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Why learn SAP CX?

In our last article on SAP Customer Experience, IgniteSAP explored the evolution of SAP CX solutions with reference to their role for businesses in mitigating the impact of various macroeconomic events like the Coronavirus pandemic, and the war in Ukraine.

That discussion covered the development from the acquisition of Hybris in 2013 up to the acquisition of Emarsys and introduction of the SAP Customer Data Platform in October 2020.

We outlined the current SAP CX package of five interdependent cloud-based CX solutions, each of which targets a specific need for managing interactions between the modern digital enterprise and their customers. They are SAP Customer Data Cloud, SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP Commerce Cloud, SAP Sales Cloud, and SAP Service Cloud. As a group they cover management of all customer data and customer interactions.

IgniteSAP will be covering the reasons why IT consultants should be considering augmenting their SAP skills with SAP Global Certification in SAP CX solutions.

Within the ERP space, CRM, then Customer Experience as a discipline has been described by some commentators as somewhat over-hyped in the course of the last five years, in a reasonable reaction to those who would have us believe that it is the Holy Grail of marketing.

This note of caution should not be allowed to go too far so that we dismiss CX as unimportant in comparison with other crucial elements of a digital business, like supply chain networks.

CX at Sapphire 2022

Representatives of the CX world have suggested that Customer Experience was not sufficiently covered during SAP’s Sapphire Virtual Event for 2022, though there were virtual sessions dedicated to CX: bringing the audience up to date with SAP CX developments and plans, and sharing customer success stories. There are also plenty of discussions of CX planned for the various SAP Sapphire Live events across nine cities this summer.

It is true to say that the new functionalities of SAP Service Cloud were announced but did not receive sufficient attention. These enhancements include a renewed service agent console providing greater visibility of CX data for the agent and integration with Qualtrics XM discover and Microsoft Teams, and also improved automation of service with embedded AI and conversational analytics. The purpose of these changes was to allow companies running SAP Service Cloud to improve the time taken to resolve each customer issue: leading to much improved customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

The main themes of Sapphire this year were unsurprisingly Supply Chains, Sustainability, Managing Disruption and Cloud Tech, but CX was present in the programming of the event, just not top of the bill. In any case SAP themselves would argue that in order to address any of the aspects of managing business operations with a degree of confidence, enterprises must attend to all other areas. Putting the customer at the centre of business operations, which is the fundamental assumption of CX, is in reality neither more or less important than any other feature of business management. It is natural that each specialist will argue for the primacy of their discipline.

CX in Context

However, skills in implementing and administering SAP CX are becoming more important and therefore more valuable to business owners, along with other more obvious categories of SAP solutions: particularly in light of the rapidly changing economic background to business activity.

Each area of SAP now needs to be improved as a means to efficiency of overall business operations. As we discussed in our previous article, in the CX area this means moving from a marketing model of the past: where it was considered enough to funnel increasing numbers of people through to a point where they click and buy one product, once, to a continuing and mutually beneficial relationship between business and customer.

Adrian Nash, SAP’s Head of CX Strategy, when describing the underlying principals of CX, has pointed out that it is not efficient use of resources to invest massively in marketing to bring about one sale per customer. The same level of investment, when used to nurture a customer relationship over time, through the customer’s preferred channels of engagement (using their data with their consent), with offers that are tailored to the customer’s needs, will create ongoing opportunities for purchases. The data which is generated from each customer interaction in this ongoing process can be used to focus the customer profile more closely on their needs, and also contribute to data which is useful for other areas of the business like procurement or supply chain management.

SAP CX Strategy

In a podcast interview given in October 2021with the UK and Ireland SAP User Group, Nash described in some detail how SAP is building on these basic principals of Customer Experience: giving some indications of the extent to which SAP is planning to invest in expanding their Customer Experience portfolio.

He described how SAP is using the Customer Data Platform to go beyond gathering identity data and consent for use of that limited data, integrating with other SAP CX solutions and even further out to other SAP areas to build the context around that customer for more meaningful interactions.

“As we think about interacting, engaging on the customer’s terms with that big understanding of the customer that comes from the customer data platform, really helping you deliver on that brand promise by making the whole process transparent, it’s not about just connecting the front office: the back office is letting the customer know if something’s happening in the in the supply chain, it’s letting them know for subscriptions about to happen. It’s about the insight to what’s happening, built on top of the Business Technology Platform.”

