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Earlier this month I attended my third – and best – SAPPHIRE NOW conference. The event kicked off with Bill McDermott, Co-CEO, saying, “SAP is now a business-to-business-to-consumer software market leader. The customer and customer alone determines whether or not we win or lose.”

As someone with extensive experience in the mobile consumer market, this announcement was music to my ears. It marks a major step forward from last year’s conference, when SAP had just released its first-ever consumer app, Recalls Plus, quietly signaling that SAP had entered the consumer market (to the surprise of many in the ecosystem).

Now our “customers’ customers” – consumers at the leading edge of mobile adoption — were front and center in many of this year’s keynotes, showcases, and campuses. Although the consumer took on many labels (fan, shopper, passenger, etc.), the strategy remained consistent: hook “systems of record” (now running at real-time speed powered by HANA) – to “systems of engagement”.  What’s different is the expanded number of touch points demanded by the consumer throughout the buying cycle that allow businesses to transform their experience.

Mobile Innovation is Not a Spectator Sport

Today, I’d like to share three of the consumer apps showcased at SAPPHIRE NOW that exemplify SAP’s new focus on the customer’s customer. What makes these apps remarkable is not only what they do technologically, but also how they were co-innovated according to the Design Thinking principles that have become part of the SAP DNA in North America.

Design Thinking, which was covered extensively in Mobility Minutes 10 through 13, is a best-of-breed approach to problem solving that places the customer at the center of the process. SAP’s Mobile Innovation Program uses Design Thinking and brings marketing, lines of business, and IT stakeholders together with SAP industry and domain experts to understand and observe the customer’s customer throughout his or her buying journey. What differentiates this approach is that it is not a spectator sport but requires active involvement by all parties.

Let’s take a closer look at the apps that came out of placing the customer at the center of the process

CIBC’s Mobile Banking App

What:    An award-winning mobile banking app for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android and mobile web.

How:     Here’s a great example of putting the customer at the center of the design process. CIBC started by looking at how users approach mobile apps differently according to the device they’re using. They found that iPad users typically prefer “lean-back” media, which allows for casual consumption of content, while iPhone users prefer “lean-forward” media, which allows them to conduct their transactions quickly and efficiently. The success of the process catalyzed a broader strategy to evaluate dozens of touch points a single consumer has across multiple channels to ensure that meaningful engagement happened at each of those touch points.

Results:CIBC’s Mobile Banking App was recognized as the number one Financial Service Application on the AppStore. From a touch point perspective, they found the mobile channel offered unprecedented engagement with the bank, with two visits a day from each mobile user – versus two visits per month to the online channel or two visits per year to the branch channel.

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Loyalty App at STM (Societé de Transport de Montreal)

What:     STM Merci” is a customer reward and recognition (loyalty) program designed to connect 1.2 million daily riders to their city in real time through exclusive offers personalized to each individual. The mobile app delivers relevant geo-localized offers from an ecosystem of more than1,000 events and over 340 transport partners and merchants.

How:     STM and SAP joined forces to co-innovate and develop a solution that leverages SAP Precision Marketing to deliver a truly personalized mobile experience. This effort was driven by STM’s Chief Marketing Officer, who formerly led key elements of Air Canada’s Aeroplan loyalty program.

Results:STM Merci was recognized as the number one Lifestyle app (ahead of Amazon and eBay) on the AppStore in Canada when it was launched May 7, 2013. Within 48 hours of the soft launch it was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal and 328,000 personalized promotions were sent out. Select merchant partners also experienced an activation rate on their offers of more than 40%.

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SAP Utilities Customer Engagement Mobile App at a West Coast Utility

What:     SAP Utilities Customer Engagement mobile app allows utilities to improve relationships with customers while helping to reduce customer service costs.The app integrates with SAP IS-Utilities solution and uses SAP’s Mobilizer middleware architecture.

How:      The SAP Utilities industry group established co-innovation councils focused on Smart Grid, SAP HANA, Analytics, and Mobility. The mission of the mobility council was “to provide a complete enterprise mobility Utility solution leveraging our business processes, enterprise mobile platform, development tools, and mobile applications.”  The Mobility council identified a set of industry-specific use cases, which were then prioritized by member work teams. Four out of the five top use cases were targeted at the business-to-consumer market and included bill payment, outage management, service requests, and usage management. SAP worked with the Utilities Co-Innovation Council and found a utility on the West Coast to collaborate with SAP and identify the detailed functional requirements of such an application. These workshops resulted in a prototype application and the development of the SAP Utilities Customer Engagement application.

Results: The first release of the mobile application allows utilities customers to review and pay bills, view outage status and maps, report an issue, receive alerts, and get feedback from the company. The app also allows the company to engage more regularly with their customers, whether its to provide carbon footprint information or details of green initiatives.

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How can you use mobile to engage with your customers?

These are just three of the apps we’ve helped our customers create in order to better serve the needs of their customers. By keeping the focus on our customers’ customers and using a co-innovative Design Thinking approach we give our clients the tools they need to build stronger, more engaged and interactive relationships with their target audience(s) – while also reducing operational costs.

If you have app ideas you’d like to co-innovate, we’d love to hear from you.

JP Finnell | Head of Mobile Strategy & Innovation, Services NA | SAP

Follow me at http://www.twitter.com/JPFinnell

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