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SAP cracks open customer habits

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SAP has announced new integrated digital enterprise technologies that are intended to transform the relationships companies have with their customers.

SAP plans to unleash a powerful portfolio of SAP hybris tools that are envisioned to enable in-the-moment customer profiling, digital commerce and community development, empowering an organization’s front office to stay connected with the frequently shifting needs of its customers and prospects and enabling companies to go beyond customer relationship management (CRM) into a new era of digital connectedness, customer service and support.

“Companies can no longer rely on the costly, siloed systems of yesterday to engage with their customers, who are savvy, multidevice digital natives. They want their needs understood and met — right now and every time,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP SE. “Legacy cloud-based CRM technologies create business complexity because their foundations predate the rise of social media and mobility. Companies today need innovative, integrated solutions that simplify the front office, making them easy to do business with and fostering greater customer engagement.”

In today’s digital world, businesses need to connect the front office and back office in real time — linking people, inventory, supply chain, pricing and customers together. This means that the new front office must go beyond the traditional marketing, sales and service automation functions and include integrated, real-time personalization, Web and mobile commerce, social customer service and more. Planned tools from SAP are envisioned to simplify the front office, helping businesses get a single, contextual view of their customers while giving each customer a consistent, personalized experience across all channels.

SAP hybris Profile Aimed to Derive Insights into Customer Habits

The planned SAP hybris Profile solution is intended to serve as the customer-centric foundation of the system, capturing all interactions, contexts and behaviors to create a continually evolving and dynamic profile of the customer. With these insights, the system is envisioned to surface actions for real-time, one-to-one engagement with every customer across all touchpoints. Specifically, SAP hybris Profile is planned to:

  • Create a real-time dynamic profile of customers
  • Capture customer interactions, contexts and behaviors
  • Enable businesses to deliver a new wave of customer experience capabilities
  • Continuously enrich the profile
  • Feature specialized design for maximum flexibility and massive scale

“The Yankees use the most modern technology available to engage with our fans, wherever and however we can,” said Mike Lane, vice president and CIO, Technology & Broadcasting, for the Yankees. “Solutions like the ones SAP envisions can help sports organizations deliver consistent and contextual experiences across every channel and touchpoint, which is exactly what our fans have come to expect from us.”

SAP hybris Customer Experience for Cross-Touchpoint Experiences

SAP hybris Customer Experience software is envisioned to be the omnichannel delivery capability of the future, offering the visual contextualization of the customer’s experience. The solution is planned to offer:

·       A next-generation, responsive omnichannel content management system

·       Management and delivery of dynamic, targeted, consistent content, offers, products and service interactions

·       A focus on cross-touchpoint real-time optimization and context

·       A tool set for customers and partners to develop experiences for a variety of uses

·       Integration with other SAP hybris products for simplified deployment and management of integrated experiences

“We are now in an era where customer engagement is a top-of-mind initiative for businesses across the spectrum,” said Paul Greenberg, president of The 56 Group and author of CRM at the Speed of Light. “Reimagining CRM, finding ways to interact in a more personalized way with customers and being able to understand how a customer is thinking and acting so that intelligent actions can be taken is the way of this new world. SAP’s focus on this is smart — very smart in fact — and makes the choices that customers have when it comes to technology that much richer.”

SAP hybris as a Service on SAP HANA Cloud Platform Envisioned as Platform for Innovation

Intended to become the modular business microservices layer for the planned SAP hybris front office on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP hybris as a Service is envisioned to help customers to stay ahead of the curve by providing community, autonomy and simplicity. Planned features include:

·       Innovation in the cloud and integration with SAP hybris applications

·       An ecosystem of solution providers accelerating innovation with low cost and low barriers to implementation

·       Microservices to administrate functionalities

·       A cloud delivery model for frictionless and cost-efficient consumption of functionality

“SAP hybris as a Service is envisioned to offer a wide range of diverse business services, further simplifying the front office and driving a stronger community for customer engagement,” said Scott Mager, customer engagement and commerce practice leader, Deloitte Digital. “SAP hybris as a Service is intended to offer easily digestible packages for fast integration, and to help us take the companies we work with beyond CRM.”

Broad Ecosystem Support 

Recognizing the opportunity, many leading SAP partners are at the forefront to help turn the SAP vision into a reality. Thousands of professionals from global consultancies and agencies such as Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte Digital, IBM and Publicis.Sapient are being trained and certified on SAP solutions for customer engagement and commerce. SAP is also collaborating closely with a strong set of software partners, including DocuSign, GENBAND, OpenText and Sprinklr, with the aim of integrating key technologies with its newest solutions to unlock even more value for its customers in the areas of electronic signatures, real-time communications and the management of digital assets and social campaigns.

“We started Nestlé’s journey into personalized consumer and customer experiences, and we are orchestrating this complex digital ecosystem on the foundation of SAP solutions for customer engagement,” said Filippo Catalano, chief digital operations officer, Nestlé. “This enables us to engage our brand prospects throughout their own unique journey, from insights to advocacy, building our great brands further via real-time, tailored interactions, on a suite of scalable solutions that better serve our digital ambitions.”

SAP HANA Cloud Platform is an open platform as a service providing unique in-memory database and business application services that enable customers to easily extend SAP applications and integrate with other cloud applications. To support the growing demand for innovative business process differentiators beyond CRM, SAP now offers the SAP Cloud for Customer solution bundled with SAP HANA Cloud Platform to enable companies to rapidly implement projects for fast ROI.

