Its finally happened. SAP today announced its new onDemand software suite... code named "A1S" the solution will now be known as SAP Business ByDesign. I was lucky enough to be part of this craziness as one of the Total Customer Experience leads for the company. Our team's role was multifold and our success was a result of the collaboration with our colleagues in IT, marketing, telemanagment, our volume business initiative, our community and social media teams, and go-to-market teams. We were responsible for:
- Helping to conceive of new innovations in the area of customer feedback and validation
- Assisting in driving alignment and decisions on business process design and route to market strategy
- Performing experience design and helping to drive change into the way we engage with customers - in fact creating a model in which the customer is in the driver seat NOT SAP
- Helping to drive SAP's Social Media Strategy into new areas (check out Jeff's post as well)
- Changing the way we "speak" to customers - the very tone of how we say things to customers needed to change.... we needed to frankly be more conversational, plain spoken, impactful, positive yet honest about our short comings - and this is some of the change I, in particular, am, most proud about.
I am also very proud of the experience design work which Peter Ebert (one of the most prodigious inventors at SAP) and his team did in the areas of design. Peter and his small team, working extremely long hours, created a compelling customer experience that (1) delights customers, (2) puts them in control and (3) takes the best B2C thinking and integrates it into SAP's B2B model...
As you can see below, the design is clean, efficient and is focused on facilitating customer "moments of truth" in a buying cycle. If you think about your own experiences in buying, there comes a time when you make a decision in your own process and move closer to procuring that iphone or new car or home... but you work YOUR process. B2B customers are no different. Why? Because individuals buy, companies don't. Its an individual who "writes the check." And as much as we want to think of selling software as a logical process, its not. Yes there's due diligence and RFPs and business pain mapping but at the end of the day, its emotional... you WANT to buy, you need to buy, you have to buy... all emotive responses, not necessarily logical.
SAP Business byDesign has its own portal, its own "Business Center" that is protected currently and is only turned on for countries where we are rolling out first and for qualified prospects. But here's how the puppy looks. Notice how simple the design is. Notice the self-guided nature of the process. Three clicks to a best-run business - Explore, Evaluate & Experience - a phrase which for better or worse I coined. We initially had gone with a guided experience of See-Try-Buy but eventually opted for the E-cubed approach to ensure we included the after sales and service aspect of the experience. Other things to notice - immediate product immersion. All of our research tells us to enable the prospect to get in the products early and often. And the notion of a personalized trial that a prospect can make his own and take into production when he sees fit is another critical competitive differentiator. Community for the first time is front and center in an SAP Web Property as well. This is the first time that the company has embraced social media as a critical element of its GTM strategy. This will of course continue.
And of course its available in German as well and very shortly in UK English, French and Chinese. We are getting ready to begin another innovation cycle in advance of volume readiness as Henning discussed this morning. So be on the lookout for some radical changes coming to a hyperlink near you soon.