Creating A Live Business Experience For Customers

Jerry Rosa

Live Business is about how companies of all sizes embrace digital technology to transform customer service and simplify business operations. While many companies are taking baby steps in the digital transformation direction out of competitive necessity, simply having some elements of technology doesn’t necessarily make them a Live Business.

Sure, dentist and doctor offices and schools are getting in on the action. They are becoming savvier, texting appointment reminders to our mobile devices. And, while we have the option of receiving soft copies of receipts from some of the places where we shop, all of these baby digital steps are still early-stage functions of customer service and not the guts of a Live Business.

Want a side of Live Business with that?

I was recently eating breakfast with my son in a small diner in a strip mall in a busy section of Vaughn, Ontario. The servers used iPad Minis to take orders, which were spit out via a small printer in the kitchen. I noticed that after a plate was served, the printed order was then stashed into a small metal container on a counter with similar printouts of orders that had been served. When I was done eating my two eggs over easy, I asked the owner about the backend, and he told me it was limited in terms of any connectivity to suppliers and inventory.

While the diner simply had used technology – a glorified wireless ordering system that streamlined how orders got from point A to point B in a standardized format – it had nothing to capture customers’ contact info or their experience. Does a diner need to be a full-on, insight-capable Live Business? Probably not, but some neat basics, such as the ability to send a soft copy of a receipt or the capability for customers to pre-order via an app, that could help differentiate it from competitors were not available. Although my omelet was great, the technology that they used was not set up to capture, touch, or sculpt the customer’s experience.

Live Business potential

Do small and midsized companies have the potential to be a Live Business? Absolutely. Every business has the potential to be a Live Business, and the range of its “aliveliness” will be measured by its ability to immediately and uniquely track, capture, predict, respond, adjust, and socialize depending on how well management uses its data insights to simplify processes and deliver better business outcomes.

When you think of the Live Business, yes, you do have to think about the digital customer experience, as we are seeing a huge growth in e-commerce. For instance, last year, online retailer Alibaba Group managed a peak of $1 billion in transactions in just eight minutes, $14 billion of online transactions in just one day. That’s a lot of customer experiences in 24 hours.

Core to a Live Business is the overall customer experience and how customers are leveraging technology. Customers are looking for technology and the expertise of partners in helping them improve their customer experience. Partners play a critical role in helping customers reap the benefits of a Live Business. With their expertise, they help customers build a consistent digital framework with in-memory computing platforms at its core – combining a platform with applications, a business network, the workforce, suppliers, and every device that can effectively be connected to the network.

Ernst and Young, Vision33, and itelligence AG, winners of the SAP Pinnacle Award, use innovative technologies to provide customers with game-changing competitive advantages. Throughout a customer’s digital transformation journey, they seek ways to provide decision makers with a “live” view of all business processes, as well as on the current economic situation at any time.

For instance, KIC, a design, engineering, and distributor of commercial vehicle wheel-end products, turned to Vision33, an SAP partner, to help it overcome the challenge of managing longer supply chain logistics, lead times, and the manual gathering and updating of data from vendors located all over the world. Those challenges led to delays in production due to information exchange delays between KIC and its vendors.

Live Business is real

Vision33 created a win-win scenario for KIC and its vendors by providing faster data analysis and even greater visibility to improve its vendors’ experience. KIC gets real-time updates online so that when its employees start their day in the morning, they have all the overnight updates that their vendors have provided, right at their fingertips.

For another SAP partner, Ernst and Young, its clients are not only measuring their customers’ ever-changing day-to-day life in real-time, using real-time data, to create more in-depth customer profiles. These profiles are driving deeper segmentation, which in turn builds customer loyalty and encourages future purchases.

Ernst and Young is finding that this enables its customers to execute their omnichannel strategy. Simply, the out-of-the box integration across solutions allows them to be agile and focus their time, effort, and investments on selling and innovating rather than building integrations between best of breed solutions.

Similarly, SAP partner itelligence helps its customers optimize communication of data and brand at every touch point (Web, mobile app, catalog, call center, etc.) in real-time. This give its customers an optimized buying experience, leading to increased customer loyalty and return sales. In short, itelligence meets customers’ increasing expectations about usability, flexibility, and a seamless shopping experience.

According to itelligence, as companies of all sizes compete to stand out, they will have to lean on a solution provider partner to help them to digitally transform to become a Live Business in order to face the tremendous challenge of delivering positive customer experiences at every touch point of each customer’s journey.

Got a partner ready for the challenge?

For a deeper dive into this topic, see Live Business: Live Customer Experiences for the Digital Economy.

Jerry Rosa

About Jerry Rosa

Jerry Rosa is a senior marketing and communications professional at SAP and is focused on topics related to SAP’s partner ecosystem and the SAP PartnerEdge partner program. Before joining SAP, he was a news and business technology journalist.