The past year has brought sweeping changes to just about every part of our lives. But one of the most significant ways COVID-19 has altered the fabric out everyday life is by shifting the way customers engage with businesses to purchase products and services. In recent years—even well before the pandemic—customer experience (CX) has become a major focus of many companies. The ways customers and the companies they buy goods from have been changing, thanks to the rise of e-commerce and experiential retail. Convenience and experiences have rapidly become the defining factors of success, and COVID-19 has only served to solidify this fact.

“We’ve all learned during this pandemic how important CX is,” said Paul Kurchina, ASUG evangelist.

ASUG recently hosted an ASUG Express event focused on the CX 101 and the future of the SAP Customer Experience portfolio. The webcast not only focused on the large-scale changes in CX, but also dove into what the next year looks like for the SAP Customer Experience solutions. Attendees heard from SAP Customer Experience leaders and customers about what the future looks like in terms of CX and the SAP plans to continue equipping its customers with solutions to engage with their customers. Here are some highlights from the event.

The Shifting CX Landscape

One of the main focuses of the event was just how COVID-19 and market shifts have altered the importance and function of CX. “Customer experience is top of mind for every company across every industry—now, more than ever,” said Paula Hansen, chief revenue officer at SAP Customer Experience.

Esteban Kolsky, chief evangelist of customer experience at SAP, gave a presentation about the CX market update and what themes and trends SAP is seeing at this current moment. He noted that many businesses are trying to figure out how to update and breathe new life in their CX strategy, as the world begins to get access to a COVID-19 vaccine, and normalcy seems to actually be on the horizon.

“We're at the point where we have an opportunity to redo our businesses,” Kolsky said. According to him, this is a time to “optimize processes” and “do things better.”

He highlighted two main trends in the CX space that, when you think about them, will not come as a shock at all. First, many companies are going digital. This is a trend that has been long-foreseen, as e-commerce gains more and more traction in the market, cutting into the bottom line of massive brick-and-mortar stores. COVID-19 only served to solidify this trend, as customers began using more and more online methods of purchasing products and using features such as curbside delivery. Kolsky said he’s seeing more companies not only improving their online commerce, but also upgrading the management of customers online. He added that companies are relying more heavily on customer data as a means to engage with customers and create curated experiences for them.

The SAP Customer Experience Road Map

Attendees also heard directly from SAP about its suite of CX products and the plans for these solutions over the coming months. Adrian Nash, chief strategy officer for SAP Customer Experience, gave a detailed presentation about this specific portfolio, what’s available to customers, and where SAP is planning on focusing staff and investments.

One of the main points driven home during this session was that the customer is at the center of the SAP CX strategy, and they should be at the center of every successful retail enterprise. Nash noted that the suite of SAP CX solutions is geared toward helping SAP customers meet their own customers’ requirements of freedom of choice, transparency and trust, and relevance.

He then went through the SAP Customer Experience portfolio, laying out how SAP helps its own customers tackle customer identity and consent, data, commerce, marketing, sales, and service. He also walked attendees through the SAP Customer Experience portfolio strategy, going over some new additions and updates. For example, he discussed SAP Commerce Cloud, how the solution is being improved to adapt to “new customer behavior” the software company has been seeing. Finally, Nash touched on the three main points about the SAP Customer Experience investment strategy. According to Nash, the team is focusing investments on making sure they follow a “commerce everywhere” strategy, are data-driven, and have CRM at the very core.

After a full year of restricted supply chains and massive shifts in the enterprise asset management space, ASUG is hosting a conference series, ASUG Best Practices: SAP for EAM April 12–14. Register for the complimentary, virtual conference to hear experts and thought leaders give presentations on predictive maintenance, Internet of Things (IoT) and integration, mobility, and data-driven insights.

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