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Mobile World Congress panel: “It’s the Context, Stupid! Right Time, Right Place, Right Service” Creates Odd Bed-Fellows Recently I had the privilege to participate as a member of a panel discussing the use of context in consumer engagement at Mobile World Congress moderated by Kim-Mai Cutler from Techcrunch. This panel also included leaders from Qualcomm, Foursquare, Groupon, and Blue Kangaroo which may seem an odd group with which to include a speaker from SAP. This is because most people familiar with SAP think of us as an ERP vendor that provides the systems of record behind a large part of the global economy, not a bleeding edge consumer facing system of engagement like the 3 startups in attendance. In my role at SAP as Solutions Manager for our Precision Retailing solution, I am frequently asked by bewildered customers how mobile consumer engagement could possibly be a natural fit for our portfolio? My response is that the richest and most durable consumer engagement is information driven and SAP is uniquely positioned to help our customers create it.

When one considers that an Accenture channel survey indicated that “3 in 4 online shoppers prefer retailers that use personal information to improve the shopping experience” it becomes apparent that the judicious tracking and utilization of consumer data is critical to engagement.  The research also indicates that 61% of consumers are willing to share their personal information as long as they are receiving value in return. Consumers are defining mobile engagement and clearly understand that one of the key currencies in this domain is personal information.

How does an organization unobtrusively capture, record and analyze consumer information including profile, preferences, loyalty points, purchase history, and interactions to deliver the rich engagement that consumers are asking for? Furthermore, mobile interaction is in continuity with the user as opposed to the session based interactions originating online. As such mobile engagement needs to be aware of the physical presence of the consumer and it needs to provide an understanding of location based data like product availability, inventories, and offer relevance. Much of this information is already being captured in Point of Sale, Merchandising, CRM, and Order Management systems. The challenge is typically not in recording the data but in surfacing this information from what is frequently a heterogeneous aggregation of back end systems and combining it in a useful and actionable way. Solving this particular type of problem is an area where SAP excels and has a long and proven relationship with our customers as a trusted partner.

It is our ability to deliver solutions orchestrating complex integration, large volume data analysis, and the highest levels of scalability that allows SAP to deliver a 1:1 marketing solution like SAP Precision Retailing (SPR). SAP Precision Retailing helps our customers deliver transformative 1:1 personalized marketing by extracting data from SAP and non-SAP software systems (such as customer relationship management profiles, preferences, purchase history, in-store inventories, and past responses to promotions) and joining it with real-time information received from consumer interactions (like location and activity). By leveraging SAP HANA in memory database this solution is able to process large data volumes to identify the most personalized and relevant offers and deliver them to consumers in real-time during the shopping experience. It was this solution that garnered SAP the invitation to participate in this leadership panel at Mobile World Congress to discuss engaging the consumer through mobile context.

The richest and most durable mobile consumer engagement is not achieved simply by extending the same clickstream practices applied in online interactions to mobile context. It requires evaluating and understanding what a consumer is telling you about herself across all business channels and leveraging that understanding to deliver highly personalized information and opportunities directly to that consumer at the most relevant points in time. Failure to deliver locally relevant, timely and highly personalized information and offers via the mobile channel will quickly relegate a solution to irrelevance or annoyance in the consumer mobile mindshare and lead to abandonment. SAP Precision Retailing provides a cloud-based consumer engagement solution that enables an organization to rapidly and consistently deliver this value.

For those interested in hearing more about my thoughts on this topic I had the privelege of being interviewed by Ian Thain, an SAP Mobile Evangelist, about Delivering Personalized Consumer Experiences and SPR.

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