e-point: the Gold Partner of SAP Forum 2016 and SAP Retail Day
e-point entered the role of a Gold Partner at this year’s edition of SAP Forum and SAP Retail Day - a Roadshow conference dedicated to the retail industry.
Together with SAP, we responded to the business community’s expectations raised at the April Forum during the last week’s meeting by putting up the structure of a new house for retail businesses. Now, we share the key insights.
Buzzwords in organizations
During the Forum we held two partner roundtables sessions. We abandoned a traditional product presentation and instead asked the participants about the importance of technology trends to business. We wanted to know about the actual impact slogans such as the Internet of Things, Big Data, gamification or omnichannel have on their organizations. Then, we compared those subjective opinions with observations from Gartner, who monitor the lifecycle of these trends every year.
The resulting discussion allowed the participants to express the business community’s expectations regarding the process of transformation to the digital economy. We heard that the buzzwords themselves, and even the technologies behind them, do not represent any business value. What counts, first of all, are specific plans and solutions.
Regarding the trends themselves, the participants’ highest rating went to omnichannel, i.e. a multi-channel approach to the customer, more often referred to and understood as hybrid commerce. Although omnichannel has indeed been classified as one of the popular buzzwords, it potentially brings a significant business value. It is quite well defined already and focuses primarily on specific actions related to customers.
75 - i.e. where the risk ends and the value begins
The technology behind omnichannel can be viewed in a similar manner. 75% of the functionalities used in the retail trade to execute the hybrid commerce strategy have already been defined. This is a common base required to support sales - payments, deliveries, product information management (PIM), orders (OMS) or customer experience (CXM). The remaining 25% potentially brings in a significant business value.
It is these 25% of technologies that focus on specific activities related to the customers of a particular company. This relates to the specific nature of the products sold, target customer groups, points of contact with the customer and their individual paths, and the characteristics of individual communication and sales channels.
Developing a hybrid commerce system from scratch involves a very high risk of multiple overruns of the budget and the expected implementation time. Such greenfield investments tempt with virtually unlimited possibilities of adapting the created solution to individual business needs.
But when we remember that 75% of these needs are in fact universal, we will see that in order to achieve a competitive advantage, instead of wasting time to invent the wheel again, it is better to focus on the 25% that will build this advantage for the business.
Business is not a software house
Programming platforms known as frameworks help to maintain this “Pareto rule”. Their continuous development is ensured by powerful software houses, which - in cooperation with the business community - make sure that the first 75% always keep pace with the trends and meet the current needs. Among the commerce platforms from leading vendors, Forrester gives SAP hybris Commerce the highest mark. It alone is able to fully handle the real omnichannel experience.
As SAP Forum participants admitted, what really counts in the digital economy are specific concrete and solutions. hybris Commerce is a concrete solution, based on defined plans, which allows businesses to focus on their customers.