Just when we thought that the likes of Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, and Netflix had taken business technology platforms as far as they can go, legacy industry giants are proving otherwise. They are shaping a new era of experience for their customers, employees, and business partners.
Why are these leading incumbents moving quickly toward investing and innovating with business technology platforms? According to the MIT Technology Review Insights report “Digital Platforms Drive Business Success,” it’s all about delivering unique and differentiated interactions based on infused data intelligence and insights across front- and back-office processes.
The report states: “Delivering a strong customer experience is an essential element for all [businesses]. A digital platform lets businesses access data and the full array of technology tools they need to compete in an ever-changing and increasingly digital world.”
Experience management in action
In fact, many of our customers are already on the cusp of the experience economy. Let’s look at how the use of a platform, such as the SAP business technology platform of solutions, is fueling innovation for some of my favorite customer successes.
Bumble Bee: Telling the tale about the tuna in your sandwich or on your salad
When I started college, I studied food science, and much of what I learned in the first two years has shaped my dietary choices to this day. In fact, I became aware of the secrets hidden in the food supply chain long before my roommates did.
I remember a time when one of my roommates bought a package of fish from a supermarket. I unintentionally ruined her appetite by pointing out that the tuna had been caught two weeks before it made it to the seafood section. I wanted her to know about the risk of potential exposure to bacteria – and to question whether the fish was sustainably processed without the use of slave labor. And selfishly, I also didn’t want her to get sick eating old fish because we only had one bathroom.
Nowadays, through social media and online access to a tremendous amount of information, the quality and environmental impact of seafood choices are on the minds of most consumers. Luckily, Bumble Bee Foods has found a way to help every consumer choose seafood that is safe, fresh, and sustainably harvested – thanks to the support of a cloud platform.
The information trail begins as soon as the fish is caught, cleaned, dated, and certified as fair trade at sea. When the fish is brought to Bumble Bee’s buyer in a local village, the data about that catch is entered into the company’s blockchain platform and tracked throughout processing, packaging, and shipping.
For consumers, scanning the QR code on the packaging provides peace of mind. They immediately know the species of the fish, how and where it was caught, and its fair-trade designation. The Bumble Bee website also offers recipes, the bio of the angler, and information about food-quality compliance and the economic and social impact on fishing communities.
National Hockey League: Fanning the flames of fan excitement with data-driven coaching
The fast pace and unpredictable twists and turns of a hockey game are exhilarating. But in their hearts, fans love being on the side of a winning team, especially when it brings home the Stanley Cup. Having seen many San Jose Sharks games, I get to see how well technology is being used by the National Hockey League (NHL).
The NHL is giving every team access to the same analytics capabilities – with little to no effort – through an iPad-based app supported by a cloud platform. Coaching staff can access intuitive, real-time statistics at rink-side and in the locker room to track their players’ fatigue level, time on the ice, face-off success rates against specific opposing players, puck-passing performance, and the like.
How coaches make decisions and build strategies based on this information can provide an extra competitive edge. Real-time statistics deliver insights that empower the team and coaches to protect the players, anticipate opponents’ moves, and, ultimately, create highly competitive game-day strategies.
VINCI Energies: Accelerating global change as an infrastructure innovator
After 10 years of acquiring companies that provide construction, facilities management, and IT services, VINCI Energies recognized the need to improve tracking and management of its portfolio of complex projects, many of which could span years. Internal control of its 77,000 employees scattered across more than 1,800 business units in 53 countries proved challenging. Each subsidiary had its own ERP system as well as functional applications, business processes, analytics methodologies, and terminologies.
By integrating the company’s growing network of companies with a common platform, VINCI Energy succeeded in standardizing how every subsidiary reports spending, income, timesheets, and project cost and status to support proper management of the overall business. Meanwhile, the company is successfully maintaining a decentralized corporate culture, enabling subsidiaries to choose the projects and customers that are right for their business.
Additionally, embedded analytics enables managers to tap into real-time information to understand the state of the business – a far superior technique than using batch data. The company is also adopting intelligent technologies such as machine learning to automate, for example, reconciliation of bank statements with each customer invoice.
Stitching together experiences that matter to everyone
Transformation is never easy. However, as the stories of Bumble Bee Foods, the NHL, and VINCI Energies prove, the payoff of implementing a cloud platform with services designed for businesses is significant.
Let your competitors stay narrowly focused on optimizing costs and operational issues. Many SAP customers today are leveraging our business technology platform to go even further by delivering the experiences and outcomes to achieve corporate strategy and fostering a culture that supports it. More importantly, these strategic capabilities are accomplished with a data-driven understanding of your customers, employees, and business partners – with insights realized in real time.
For more information
- Watch the on-demand webinar: How Digital Platforms Deliver a Differentiating Customer Experience.