The Architect’s World – Episode 49
Light Weight xApp Analytics in Org.A Supply Chain for B2B Sales:
As Dave starts breaking down the processes into logical sets of events, sequential and parallel, he starts with the first one – the Order capture for the B2B channel sales. Draws up the process to what it looks like as below:
a. Order capture process:
Today, Org.A uses a standalone portal built on plumtree which takes in regular feeds from the core R/3 engine w.r.t masters and loops back at VA01 with a specific order type for b2b sales. The data is updated into the portal database on a nightly basis using SeeBeyond as the middleware – an unwanted clutter. user management is s separate issue as well, with custom tables built and mapped to R/3 as an RFC user – a move that Org.A used to remain on concurrent licenses to keep costs low. There is a custom pricing engine that works out the pricing and feeds back the details to R/3 and gets fed in following the pricing procedures, which are designed on the basis of the custom application. The Pricing procedures, the condition types, the access sequences and the condition records are designed based on the custom application, which hosts the business rules and the pricing. the business rules are based on region, customer, order qty, Invoice settlement details, and this is well integrated with the custom B2B portal (www.orgaonline.com). Customers access this online store and select what they wish. Either they buy off-the-shelf products from the site, or configure the PCs they want to buy. The items are then added to the cart, saved/submitted, added to favorites, and then the standard process follows till the time an xml document is generated from the portal to be pushed to R/3 as an order – MTS or MTO.
Initial suggestions from Dave to an upgrade and a move to the SAP NetWeaver portal as an EFP make the above process simpler, with BI reporting and removal of the EAI application is considered to be in pilot and soon to become a reality. Though there was a strong business case on the TCO lowering front accelerating a move towards adoption of the same, and having a GP driven process to make the process easier, the move of making the UI jazzier with Flash certainly seems promising. Still, Dave concludes, that Org.A sales could be made a lot more effective, if the more information like the following could be mobilized for action. Considering a few of the areas that necessitate the use of xApp Analytics to increase sales and reduce opportunity losses, a set of light-weight Analytical applications could provide huge benefits:
1. Region-wise details of customers ordering pattern
2. Product-wise details of customers ordering pattern
4. Time/day-wise details of customers ordering pattern
5. Season-wise details of customers ordering pattern
6. Order-wise details of customers ordering pattern
7. Accesory-wise details of customers ordering pattern
8. Price-based details of customers ordering pattern
9. Demographics details of customers ordering pattern
10. Order loss based on regular buying behaviour
11. Order loss based on seasonal buying behaviour
12. Order loss based on buying behavior
13. So on and so forth…BI gains prominence within Org.A
Enter the Tooth fairy :
1. Region-wise details of customers ordering pattern:
If this information could be obtained on a regular basis (maybe with Alerting later on when it becomes possible) which could be used to trigger off action in terms of the product mix bought by consumers in a certain region, the details which anyways would be diced, sliced and presented in BI today as static reports today, with actions based on a whim, logging into another systems and taking spot decisions as to local sourcing/storage of the most sought after products to lower taxes and shipping costs to make it cheaper, other such parameters could be acted upon then and there. Maybe, a dashboard which helps in this would make sense in increasing sales revenue.
2. Product-wise details of customers ordering pattern:
Org.A relies heavily on the items sold as MTO as this helps drive down sourcing costs in bulk. A pattern that helps understand the buying behavior. As an existing standard information available from its BI implementation, what does not happen today within Org.A is the sales losses in acting on the information that is made available on a regular basis. By the time action is taken, most of the time, the opportunity passes by. Dave figures that if Analytics could be made available that helps users figure out the customer buying patters in terms of various key figures, that allows the changing of discounts to be provided on slow-moving items to build momentum on a proactive basis, it certainly would be something to look forward to.
3. Time/day-wise details of customers ordering pattern:
Org.A typically sees the patters of the purchasing behavior go up during fridays and hitting rock bottom on monday mornings. Information availability of such data which gets captured in the system, but loses its meaning by the time it warrants action, add to it the seasonal fluctuations, Dave contemplates the usage of xApp Analytics here. To increase the response time for such reports that demand at least a weekly variance in the sales strategy, an application that is modeled to provide these adaptive capabilities to increase sales is extremely useful.
If the SAP NetWeaver Composition Platform comes into play here, it changes the whole game. Dave realizes that as what started of as a bunch of cavities as small light-weight composites that could be modeled in VC and displayed super cool with Flash could well be what Org.A could be looking for in terms of strategic assessment teams to boost sales and prevent order losses. If Dave could propose a strategy that enables creating callable objects of screens built using VC and providing a set of guided procedures for a strategic role within Org.A, that analysis a crucial set of such information within a mini-application that drives her through procedurally across a set of KPIs of a campaign’s effectiveness that underlines these parameters, individually, as a consolidated xApp that is driven by Analytics, by providing the ability to act upon the information provided, made more effective through BI Alerting in the future, is what will define the practicality of Dave’s thought process. Bunched up xApp Analytics forming a heavy-weight composite to enable the B2B Ordering process to increase sales by an added 2% could make a huge difference. So, If the channel sales through B2b accounted for approximately $3 mio for a region annually, a 2% top-up certainly is a very lucrative proposition considering that Dave managed to pull it off for Org.A at Zero cost of sales, without providing an esoteric strategy (as a pure play business Analyst) or a geeky solution that gave a warning message to the user every time she sneezed!