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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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AppDate: Prepare for space

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Space Nation Navigator, Hitman Sniper, Snake Mask, Memrise, WhatsApp Web, and Carrot Weather.

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Space Nation Navigator

Space Nation Navigator is a bit of a strange app. It is part game, part exercise and part educational. On the game side, users have to navigate the Mars Rover, put the International Space Station back into orbit or move their Martians to safety before a sand storm hits Mars. When it comes to exercise, Space Nation Navigator provides users with a range of exercises and Yoga videos to prepare them for space travel and working in an anti-gravity environment. The education aspect teaches users about the planets, and star constellations, and then offers quizzes on what has been taught.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Memrise

Memrise takes a new approach to help people learn new languages. Instead of providing a user with random phrases and words to memorise, the app connects you with a person already fluent in the language you want to learn. In turn, the person you are speaking to wants to learn the language in which you are fluent. Once your profile is filled out and languages selected, it connects you with people around the world who are interested in your language, and then allows you to chat with them in real-time. Memrise also lets one learn new languages through games, chatbots and grammarbots that help with spelling, tenses and pronunciations.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Hitman Sniper

Hitman Sniper is loosely based on the Agent 47 movie released a few years ago. The game offers players the ability to hone their shooting skills through a range of training courses and, once they think they are ready, they can start taking out the bad guys. Things start off easy enough, but they get more and more difficult as one progresses through the 150 missions on offer. One will also have to upgrade various gun components, like scopes, magazine capacities and silencers, to make the missions a little easier. Hitman Sniper lets users buy 16 to tackle each of the missions – either with real money or via the points accumulated by completing missions. Money and points can also be used to upgrade firearms.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: R7 – with a range of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Snake Mask

The iconic Snake game that was preinstalled on most older Nokia phones has had a complete make-over. It now uses Facebook’s AR technology, meaning that you have to navigate the snake around obstacles in your home or office, all the while collecting coins and stars that change the snake’s speed and length. Unfortunately, Snake Mask is only available on Nokia’s new range of smartphones. However, it should not take long before it slithers onto other devices.

 

Platform: New Nokia smartphones running Android.

Cost: Free to use through the Facebook app installed on the device.

Stockists: Available through the Facebook app.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is by no means a new app, it is an extremely useful one, and one that not many people know about. Tapping out WhatsApps on your phone is easy enough, but thanks to WhatsApp Web it can be even easier. Open the WhatApp Web page under WhatsApp and you will see a QR code. Scan this code through WhatsApp on your mobile and you will be shown a replica of what you would normally see on your phone. You can then type and reply to messages using your computer instead of having to stop everything and unlock your phone every time a message comes through. WhatsApp Web is great if you share your computer with other people as it automatically disconnects when the browser is closed. However WhatsApp also offers an app that when installed will stay connected to your phone unless you manually remove it.

 

Platform: Any up-to-date Internet browser

Cost: Free to use and install

Stockists: Visit www.WhatsApp.com

 

Carrot Weather

There are thousands of weather apps on the Internet these days and all of them do the same thing – inform you of the weather in your area. However, Carrot Weather has taken what is just another app and turned it into something fun. By fun, I mean sarcastic, rude and completely politically incorrect. A user starts off by selecting religious and political views. It then asks about personality, ranging from friendly to homicidal to overkill – which includes profanity. So, for instance, instead of waking up to to the standard partly cloudy forecast, Carrot Weather will display something like: “It’s only partly sunny, the sun is a total effing failure.” It also has a range of insults that it throws at you whenever you open the app – some of them downright insulting, so it is definitely not for those who are easily offended. The app’s user interface is very simple, displaying a week’s daily forecast and hourly forecasts for the day selected.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: Free to download but with adverts. The premium, advert free version costs R12 per month.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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SA Start-up reinvents PABX

For any South African business, the idea of setting up or changing a telephonic switchboard system is the stuff of nightmares. Dealing with expensive hardware and hearing things like QSIG and VOIP is not what you’d call exciting.But now there is an app.

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Enter BuzzBox (www.buzzboxcloud.co.za), a web-based telephone switchboard that is aimed at small and medium sized businesses wanting to take the hassle and cost out of the company switchboard. Whether you are a small one-man operation or a larger organisation with staff working remotely, BuzzBox is the best switchboard solution.

What sets BuzzBox apart from anything else on the market is its easy-to-use dashboard. It puts you in control of everything from picking your phone number to setting up voice prompts and managing your business-hours schedule.

BuzzBox was developed when the startup behind it, Jini-Guru, needed such a service for its own use across multiple continents. “When we started Jini-Guru we could not find a seamless online process that would allow us to set up a full web-based switchboard, so we decided to build one for ourselves,” says Mike Smits, Director at Jini-Guru.

He says a lot of startups today are tech savvy and know how to use apps and the services that go with it. “It’s the uberisation of services and its driving demand for instant service activation.”

BuzzBox works as an app on both iOS and Android but users wanting a desk phone option can choose from a variety of devices on offer or use their existing VOIP phones.

Setting up a BuzzBox account takes 5 minutes. During registration your FICA documents are uploaded [ID and proof or residence] and you get to pick your phone number before the account is created. Companies that want to keep an existing number can do so too.

The real magic happens when you log on to the BuzzBox Dashboard. The main screen displays a summary of statistics for your account while the left-hand menu provides you quick access to various configuration settings and reports.

Setting up new extensions or external numbers is done with a few clicks and you can even set up various departments which is a great way to route a call to various people in a department, like sales or support.

The intuitive user interface also makes it easy to set up hold-music and voice prompts. You can add voice prompts by recording them straight to your phone, just make sure you use a clear voice with quiet surroundings for the best customer experience.

One of the main features of BuzzBox is its call recording feature that allows an organisation to record calls for legislative purposes, such as a lawyer, or for customer service purposes such as support. Recordings are stored securely online, and you have the ability to download recordings for playback. Companies can opt-in for this service and it’s free to use. Recordings are stored online and are fully encrypted so only you can listen to, or download them. Storage costs R1 for every 1000 minutes of stored recordings.

Other features include call forwarding and scheduling. The latter allows you to set office hours for your organisation which will divert calls to an after-hours messaging service. You also have the option to enable routing to an employee who is on call after hours.

BuzzBox also has a reseller program for companies wanting to offer this as a switchboard solution to their existing customers.

The costs for this service is R89 p/m for the first phone number which includes your first extension for free. Thereafter you’ll pay R89p/m per extension. Calls between extensions are free but you pay per second for all outgoing phone calls. More info on pricing can be found here: https://buzzboxcloud.co.za/pricing/

BuzzBox is offering a Launch promotion where they are offering the first line and extension free for 12 months. Only pay for calls. Use promo code “feoifyaa” during sign-up to apply your discount.

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