SAP is making a push to unite the back office and the front office with three new SAP Hybris products for customer relationship management (CRM). The software brings outmoded CRM technologies into the new world of digital connectedness, according to the company.
"Our view is that CRM, in the traditional sense, will no longer support the requirements of today's enterprise," said Brian Walker, SAP's chief strategy officer. "Today, they have to be omnichannel; they have to be able to serve customers across any number of different channels, incorporating the Web and mobile through what would be traditionally called CRM tools. But today, those can no longer be isolated."
- SAP Hybris Profile enables aggregation of customer signals and data from across marketing and direct customer engagement, as well as CRM that enables a single view of the customer, and delivery of contextual and optimized customer experiences. For example, Hybris Profile will allow users to create real-time customer profiles, and capture customer interactions and behaviors, which can then be used to deliver better customer experiences, the vendor claimed. Hybris Profile is currently in a beta phase and general availability is planned for December.
- SAP Hybris Customer Experience (CX) is a content management application designed to deliver dynamic, personalized and contextualized content. Hybris CX is an extension of the existing Hybris Commerce Suite and is now a standalone application. New modules for optimization and personalization, as well as an enhanced user interface are expected in early 2016.
- SAP Hybris as a Service (YaaS) is a microservices architectural layer for the SAP Hybris front office on the HANA Cloud Platform. It is meant to extend Hybris capabilities and enable customers, partners and third-party developers to build innovations around the core applications. YaaS is currently in an open beta phase and will be generally available in October.
Overall, the simplified, front-office initiative will help businesses remain competitive in today's digital environment, Walker said. "Traditional CRM solutions like SFA [salesforce automation] are still important. They're just not the only way you can solve this anymore," he said. "Now, you need an integrated set of solutions."
Forrester report shows strong growth for IoT
There has been a lot of talk about the Internet of Things (IoT), but questions remain about its viability in real-world applications. A new study from Forrester Research Inc. concludes that IoT is an inevitable part of the enterprise, but IoT projects will need strong management to reach their full potential.
The study, conducted in May 2015, was commissioned by SAP and Intel. Forrester contacted 366 IT and business leaders in enterprises across the globe for their views and experiences in implementing IoT applications. The findings show that enterprises view IoT as a way to improve operational efficiency, but many are not there yet. However, most recognize IoT's potential to enhance customer experiences, according to the report.
"Some of the stuff is not that surprising, and it's a great confirmation of some of the benefits around operational efficiencies and everybody seeing IoT as a great enabler of that," said Byron Banks, SAP's vice president of product marketing. "One thing it shows is the fact that we're shifting out of the early IoT days and into what I would call scaled deployments. If you look at the surveys, I think 49% of the people have IoT projects either underway or will have significant projects underway within the next two years."
Of the companies that have implemented IoT applications or plan to, the vast majority (83%) said they are doing so to improve the customer experience, which suggests they recognize the need to deliver high-quality service to satisfy customer demand. Companies are also realizing that big data and analytics are crucial to IT plans, as 71% said improved use of data and analytics was the top priority for their IT organizations.
However, the report also indicates that IoT initiatives face significant challenges if they are to be fully successful. Strong executive leadership is known to be a key to success, yet the report shows that two-thirds (75%) of IoT projects are split between three or more executive sponsors. Because IoT projects touch so many enterprise organizations and are complex to implement, strong executive leadership is critical to controlling the projects.
Although connecting business processes to things can provide insights that companies have never had before, there are considerable risks that must be managed, according to the report. Among the survey respondents, 35% said security was the top challenge enterprises face, while privacy concerns were also significant, at 28%. Walker explained that while such concerns shouldn't be dismissed, they are not stopping IoT projects.
Two-thirds of the people surveyed feel we have the right policies in place [and] that it's not impeding progress," he said. "We can do the right thing, so that everyone feels that putting sensors on devices and sending more data through the cloud is not going to be a problem, because we've actually been doing it for a long time."
Learn about SAP's acquisition of Hybris
Read why the IoT trend won't revolutionize IT