceed con­sumer de­mands while an­tic­i­pat­ing their needs proac­tively.”

SAP tech­nol­ogy is de­signed to help busi­nesses fo­cus on “a sin­gle view of the con­sumer.”

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