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Qiagen uses SAP Hybris to fuel digital business transformation

A couple years ago, Qiagen, a large German pharmaceutical and diagnostics company, realized that it needed to undergo a digital business transformation if it wanted to stay competitive. As part of the transformation, Qiagen developed an e-commerce application based on the SAP Hybris platform in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services, one of the largest SAP technology implementation specialists.

In this video, Florian Wegener, Qiagen vice president and global head of e-commerce, and Akhilesh Tiwari, TCS global head of SAP practice, discuss why the digital business transformation was necessary for the company and how the partnership worked. The video was recorded at 2016 Sapphire Now.

Qiagen's customers were one of the main drivers of the digital business transformation, Wegener explains, because they wanted to have products and related content available anytime, anywhere. The company recognized that this could be a growth opportunity so it embarked on an ambitious program that it dubbed "Qiagen Goes Digital." The first project was the global Web Shop that uses SAP Hybris' contextual marketing capabilities to help Qiagen know more about its customers and deliver services much more quickly than it could previously.

"We implemented [the Web Shop] in an Agile way to serve our customers' needs better, so now we are able to change the Web Shop in short intervals to offer specific business solutions to the customer, which we do in two weeks rather than several months -- which is still common in our industry," Wegener says. "Second, we are very close to the customer via this digital way, we learn and gain a lot of insights from the customer about their wishes and their needs."

Although Qiagen is a longtime SAP customer, it had no previous experience with the SAP Hybris platform, so a good working partnership with TCS was essential to the project's success. The key was integrating business teams with IT right from the start and using an Agile sprint methodology for rapid development and incremental delivery that kept the project on track.

"What was unique about this program was the way they were able to get the business teams integrated with the overall implementation team and implement that through Agile methodology," he explains. "The number one lesson is to have the business involvement -- it was complete buy-in from the end users from day one onwards -- and have the incremental progress shown to all parties involved, so everyone gets the confidence that things are moving forward and which direction things are moving."

The most important thing for Qiagen, Wegener says, is that the digital business transformation is not just about cost savings, it's also about growth and opening new opportunities. 

"It absolutely opened up new areas of business, and we have new digital sales channels now open to the customer," he says. "One example would be that we, as a B2B biotech company, are now able to sell and offer products via Facebook and convert customers from Facebook to the new SAP Hybris Web Shop and to sell more."

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