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SAP Discusses Cloud Extension, Upscale Commerce & CX

When it comes to customer experience, there is a lot of thought and process that drives organizations to define what works best for their business. To help with this decision making, last month SAP held their annual user conference called SAP Customer Experience live in Barcelona, Spain.

Overall, the event was said to be “an immersive educational experience for everyone who puts their customer at the center of their business” and included over 250 sessions covering sales, commerce, marketing, customer service and data.

Since the term “customer experience” has changed quite significantly over the last years I wanted to know how brands can improve their customer experience in their current state so I was fortunate enough to connect with Moritz Zimmermann, CTO SAP Customer Experience to ask his thoughts about this heavily discussed topic and other news that came from the event.

We live in a world where everything and everyone is connected. Brands should approach improving their customer experience from this same standpoint. It’s essential to apply that to all aspects of the business – sales, service, commerce, marketing and customer data management – into one single view. This is the only way to truly understand customer behavior and intent. It also allows companies to be more transparent when it comes to practices around how they handle customer data. By placing transparency and trust as top priorities, brands will build a rapport with customers and in turn facilitate memorable and positive experiences.

The customer is what can make (or break) a company, which is why companies of all industries and sizes are eager to understand their customers to give them the best possible experience to differentiate themselves from the competiton and to stay successful. Brands need to prioritize using the proper digital touchpoints and respective tools, in order to fully engage with customers directly, creating a positive experience“

SAP Launches Cloud Platform Extension Factory

With the event also came a slew of exciting announcements for SAP which included their launch of the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory, an open-source initiative for a cloud-native application development framework, which allows users to easily customize and extend API-enabled applications.  The tool allows brands to quickly solve their transformation challenges by offering the capability to build innovative services and adjust offerings themselves.

To hear more about SAP’s Sales Cloud Platform, Moritz was able to go into detail about the biggest benefits and major features of the new extension.

SAP’s overall strategy is to create an intelligent enterprise by harnessing technology. An integral part of this is enhancing the technology that powers digital experiences, which is ultimately the value proposition for our customers. With SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory all SAP front office applications can be effectively extended by leveraging microservices. 

It is this technology that will now be the underlying environment across our entire SAP C/4HANA suite, which is comprised of cloud applications for marketing, commerce, service, sales and customer data. Adding a common, microservices extension platform to the SAP C/4HANA suite is key for delivering ultra-high agility and quick time to value in implementing front-office solutions. Further, it reduces time to value dramatically via a common stack and higher developer productivity.

With new announcements also comes the overload of information, so I was curious to hear Moritz' thoughts on what he would highlight as the major features of the new SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory.

  • App Registration & Connection: Applications and solutions has the ability to seamlessly connect directly to the customer’s account on SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory.

  • Easy Service Consumption: SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory provides a consolidated service catalog, serves as the central point for discovery and consumption of business services. As a result, it is much easier to consume business services coming from any system connected to SAP Cloud Platform in a coherent and consistent manner. 

  • High agility & Speed: Due to the microservices architecture and serverless functions, the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory allows users to deliver ultra-high agility and quick time to value in implementing front-office solutions. Further, it reduces time to value dramatically via a common stack and higher developer productivity. 

  • Unification of all clouds: The SAP Cloud Platform Extension serves as one environment that unifies all clouds (marketing, service, sales, commerce, and customer data management) and allows users to extend and build innovations within the platform. 

  • Event Integration: The SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory is a loosely coupled side-by-side extensibility platform that leverages event driven integration across the entire platform.”

SAP Upscale Commerce Built on SAP Cloud Platform 

Additionally, SAP introduced SAP Upscale Commerce, a new software as a service built on SAP Cloud Platform and designed specifically for midsize retailers, consumer packaged goods companies and direct-to-consumer businesses.

As stated in the announcement: 

“The new commerce solution is designed for the specific needs of midmarket accounts with limited budgets for software and implementation and a need for fast deployment of smaller online shops. It will initially be available for early adopters in the U.S. market.

SAP Upscale Commerce natively integrates artificial intelligence, allowing it to learn automatically what functions best and to continuously show how to maximize channels that generate profits. The midmarket solution, which can be deployed in as little as a few days, delivers rich mobile-first shopping and blends online and in-store shopping into seamless experiences. It features an “endless aisle” app that allows customers to see what is available in the store they are in and where products are available if not in that store — by using their mobile phones.”

Ending Notes     

Besides the new announcements, SAP also released an interesting study on The State of Global Online Shopping. The study was conducted by the SAP Customer Experience organizational unit on a recent Consumer Propensity Study “aimed at gauging consumer attitudes to online shopping experiences. The study surveyed over 20,000 consumers in 24 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, the United Kingdom and the United States.”

In the report, it mentioned “three out of four online shoppers worldwide fail to regularly see product recommendations that interest them, according to a global survey sponsored by SAP SE.” I connected with Chris Hauca, Head of Strategy & GTM SAP Commerce Cloud to inquire about the ways he thinks companies can change this ongoing trend:

“There is a significant gap in what consumers are seeing throughout their online shopping journey, and shoppers are not seeing product recommendations that fit their individual needs. In the age of omnichannel shopping, consumers expect brands to understand their entire history regardless of channel, which is something many brands continue to have challenges with — primarily because of data silos. These gaps can contribute missed market opportunities.

Companies need to begin by shifting their mindset to address the overall need for an end-to-end unified process that accounts for every stage of the customer journey. Moreover, accurate data enables new customer experiences economy — but only if handled with care. Businesses have an imperative to gain trust and build an emotional and personal relationship with each customer. However, this is only possible if consent is present.

In addition to bridging data-silos and harnessing accurate customer data, brands must ensure that their supply and demand pieces of the customer journey are integrated, so that customers no longer view suggestions for purchases that have already been made, are kept apprised of any out-of-stocks or are looped in on any other factors that might impact their customer experience" said Chris.

Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella is the Digital Marketing Assistant for CMS-Connected. She brings a wealth of knowledge from not only a CMS perspective but also content, SEO and eCommerce. She enjoys everything social media and staying ontop of the latest trends in the digital marketing world.