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The other day, I was sitting at my desk when I received a notification on my phone. You could only imagine my surprise when I looked down to see that I had received an email from my car. Yes, you read that right – my car.

My car was writing to inform me that its brake linings were in need of a replacement, and provided me with both an instant opportunity to set up an appointment digitally, and the name and contact information of a support specialist in case I had immediate questions.

I will admit, I tend to drive fast, and I don’t always recognize the strain that this puts on my brakes. Thankfully, the sensors in my car certainly did, and were able to proactively flag the issue before my speedy driving got the best of me.

This experience made me think. While automobile and enterprise technology might not seem to hold many parallels at surface level, they do in the case of customer support. Just like my trusted car, enterprise solutions should come with personalized, proactive tools and resources for problem resolution, and beyond that, optimization.

Avoiding Communication Roadblocks

The effectiveness of proactive support is very much dependent on the context of the recommendation, and the channel through which the recommendation is delivered. The best way to contact me at any given time of day is by email on my phone, and my car’s support services took this into account. Then, instead of playing phone-tag with a mechanic to set up a time to have my brake linings replaced, I was able to select a repair slot digitally in less than a minute, and if I had wanted, could check with a support specialist at my own discretion. This targeted mix of communication channels allowed me to go on with my day with one less thing to worry about.

At SAP, we’re providing a similar multi-channel experience to meet our busy customers’ demand for personalized, live support. Through the SAP ONE Support Launchpad, customers have access to task-driven support resources and customizable role profiles, displaying only the relevant insights to ensure an efficient and user-friendly experience.

Should a solution-specific issue be flagged to the customer through the Launchpad, the customer can then choose their preferred path to problem resolution. To see that the matter is addressed quickly and effectively, customers can chat with SAP support specialists in real-time via the Expert Chat function, or collaborate with other SAP users via the SAP Learning Hub or SAP Jam. For those that prefer a service-it-yourself approach, access to SAP’s library of Knowledge Based Articles (KBAs) provides a wealth of interactive learning guides specific to a given SAP solution. Or, just like my car’s support allowed me to act on its recommendation when it was most convenient for me, SAP customers can use the Schedule and Expert tool to connect with an SAP support specialist in real-time and at a time that works for their schedule.

It’s Not the Car – It’s the Driver

Many solutions come hard-wired with predefined support messages that are sent out on a timeline based on the solution’s projected lifecycle – just like many auto companies send messages solely based on a car’s mileage. However, no two companies are the same, meaning that they use the same solution in different ways to meet unique business goals. Just like my car took my individual brake lining consumption into account to provide a personalized support message, SAP Enterprise Support is delivering custom suggestions based on usage and consumption behaviors.

This is where SAP Innovation and Optimization Pathfinder for SAP ERP comes in. Based on a company’s solution usage, dozens of performance metrics and the activities of industry peers, the SAP Pathfinder tool provides a tailored report of solution activity and recommendations on how support can help to meet a customer’s unique business processes, and create new opportunities for improvement.

Steering the Digital Journey in the Right Direction

As IoT continues to advance, I’m sure my car will begin to send me messages suggesting how I could drive to make my brake linings last longer – or how to find faster routes to my usual destinations (I would clearly prefer the latter). The rise of machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Cloud is creating a similar predictive customer engagement approach in enterprise solution support.

Not only does an SAP Pathfinder report suggest the best means of driving outcomes via support services tailored to a customer’s consumption, it also provides recommendations for the adoption of SAP-based innovations. This will be an especially important resource as SAP users continue to move to the Cloud. For those still working with legacy solutions, the SAP Pathfinder report outlines which Cloud-based solutions would make the most sense to migrate to. Whether it be SAP S/4HANA or another Cloud-based offering, customers are shown the specific ways in which the Cloud should be integrated to align with business processes, and how this adoption will further them in their goals. But we are also looking at very practical things – as an example, through the integration of AI, we are able to match specific customer incidents with proven solutions and solution-specific knowledge assets, speeding up the time-to-resolution without compromising quality.

Despite the flurry of updates, software releases and buzzwords involved in the race to digital transformation, one thing is certain – support should remain simple and prioritize the unique needs of the customer. A company could be eligible to integrate a plethora of different services and apps, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they should. No matter how many add-ons are available for my car, I’ll always be thankful that my support services prioritize issues most relevant to my driving – like my brakes – and guide me along the best path to resolution to keep me safe (and speedy).

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