Sapphire 2019 was the first of SAP’s flagship annual conference’s since their $8 billion acquisition of Qualtrics – the experience management platform, and naturally, it was given prominent billing. Qualtrics co-founders Ryan Smith and his brother Jared Smith presented key slots in Bill McDermott’s opening keynote and Hasso Platner’s keynote respectively. “Experience” appearing in the title of both.

Qualtrics provides a platform for understanding customer’s views and their experience of your products. Ryan stating that understanding, and then improving that customer experience is the way to find gaps and differentiate your product. Being able to capture and understand the customer experience data, or “X data” in SAP’s terminology, becomes vital to address gaps in a customer’s experience.

What is Experience Management and why is it so important for SAP?

One example of why this “X Data” is important is how products are bought. Before the days of mass production, one of the key elements in the customer’s experience was their trust in the person directly providing a product – your clothes came from a tailor whose reputation you personally knew.

Mass production cut that link, so brands relied and focused on reputation – you buy clothes from brands with a reputation for quality. Advertising supported brands and helped build reputations. The internet led to mass creation of content enabling people to see other customer’s opinions of products before committing to buying them.

Customer reviews on e-commerce sites, social media feeds and more allow you to see what a large number of other people experience when purchasing the same product – helping customers make a decision before they buy.

Customers are sharing their experience with your products, and your prospects are basing their choices on those experiences, underscoring the importance of understanding and improving that customer experience. Qualtrics provides the platform for that, be it surveys, reviews, sentiment or more.

How does this relate to the operational data traditionally managed by SAP ERP systems – “O Data” in SAP? The short answer is the operations of business impact their customer’s, partner’s and employee’s experience of it and vice-versa.

Understanding the links between “X and O Data” should help optimise both operations and experience. For a utility, does changing the operations of the field service workforce impact the customer’s experience of service visits, and does this lead to more customer churn? Does changing shift patterns change the employee experience leading to more staff turnover? In retail does changing the stock balance between the store and online lead to a positive or negative change in the customer’s experience? Do procurement, production or warehouse operations need to respond to changes in demand from changing customer experience? Automation and Machine Learning in operational processes allow the business to have more finely tailored offerings and how people experience those offerings becomes a key data point to feedback into that tailoring.

Understanding and optimising customer experience has always been at the centre of Keytree’s approach. Examples include our User Experience Research at Jaguar Land Rover, our use of Qualtrics in innovation for the Prince’s Trust and Keytree In-store Technology to improve the retail in-store experience.