SAP recently hosted a customer event at Yankee Stadium to showcase improvements in their hybris software offerings. Specifically, SAP announced:

  • SAP hybris Profile – This offering enable customers to build profiles of existing and potential customers using a variety of different channels and touch points. The goal of the product is to better refine the view of the customer to enable better marketing.
  • SAP hybris Customer Experience – This offering help customers manage marketing content and helps ensure they can deliver a consistent offers to potential customers.
  • SAP hybris-as-a-service – Finall,y the hybris offerings are now available in the cloud thus enabling customers and developers to build apps on the cloud platform.

Overall, Neuralytix believes that these developments are moving in the right direction. The traditional approach to marketing, of carpet bombing all potential customers through all potential channels, is highly ineffective at best, and potentially harmful at worst.

The main reason for this the change in the power dynamic from suppliers to customers. The vast array of tools available to customers puts the customer firmly in charge as they can conduct most if not all of the required research into a product before ever contacting as sales or account rep from the supplier. With this background, suppliers need to find a more effective way to target potential customers.

This is the problem that hybris Profile and hybris Customer Experience aims to correct. By building a better profile of the customer, the supplier can be in a better position to deliver the right message at the right time. Once the profile has been built, the next challenges is to manage all of the marketing content to ensure that the customer is getting a consistent message from the supplier.

While this clearly can be valuable to the SAP’s customers, Neuralytix also believes that how it is implemented is critical. It is clear that the executive leadership of most companies understands that the approach to marketing needs to change from a “carpet bombing” approach to a “targeted strike” approach.

However, the culture of many organizations is not set up to make this shift. In many cases, marketing managers are measured on the number of marketing driven leads that are delivered to sales, campaigns are judged successful if enough customers open the email, and value is determined by how many customer impressions are generated. It is these metrics that will lead to the misuse of the tools.

Marketing managers, who have a metric to achieve in order to receive a quarterly bonus or get a better annual review and thus a greater raise, will use the tools not to filter and build better profiles, but to identify more customers that can added to a promotion list or included on marketing communications. The tools, if used incorrectly, can contribute to the ‘carpet bombing’ of potential customers.

While how a tool is used, or in the worst case, misused, is not directly under SAP’s control, SAP needs to spend a considerable amount of time in both the pre-sales and implementation phases to mitigate the potential for misuse. If the tool is misused, then SAP’s message will be undermined. The executives who are expecting a higher close rate, better customer experiences, and improved financial performance will be disappointed if these results are not achieved – even if the reason they are not achieved is their employees are not using the tools correctly.

Given this unfair but true situation, SAP will need to spend considerable time with the executives during the implementation working to change metrics and culture at the customer. In many cases, SAP will need to work with both the executives and an external management consultancy to effect this change. Fortunately SAP has strong partnerships with most if not all of the IT and management consultants that can be leveraged during pre-sales and implementation.