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The Digital Transformation of Walmart, NHL, and SAP – and Why I Can’t Get Enough of Hockey

In watching the virtual broadcasts from this year’s SAPHIRE NOW , I was mesmerized by the digital transformation experiences of the NHL, Walmart, and SAP. They are a testament for building a one-on-one relationship with the customer and fan by knowing who they are and delivering exactly what they want.

For each of these companies, real-time information is paramount. Customers want key information on a timely basis. Plus, social media is a challenge – but very useful when providing transparency to customers.

NHL: Transformation courtesy of the Internet of Things

For the NHL and Steve Mcardle, Executive Vice President of digital media and strategic planning, this couldn’t be truer. In fact, the organization is finding that the Internet of Things – through bio-metric devices and sensors – is keeping player game-day ready by allowing coaching staff of each team to measure how a player’s stride shortens before injury occurs.

Personally, I had heard the same thing at the MIT Sloan School Sports & Analytics Conference. But in the case of the NHL, the stakes are even higher with players earning millions of dollars per year.

And how cool was it that SAP CEO Bill McDermott brought the Stanley Cup on stage at SAPPHIRE NOW?  I have seen it “up close and in person” several times before, most recently at the NHL Store in NYC in April right before the 2015 NHL playoffs started.  Just another dimension of the Fan Experience that we all experience through the magic of sports.

Walmart: Digital transformation through collaboration

Walmart’s CIO joined SAP executives on stage during the keynotes, and in a breakout they later showcased their collaborative relationship between the business, IT, and SAP. Talk about scale – 250 million customers per week, 11,000 locations, and a gigantic e-commerce presence that is still growing. Now, this is a business that is truly driving widespread digital transformation!

SAP: One digital experience

Maggie Chan-Jones, chief marketing officer (CMO) at SAP, discussed our One Digital Experience Project. This initiative is driving a more agile digital experience while reducing Web development by 75%. Better yet, she was able to showing up-to-the-minute results of the Web site’s performance by showing a CMO dashboard on her iPad.

The panel’s verdict: It’s not just about technology

All three panelists agreed that digital technology is not just a technology issue – it’s also about business processes and fundamental changes to organizational relationships. Most important, it’s a merger between IT and the business.

In the end, digital transformation is only as good as the promise you are making to every digital channels. Encourage everyone to work together to make every moment count.

Read my Storify virtual
trip report that highlights my parallel social media coverage and commentary during the event 

About Fred Isbell

Fred Isbell is Senior Marketing Director for SAP Services & Support Marketing for Thought Leadership, Demand Management and Planning for the worldwide Services & Support Marketing team. A 15-year veteran of SAP, he formerly led SAP Global Services Marketing Field Engagement, the North American SAP

FMI BLOG Pix.jpgServices regional marketing team and SMB Channels Marketing for the SAP Small and Midsize Business team. Prior to SAP, he held a variety of senior solutions, services, and partner marketing roles with Compaq and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Fred is an honors graduate of Yale University with a BA in Economics and Political Science, and has an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business where he was a Fuqua Scholar. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he is a MA/USA Hockey advanced patch coach and includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

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