SAP has been building and expanding its In-Memory application portfolio ever since the introduction of SAP HANA in 2008. First came the SAP HANA Accelerators. Accelerators were a perfect way to introduce SAP HANA into the market as they provided a quick and easy way to leverage in-memory technology to speed up existing reports in the SAP Business Suite. Data was replicated out of the SAP Business Suite Database into SAP HANA, computations were then done inside the SAP HANA platform and results were pushed back out into the SAP Business Suite. In this model, the casual user wouldn’t notice any difference in terms of functionality or user interface except for the fact that the reports came back at lightning speed. The SAP COPA Accelerator is an example of one of these HANA Accelerators.
SAP then started building new applications natively on top of the HANA platform. These applications all focused on helping companies leverage their growing data to solve specific business problems in ways that were not possible using existing technologies because of speed , cost and complexity related reasons. These applications accelerated the adoption of the HANA platform by providing enterprises with very focused use cases to leverage In-Memory technology to harvest the power of their Big Data. These HANA powered applications fall into 4 broad categories:
- Risk and Fraud Management Applications (e.g SAP Liquidity Risk Management)
- Planning and Business Process Optimization Applications (e.g. SAP Accelerated Trade Promotion Planning)
- Real time Sense and Response Applications (e.g SAP Demand Signal Management)
- Customer Centric Applications (E.g. SAP Collection Insight)
Last week SAP announced the beginning of ramp-up of 3 new SAP HANA powered applications that fall under the latter category of Customer Centric Applications. The 3 fully integrated applications are packaged in an offering called SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence and are designed to allow companies to leverage Big Data to develop a deeper understanding of the present and future value of their customers. Through this deeper customer understanding enterprises can then start engaging with customers with more personalized sales and marketing strategies and product offerings to enhance the overall customer experience and strategically increase revenue and margins.
The release of these applications is a continuation of the SAP’s 360 Customer that marked SAP’s migration of its CRM suite on to the In-memory SAP HANA platform in November of last year. SAP then completed the migration of other modules of the SAP Business Suite in January of this year. The fact that SAP chose to lead its Business Suite HANA migration with the CRM module just speaks to the notion that the biggest opportunity for companies seeking to capitalize on the Big Data trend lies in Customer Centric Initiatives. This is the lowest hanging Big Data fruit that can have significant impact and achieve immediate returns for those that can exploit it.
The first of the three newly released applications is SAP Customer Value Intelligence , an on premise application that consolidates data from both the SAP ERP and SAP CRM systems to provide a single view of customer value. Within this application SAP has built some new and exciting functionalities like the ability to offer selling recommendations to account executives in the field. Selling recommendation engines that came into prominence with B2C (Business to Consumer) companies like Amazon and Netflix are now slowly moving into the B2B (Business to Business) space. The SAP Customer Value Intelligence application leverages some of the predicative capabilities built in the SAP HANA platform to analyze past purchases of similar customers within a peer group, identify revenue gaps and offer cross and up selling recommendations . This tool can have strong impact on increasing sales conversation rates and deal sizes by allowing Account Executives to position products that the customer is most likely to buy. The SAP Customer Value Intelligence application also comes with new Segmentation, Stratification and Margin decomposition capabilities all focused on helping companies gain a deeper understanding of their customers.More about these functionalities to come in future blogs.
The second application is SAP Audience Discovery & Targeting. With this application companies can build “decision-tree” like segmentation maps of their customers to help them quickly zoom in and select a specific target group. Let’s say a Consumer Product company is planning a promotion campaign to increase sales for one of its products. The company has identified a set of customer attributes (age, gender, geography, past purchases, purchase power,…etc) that are of specific interest and wants to focus its promotion campaign on this customer segment. The company also wants to ensure that a specific number of promotions are sent out but unsure how its list of customer defined attributes impact the size of this target customer list. SAP Audience Discovery and Targeting allows the company to do a visual breakdown of its customers based on the defined attributes and explore their impact on the size of the target segment. The company can then identify the target segment that satisfies its requirements and create a target group that can be pushed out directly into CRM. All this is done in real time and on very large data sets because the application sits on top of the SAP HANA platform where the data resides.
The third application is SAP Account Intelligence. This is an iPad application that runs on top of SAP Customer Value Intelligence (read Customer Value Intelligence is a prerequisite) that delivers real-time customer insight and personalized selling recommendations directly to field sales on their tablet devices. Integration with SAP Customer Value Intelligence is a key benefit here because the Marketing team can now use the Customer Stratification and Segmentation capabilities in the SAP Customer Value Intelligence application to build a target customer group and then push that target group directly to the field through the iPad devices. The field executives can then do further segmentation on their iPads and leverage the IOS’s Geospatial capabilities to locate customers on a map and prioritize their sales visits.
All these three applications help bring companies closer to their customers through deeper understanding of customer value and ability to create targeted and personalized sales and marketing strategies for different customer segments. You can watch these videos to learn more about the new SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence offering.