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Applying Modern Social Capabilities to Improve Your Customer’s Experience


Blog series: #social biz dynamics

Editors Note: This is a blog post by Niclas Otte (@ottenic).

It’s certainly a key trend impacting business today. You can see related actions everywhere and it was very evident at SAPPHIRE NOW Madrid – our flagship customer event – as well as during a recent #SOMShare trip to Zurich where I met with a diverse set of IT, marketing, and social media managers from various companies: Today, companies are investing in transforming operations that help them get closer to their customers.

Not only was this the overarching topic in the workshops, but when reading the newspaper on my trip home a few headlines caught my eye including:

  • Toys“R”Us is bolstering its online presence and announced a kid-run news network, new international web stores, as well as mobile apps. Besides the multi-channel aspect, executives stated that the moves were targeted at getting closer to the customer.*
  • Unlike its traditional real estate strategy, IKEA is going to open downtown stores in major cities with a company spokesperson stating that the move aims at getting closer to the customer.**

Being close to customers – also known as customer-centricity – is certainly ot a new concept. However, it’s become one of the hottest topics today. Executives talk about it over and over again and give related concepts top priority (see the IBM CEO Study). In fact, in today’s competitive world with socially connected and digitally armed consumers, being customer-centric requires us more than ever to appropriately touch people’s lives and look for direct engagement whenever, wherever, and however customers choose. So we must be able drive the transaction to closure with the same excellence and branded experience, independent of the channel.

SAP has been very committed in evolving its CRM or customer experience solutions like SAP CRM to address such challenges.  Combined with the advent of new technologies such as social, big data, and predictive analytics, the potential for companies to predict, understand, and meet their customer needs and design smart experiences today is vast.

That brings us to the key role social is playing in such enterprise dynamics because companies are now taking customer-centricity far beyond traditional hubs like marketing and customer service into other areas of their business including research & development, HR, and even supply chain operations. This is heavily impacting the need to collaborate internally. Therefore, the question you need to ask yourself now is “Do you have an employee-centric culture and technology foundation that allows for customer-centricity?”

At SAP, we are strongly committed to helping companies become best-run social businesses and achieving superior customer experience by taking advantage of modern social collaboration capabilities in our new SAP Jam solution launched last month.

SAP Jam brings a completely differentiated way of thinking about social by connecting customers, partners, and employees with information, applications, and processes to drive results – in your social network, applications, or while mobile. By integrating into enterprise applications including its CRM and customer experience related solutions, SAP Jam adds collaboration right where people work. The revolutionary result is that you avoid broken processes.  Unlike traditional collaboration environments, SAP Jam adds valuable business process context which means work is now continuous and uninterrupted.

The only way to achieve superior customer experience is by having your complete organization buy into the importance of related concepts (corporate culture) and by equipping each individual with social intelligence as part of an integrated social business environment. SAP Jam now offers the social foundation that enables your company to seamlessly connect people, teams and organizations from across the enterprise into the respective customer-facing process, such as serving your customers.

Here’s an example. Imagine the important role of customer experience in the hospitality industry, in which many hotel chains across the globe have spent significant effort (and $$$) on implementing high and consistent standards for how they treat their guests and the intended customer experience they want to derive.

SAP now changes the game in the way companies can manage customer experience as it not only delivers a secure social collaboration environment that enables companies to seamlessly connect experts from across the enterprise into the CRM-related processes, but it also allows companies to refine and improve related corporate programs driven by HR including social learning and social onboarding activities related to sharing best practices around customer experience – all integrated into your SuccessFactors BizX Suite.

Given the nature of today’s rather complex business models which usually consist of a combination of internal and external business networks, social also needs to allow you to seamlessly connect across customers, employees, partners and suppliers. SAP Jam connects your value chain and enables you to get the team to commit to a cause, keeping everyone on the same page with notifications and action items which brings order to the typical chaos that can occur when you work together with people from inside or outside the company and across geographic boundaries.

When such social ways of working and technology enables companies to better manage customer relations or conduct business more efficiently by complementing existing process technology investment, it starts to get in line with how organizations expect to measure value (see SAPPHIRE NOW video and SAP Social Software Solutions general manager and global VP, Sameer Patel, showcasing SAP Jam.)

As self-titled and well-respected “change agent for future of work” Simon Scullion (@sscullion) was saying: “We’re seeing the end of the ‘Mickey Mouse’ chapter of #socbiz”.

Please let us know your related thoughts and projects. More real-life examples coming up in the next blog from the series.


** FTD, DPA (November 21, 2012)

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