On customer engagement & commerce


(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 4 2015)

The SAP takeover of hybris caused an incomparable transformation in the E-Business area of both companies in the past two years. With the formation of the CEC group within SAP, a powerful holistically-thinking unity is to be created. 

Mr Rübsam, to what extent has hybris changed as a result of the takeover by SAP? Please give us a brief insight.  

Marcus Rübsam: hybris, an SAP company, is a business unit of SAP with its customer engagement and commerce solutions. In the new age of digital networking, we have made it our duty to shape our front office with technologies which go far beyond classical Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

What is hiding behind the new ‘Customer Engagement & Commerce’ (CEC for short) approach at hybris?  

M. R.: In today’s digital world, companies have to link the front office with the back office in real time and link people, inventories, delivery chains, prices and customers with one another. The new front office has to go beyond the conventional automation functions in marketing, sales and service, and include integrated personalisation in real time, internet and mobile commerce, customer service through social media and more. Companies therefore receive a uniform, contextual overview of their customers and this beyond all sales channels. In this way, they can guarantee their customers a seamless and personalised shopping experience.

Mr Barzauner, Netconomy is seen to be the leading specialist on the matter of hybris. Therefore, it is not surprising that you concentrate 100 percent on the markets Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Do you only focus on E-Commerce or also on other subjects which hybris now has in its portfolio?  

Martin Barzauner: Our partnership with hybris dates back to 2003: back then, we were one of the first ever hybris partners. The company has always displayed a great dynamic and speed with which we have been able to develop well. With the takeover by SAP, a new era has dawned, which opens up completely new possibilities. Innovation is an essential part of our company culture, it is as a result of this that we are at the forefront on many innovation topics. 

Basically, its not only about E-Commerce anymore in our projects, but about the digital enablement of entire business models - this is where the entire CEC portfolio is in the foreground. As a result of our concentration on hybris, we can position ourselves very well against competitors with a wide range under our belt. It has to be a matter of course that we have such a good command of the technology that we can speak to the customer seamlessly about his business and all connected uses for his customers. 

How do you view the positioning of your company in Germany?  

M. B.: If we look at it strategically, Germany is very important for us. At the current time, our visibility and prominence in Germany is still too low in comparison to both the other markets. We will work hard on this in the coming 12 to 24 months and sustainably expand the organisation in Germany. On the content level, we can refer to a great wealth of experience in innovative projects and references. For example, with SAP we were able to realise one of the first integrated hybris Marketing and hybris Commerce projects for Red Bull. 

Apart from this, I am very pleased that Hubert Peter, one of the most experienced and competent experts in the E-Commerce and hybris sphere has decided to start with us. In my view, we are well positioned and will raise our market presence and visibility considerably as well as expanding the organisation at the Munich and Düsseldorf locations as necessary.

Mr Rübsam, with regard to what focal points do you position the company Netconomy among your partners?  

M. R.: Netconomy is one of our most innovative partners when it comes to the realisation of front office solutions in the new age of digital networking. The company has very interesting products in retail, financial services and the consumer products market. The projects are showcases for how digital and personal channels can grow together.

Mr Peter, how do you view the topic of Consumer-Centric Commerce in the near future?   

Hubert Peter: Consumer-Centric Commerce is the next logical step in the digitisation of the commercial process, but also an age-old and successful concept which retailers were already using many thousands of years ago in the Orient. A good retailer loves his customers and listens to them. He inspires and surprises them with new or individualised products and services which offer the customer added value in his personal situation.

After the different omni-channel concepts have interwoven the various channels of communication, it’s then important to individualise the processes in order to focus better on each one. Retailers today are driven by the global trend of digitisation as well as by the expansion of global internet providers who make local markets controversial. Cost pressure leads to the standardisation of sales and consultation processes. People have individual requirements and find themselves in the most diverse of life situations. This doesn’t fit together. They can’t be digitised. Customers are looking for orientation and inspiration. Those who are not able to offer this have to sell on price. Those who manage to digitally listen to their customer and focus on him in his situation with tailor-made offers, content and services will manage the next evolutionary step in commerce.

The ideas regarding this are not new.  What’s new is that as a result of advancing technologies such as SAP HANA, SAP hybris Marketing, hybris Commerce and Cloud Solutions we have now got the tools in the hand to make digital platforms available for the retailer’s customers in order to serve and analyse each customer individually.  Netconomy is leading-edge here with its technological know-how gained through close collaboration with SAP in the area of hybris Commerce and SAP hybris Marketing. This is completed with a deep understanding of the commercial processes. Now it’s our duty to use the tools and focus on the individual needs of the customers. Long-term customer relations and increasing revenues will be the payment for this.

What do companies with an appropriate omni-channel approach do in your opinion, in order to be equipped for the future?   

H. P.: We have just spoken about Consumer-Centric Commerce. Omni-Channel Commerce is the exception here. It all starts in peoples’ minds. There is no longer the responsibility for the online revenue or for the revenue made via retail outlets. It’s all about responsibility for the customer with the bond which is to be created with the company.

In addition to process alterations, a universal Omni-Channel Commerce also leads to changes in the organisation and target system of a company.  In companies, this sort of project is also always a change project, which needs the personal support of the management. On an operative level, several pre-requisites are to be established for Omni-Channel Commerce such as the separation of channels and processes in order to be able to combine them flexibly with each other. Or the provision of information and processes in the channel which the customer sees as being the most suitable for him at the time. 

In order to reach a separation of the communication channels and the individual service elements such as logistics providers, suppliers, finance service providers, transport service providers, analytics, campaign management etc., a central order-management system is needed. It becomes a central data hub and manages cross-channel processes. A direct connection from the inventory management system or the complete outsourcing to a service provider, to an online shop leads to stiff processes and can quickly lead to an inability to act upon quickly changing market demands. Therefore, a replacement of an individual service provider is no longer possible. 

Hybris recognised this early on and backs a platform approach with a clear separation of channels and processes. The integrated order management system delivers the necessary flexibility without having to integrate a further external system.

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Netconomy is one of the leading suppliers in the areas of E-Commerce and digital transformation in the D-A-CH area and has supported prominent customers for 15 years in integrating their online channels seamlessly in existing structures.

NETCONOMY Software & Consulting GmbH

Picture credit © Netconomy

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