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Harley-Davidson. The name conjures up an iconic image, one that carries a reputation for manufacturing some of the finest motorcycles in the world. But does Harley-Davidson really sell motorcycles? Not exactly. According to the company, it’s all about the experience, one forged in heavy metal thunder, living free and peeling wheel down Route 66.  It’s an experience that allows middle-aged accountants to don black, studded leather and forget about debits and credits for a little while.

Since Harley-Davidson is selling an experience that simply cannot be found anywhere else, the company understands the importance of getting to know its customers. For instance, The Harley Owners Group, aka “H.O.G.”, allows its one million members to “get the most out of their ownership experience” through different membership benefits, events and local chapter meetings.

From an information technology (IT) investment perspective, Harley-Davidson is equally customer-centric. The company recently launched a few projects across sales, marketing and operations in an effort to make better use of lead and contact information, product line performance information and supplier data. Harley-Davidson is also revving up its involvement with the SAP Community Network to stay on top of the latest and greatest IT trends and capabilities.

“With these projects, it’s all about obtaining better access to customer information with the capabilities that SAP BusinessObjects offers,” said Jim Keene, systems manager, global information services at Harley-Davidson. “And I will definitely be tapping the SAP Community Network to figure out some of the thought leadership and business concepts that wrap around these projects. What kinds of apps are emerging from other SAP customers so I can integrate those ideas into my steering committee or solution design plans?”

According to Joel Janke, senior business intelligence analyst at Harley-Davidson, two different data centers keep Harley-Davidson’s customer info flowing. SAP BusinessObjects sits on top of the data centers and delivers reports to Harley-Davidson dealerships around the world. All of these global dealerships have the ability to access SAP BusinessObjects content and run reports actively, with data pulled from the company’s SAP CRM system which includes hundreds of different customer touch points. Janke also points to the SAP Community Network as a go-to resource to dig up information about current IT investments and learn about emerging technologies.

“It’s a great place to find out about all of the latest and greatest stuff that is going on whether it’s about SAP Business Intelligence 4.0 or the relationship of SAP Business Warehouse with SAP HANA. I am always looking at newer innovations to find out how to plan things within the Harley-Davidson enterprise and that’s why the SAP Community Network plays such a critical role.”

Is your company taking a whole hog approach to customer insight initiatives?