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Samsung unleashes the beast

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Most new smartphone releases of the past few years have been like cat-and-mouse games with consumers and each other. It has been as if morsels of cheese are thrown into the box to make it more interesting: a little extra camera here, a little more battery there, and incremental changes to size, speed (more) and weight (less). Each change moves the needle of innovation ever-so-slightly. Until we find ourselves, a few years later, with a handset that is revolutionary compared to six years ago, but an anti-climax relative to six months before.

And then came Samsung. Probably stung by the “incremental improvement” phrase that has become almost a cliché about new Galaxy devices, the Korean giant chose to unleash a beast last week.

The new Galaxy Note 9 is not only the biggest smartphone Samsung has ever released, but one of the biggest flagship handsets that can still be called a phone. With a 6.4” display, it suddenly competes with mini-tablets and gaming consoles, among other devices that had previously faced little contest from handsets.

It offers almost ever cutting edge introduced to the Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones earlier this year, including the market-leading f1.5 aperture lens, and an f2.4. telephoto lens, each weighing in at 12 Megapixels. The front lens is equally impressive, with an f1.7 aperture – first introduced on the Note 8 as the widest yet on a selfie camera.

So far, so S9. However, the Note range has always been set apart by its S Pen stylus, and each edition has added new features. Born as a mere pen that writes on screens, it evolved through the likes of pressure sensitivity, allowing for artistic expression, and cut-and-paste text with translation-on-the-fly.

(Click here or below to read more about the Samsung Galaxy S Pen stylus) Samsung Galaxy S9 Features)

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SA ride permit system ‘broken’

Despite the amendments to the National Land Transport Act, ALON LITS, General Manager, Uber in Sub Saharan Africa, believes that many premature given that the necessary, well-functioning systems and processes are not yet in place to make these regulatory changes viable.

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The spirit and intention of the amendments to the National Land Transport Act No 5  (NLTA), 2009 put forward by the Ministry of Transport are to be commended. It is especially pleasing that these amendments include ridesharing and e-hailing operators and drivers as legitimate participants in the country’s public transport system, which point to government’s willingness to embrace the changes and innovation taking place in the country’s transport industry.

However, there are aspects of the proposed amendments that are, at best, premature given that the necessary, well-functioning systems and processes are not yet in place to make these regulatory changes viable.

Of particular concern are the significant financial penalties that will need to be paid by ridesharing and e-hailing companies whose independent operators are found to be transporting passengers without a legal permit issued by the relevant local authority. These fines can be as high as R100 000 per driver operating without a permit. Apart from being an excessive penalty it is grossly unfair given that a large number of local authorities don’t yet have functioning permit issuing systems and processes in place.

The truth is that the operating permit issuance system in South Africa is effectively broken. The application and issuance processes for operating licenses are fundamentally flawed and subject to extensive delays, sometimes over a year in length.  This situation is exacerbated by the fact that it is very difficult for applicants whose permit applications haven’t yet been approved to get reasons for the extensive delays on the issuing of those permits.

Uber has had extensive first-hand experience with the frustratingly slow process of applying for these permits, with drivers often having to wait months and, in some cases more than a year, for their permits.

Sadly, there appears to be no sense of urgency amongst local authorities to prioritise fixing the flawed permit issuing systems and processes or address the large, and growing, backlogs of permit applications. As such, in order for the proposed stringent permit enforcement rules to be effective and fair to all role players, the long-standing issues around permit issuance first need to be addressed. At the very least, before the proposed legislation amendments are implemented, the National Transport Ministry needs to address the following issues:

  1. Efficient processes and systems must be put in place in all local authorities to allow drivers to easily apply for the operating permits they require
  2. Service level agreements need to be put in place with local authorities whereby they are required to assess applications and issue permits within the prescribed 60-day period.
  3. Local authorities need to be given deadlines by which their current permit application backlogs must be addressed to allow for faster processing of new applications once the amendments are promulgated.

If the Transport Ministry implements the proposed legislation amendments before ensuring that these permit issuance challenges are addressed, many drivers will be faced with the difficult choice of either having to operate illegally whilst awaiting their approved permits and risking significant fines and/or arrest, or stopping operations until they receive their permits, thereby losing what is, for many of them, their only source of income.

As such, if the Ministry of Transport is not able to address these particular challenges, it is only reasonable to ask it to reconsider this amendment and delay its implementation until the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure it does not impact negatively on the country’s transport industry. The legislators must have been aware of the challenges of passing such a significant law, as the Amendment Bill allows for the Minister to use his discretion to delay implementation of provisions for up to 5 years.

Fair trade and healthy competition are the cornerstones of any effective and growing economy. However, these clauses (Section 66 (7) and Section 66A) of the NLTA amendment, as well as the proposal that regulators be given authority to define the geographic locations or zones in which vehicles may operate, are contrary to the spirit of both. As a good corporate citizen, Uber is committed to supplementing and enhancing South Africa’s national transport system and contributing positively to the industry. If passed into law without the revisions suggested above, these new amendments will limit our business and many others from playing the supportive roles we all can, and should, in growing the SA transport and tourism industries as well as many other key economic sectors.

What’s more, if passed as they currently stand, the amendments will effectively limit South African consumers from having full access to the range of convenient transport options they deserve; which has the potential to harm the reputation and credibility of the entire transport industry.

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