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Ground Hog Day: Why Industry Relevance Matters

Ground Hog Day

Remember the movie  Ground Hog Day?  The one where Bill Murray wakes up and it’s always the same day – February 2nd?    Well, that’s what the current enterprise software context feels like, with the world once again replete with “best of breed” vendors, and the claim that integration either doesn’t matter or is now “oh, so simple”.

Remember the 1990s?  And why Integration, Consistency and Coherency did in fact matter. In the end, the Suite always won.  You learned that a solution had to be localized for more than just a handful of countries; it needed to work in all the countries where you do.

Ground Hog day.

Multiple Choice questions for your Software Company

At SAP, we set ourselves 3 SIMPLE questions (please do try these same questions with other Software vendors).   We believe there is no other software company in the world that can answer with a clear Yes (and not a “Yes, but, well maybe, kind of…”)
  1. Can you cover Every Line of Business, Every Industry, Every Size of Business, Every Cloud model (that the customer chooses) and operate Everywhere in the world where the customer does?
  2. Can you do so without losing the benefits of Integration, Consistency, Coherency across the end-to-end process?   And are you localized for the countries where the customer operates?
  3. Can you actually EXECUTE in the back-end systems of record and INNOVATE in the front-end systems of differentiation?

At SAP, the answer is Yes, Yes, and Yes.
At other software companies, the answer tends to be “best of breed” or “we’re getting there” or some other diversionary “spin” (feel free to re-read the paragraph on Ground Hog day).

If I can’t Execute, how can I be Relevant?
Two magic words you may wish to discuss with your software vendor: EXECUTION and RELEVANCE.
It’s no longer good enough to talk about CRM as a static view of a customer in a pipeline and a salesforce automation tool.   In a world of real-time omni-channel commerce, can your solution provider engage an end customer across all channels, in real-time, provide them with accurate real-time stock visibility and then execute commerce with them – with the agility to pick up in one store, drop off in another, etc.?  If not, then that vendor is simply not relevant.  And they are not relevant because they cannot engage and execute commerce across all channels, all the time, in real time.  

Said another way, just like Ground Hog day, your CRM vendor is stuck in the 1990s (the movie was 1993, if you’re wondering).   Said yet another way, CRM is dead.  Long live Customer Engagement and Commerce (CEC).

But you said Industry Relevance in the Title?
Yes we did, and yes we mean it.  The language of business is the language of industry. 

Can your software vendor open a bank account (and comply with KYC regulation); can it calculate and issue a utility bill to a consumer who both generates and consumes power; can it commit manufacturing visibility across a network; can it provide real-time stock visibility down to what is physically (or virtually) inside a customer’s shopping basket; can it facilitate hundreds of billions of dollars of commerce between enterprise (yes, billions) etc. etc.?
You get the point.  

Either you can execute an industry-specific business process, or you can’t.  If you can’t, you are generic – and generic tries to hide behind best of breed. Just like the 1990s, and just like the movie, Bill Murray eventually wakes up.

But it’s just HR!

No, it’s not!  

Whether it be HR, or Finance, or Procurement or any other so called “back end” process or “secondary business process” it also gets industry specific very quickly.  One size does not fit all.

Whether you need to manage a worker on an oil rig, or ensure a financial professional is certified correctly, or reflect an organizational change into your financial systems, or ensure a procurement decision is both contract compliant and purchase optimized, you will need your system to inform you (and not the other way around).

So what do I do?

Lucky enough, Ground Hog Day was just a movie.

Lucky enough, SAP has been reliably serving its customers (now >260.000) around the world for more than 40 years.

Lucky enough, you can still bet your business on a company that is rock solid (and profitable) and here for the long run.

Lucky enough, one company – SAP – can say:

  • Every LoB.  Every Industry.  Every Cloud Model.  Every Size of Business.  Everywhere in the world.
  • Integrated. Consistent. Coherent. Localized.

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