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What an experience. The SAP Hybris Americas Customer Days happened in Fort Worth, Texas from October 19th through 21st at the sprawling Omni Hotel. In a way, it was fitting that the SAP Hybris event was held in Fort Worth instead of say, it’s older and better-known sibling Dallas. Just like SAP Hybris, Fort Worth is witnessing a significant growth from a relatively rustic existence to a modern urban center of business.

But enough about the venue. Let’s jump right into the event. There was a significant presence of North America customers at Omni Fort Worth right from Day 1. However, on October 20th, the main conference commenced, and the throng quickly became a crowd – a testament to the growing popularity of SAP Hybris as the Omnichannel platform of choice amongst the corporates today. This was also the first time that the common customer base of SAP and SAP Hybris came together under one roof. This was also the first time for the coming together of SAP Hybris Marketing and SAP Hybris Billing offerings along with the flagship SAP Hybris Commerce.

Strategy

The   SAP Hybris  Chief Strategy Officer Mr. Brian Walker appeared on stage as Marty McFly, the iconic character of ‘Back to the Future’, along with the Professor – emerging from a DeLorean amongst much fanfare. It was a fitting tribute to the movie’s promised tryst with the future on Oct 21, 2015 – and it went very well with what was to come right after – the future of Omnichannel Commerce, and its trends.

Highlights from the B2B Track that I spent the most time at


GE Digital: Customer journeys are the most fascinating and informative at the same time. If the customer is GE Digital, then the experience is even more valuable. Jackie Wallace, CIO, took us through the key success criteria for their SAP Hybris implementation:

  • Fast and accurate response
  • Anytime ordering and support access
  • Contemporary and personalized experience
  • Omnichannel experience
  • Product availability and pricing information

The four tracks that were supported were

  1. External Customers
  2. Inside Sales
  3. CPQ
  4. After Market Sales and Self Service

B2B Trends: Riad Hijal, Global VP, Solution Management, SAP Hybris then took us to the trends that will define the B2B market in the future.

The first thought provoking question was what defines B2B market in general? We understand it as a broad set of verticals with a common theme. The companies have been known to react relatively slower to trends, are relatively inflexible and not very customer experience oriented. However the market expectations in B2C segments have moved on to faster responses, point to point delivery, delivery within 90 minutes etc.


The second thought is around the consumerization of B2B businesses being driven by B2C trends and expectations of a B2C consumer influencing that of a B2B buyer. Basically both B2C and B2B buyers are simply different personas of the same individuals. In terms of Consumer Experience, 80% of companies think that customer expectations have changed because of B2C.

The other factors that characterize B2B is purchase by committee, i.e. multiple buyer roles need to be supported, as well as complexity of multi-country and multi-currency transactions.

Now, the consensus seems to be around the following:

Consumer Experience needs to be:

  • Contextual
  • Consistent
  • Relevant

Irrespective of channel and device of interaction it should be with

  • One tool
  • In context
  • Great experience

The newly launched YAAS platform, or ‘SAP Hybris As-A Service’, is a next generation commerce infrastructure based on micro services. Apart from adopting the micro services based architecture it also incorporates state of the art technology standards like Cloud Foundry, Apache Kafka, RAML, apigee etc.

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It translates to opportunities for SAP Hybris customers to leverage micro services in a way like never before, as it facilitates true modular construction of the front office.

The Data Hub also provides for a simple, extensible and scalable data integration platform for the B2B market.

McKesson B2B2C: Jimmy Hurff, Director, McKesson took us through the McKesson Patient Care Solutions SAP Hybris implementation experience for their B2B2C segment of business dealing with Providers, Payers and Consumers (Patients) facilitating the ultimate fulfillment of needs for medical/surgical supplies and consumables for them.


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B2B What’s New? What’s Coming Next?: Adam Davies, Sr. Product Manager, SAP Hybris dwelled on a few key trends. Two big ones are:

  • A Modular Core letting easy plugins of functionality
  • Complete rollout of B2B PunchOut functionality enabled with Ariba Cloud Service

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Roadmap

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Why in the world would AVIALL change a successful website?: Bill Scherer, and Francisco Alatorre, Directors from AVIALL explained in detail the key drivers that prompted them to go for SAP Hybris implementation despite the risk of incurring adverse customer reactions by completely overhauling what was a perfectly functioning and popular web front end:

  • Improved Consumer Experience
  • Improved Technology
  • Enhanced Capabilities

Final thoughts

This was a microcosm for all the exciting things going on at the Americas Customer Days event, including SAP Hybris Marketing, SAP Hybris Billing and C4C as an overall SAP Customer Engagement and Commerce (CEC) strategy. From a SAP Custom Development perspective, it represented a unique set of opportunities to service both the SAP Hybris and SAP customer groups.

I welcome comments, questions to the topic. Please feel free to reach out to me at somdev.sen@sap.com.

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