In effect Nash is describing here how the customer relationship is now considered as part of the extended business network. In the same interview he gives a few hints about what to expect from each area of SAP CX as it evolves further. Customer identity solutions are focussing on simplifying and improving the experience of new customers with protected but password-less registration, using ML and AI capabilities to block fraudulent interactions. He alluded to the acquisition of Emarsys as part of SAP’s future marketing strategy: one which is hyper-personalised and omni-channel, and helps bring the sales interactions closer to the marketing and vice versa.

SAP Sales Cloud

Nash said that one of the largest areas of SAP investment in CX was in Sales Cloud, not just for individual customers but for the mid-market as well:

“We’re improving the platform cloud-native technology, based on hyper-scalers. But we’re also improving the user experience of the Sales Cloud so that we provide a better experience to your sales organisations through things like guided selling with native AI and ML components, nurturing, best practice sales, execution across the customer’s journey… it’s really about sales effectiveness, embedding intelligence, promoting best practices, and how we can do things like intelligent forecasting through calculated attributes on the deals, for example: How we can make the sales process most efficient? How we can drive real-time product recommendations as part of that sales process? But also how we can improve velocity, communication and collaboration with Microsoft Teams integrations for things like calls and collaboration?”

SAP Service Cloud

So the future for SAP CX is one of collaboration, not just with partners and suppliers but also in providing the means with which companies can develop relationships with their customers which are bi-directional. In a presentation that was given as part of Sapphire in Orlando this year Andrea Tawfik, Head of Intelligent Enterprise & Integration for SAP described this new more empathic dynamic as it relates to the partnership between SAP Service Cloud and Qualtrics XM Discover:

“This will help you go beyond natural language processing to natural language understanding. And that’s the ultimate way to bring more empathy to customer service. In addition to sentiment and tone. Intent is critical to really helping your agents get to the root cause of the customer’s complaint. Understanding data from multiple sources and making those predictions for tension, risk, or on the flip side, any up-sell opportunities to that agent, and then taking it further, automating those next steps or the workflows.”

Understanding the Customer

At its most basic, customer experience solutions are designed to ensure customers have good experiences of a company whether they are marketing or sales interactions, or a mix of both. SAP is looking to not only put the customer at the centre and create a profile for quick reference in sales, but understand the customer, to the extent that they could even predict their needs: and they are taking concrete steps and investing substantial amounts in order to ensure they can achieve this.

Global events are putting pressure on companies to adjust their business operations to be more resilient and adaptable, and this pressure is unlikely to subside in the near future. Consequently the appetite among businesses for solutions such as the SAP CX portfolio, and those professional IT consultants who are qualified to implement them, is increasing.

Businesses require customers, but more than that they require regular customers, preferably customers who are so delighted with the product or service that they act as unofficial brand ambassadors, promoting the product to their friends and relatives because they know that it is going to help them. This does happen, and is more likely to happen if a company understands the wants and needs of its customers, ensuring that every interaction is a positive experience. The IT consultants who can help deliver this capability will be in high demand.

SAP CX Training

SAP provides Global Certification in their Customer Experience Solutions. The best guide to walk you through the process of gaining qualifications for SAP CX is the “SAP Customer Experience Solutions – Integration and Extensibility” learning journey on the SAP Help Portal. There are also CX learning journeys that deal with “Lead to Cash” and “SAP CX with Qualtrics Integration Scenarios for XM”.

The “SAP Customer Experience Solutions – Integration and Extensibility” learning journey has variations for the roles of Administrator, Developer, and Architect, the last of which culminates in a SAP Certified Application Associate qualification. The status as a Solution Architect for CX means you will be eligible for contracts and employment as an Application Consultant in this area of SAP. The salaries and contract renumeration for this area of SAP compares favourably with other specialties, which in itself is ample encouragement to expand your skills in SAP CX.

Are you already qualified in the SAP Customer Experience portfolio? If you would like to explore the options that are available to you as a SAP CX Consultant or as any other form of SAP professional please get in touch with IgniteSAP.