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by Shawn Proulx (Chief Product Owner) and Louis Bridgman (Senior Information Developer), SAP Customer Activity Repository

Over 6 years ago, our retail team’s focus in the Montreal Labs was SAP Retail Store solutions.  We made sure that the stores could transact with the latest and greatest transactional tools.

Around that time, SAP knew that the retail industry was being turned on its end. It was no longer only about the brick and mortar. What about the web? Mobile? How do we seamlessly bring this all together without the need to duplicate data across siloed databases? Can we truly provide real time inventory information if we still have to wait until daily updates to ECC are done? Customers were the driving force. They wanted a seamless, omni-channel, real time experience. This is what lead to the idea of bringing all of the necessary transactional (brick and mortar, web sales order), master data (including ECC inventory tables), and predictive algorithms into one common data foundation.

Then, along came this thing called ‘in memory computing - SAP HANA’. POS DM always handled the throughput of transactions, did the auditing and preparation of data for follow-on-systems quite well. Though analyzing the data meant aggregation, transformation, etc., within SAP BW.  This lead to the first official delivery (GA) earlier this year, of one of the most important innovations for SAP Retail: the Customer Activity Repository (CAR).

"Wherever I travel across the world, people know about CAR,"

— Dr. Thomas Vetter, Head of Product Management and Development, Consumer Industries

SAP’s CAR provides real-time access and visibility into consumer sales data across channels. It is a game-changing foundation to process and analyze consumer behavior and impact on future business in real time.

“Wherever I travel across the world, people know about CAR”, says Dr. Thomas Vetter, Head of Product Management and Development, Consumer Industries at SAP.

What the world may not know is that the birthplace of this revolutionary real-time data platform is in SAP Montreal.  Since then, many other locations such as Scottsdale (USA) and Tägerwilen (Switzerland) have contributed to the ongoing innovations and success of the product.

"We're extremely proud of CAR's success and that we can celebrate it as a Made in Canada innovation," said Shawn Proulx, Chief Product Owner for SAP CAR. Proulx and his development teams celebrated the release to customer (RTC) milestone for SAP Customer Activity Repository 2.0 on November 5, 2014.

SAP CAR 2.0 features major innovations including:

  • Multichannel Foundation (extending point-of-sale data transfer and audit capabilities)
  • Inventory Visibility (providing real-time insight into current stock)
  • Multichannel Sales Analysis (delivering simple, beautiful, and mission-critical SAP Fiori apps for retailers)
  • Forecast Capabilities (improvements to Unified Demand Forecast and Demand Data Foundation)

Simple and beautiful Fiori apps such as this Multichannel Sales Analysis dashboard were made in Canada by the SAP Labs Montreal team for SAP Customer Activity Repository 2.0.

During his last executive visit to SAP Montreal in November, Vetter reported that Simon Paris (President of the Industry Cloud organization) is so pleased with SAP CAR that he is asking Vetter for the secret to the product's success.

"A big part of that is the team," Vetter said. "Everywhere I go, people are asking about CAR”.

The product already boasts big name customers such as COOP, Loblaw’s, Armani, etc., and the pipeline is jam-packed with exciting prospects.

"I'm fortunate to work with a diverse team of experienced, multi-disciplined women and men" Proulx added.

At the end of November, customers will be able to access a free, 3 day cloud based CAR trial, allowing users to access various sales and customer segmentation analytics that leverage the underlying CAR data.

For more information about SAP CAR, visit the CAR One-Stop Shop on Planet Retail and the SAP Help Portal.

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Montreal-based creators of SAP CAR celebrate their latest release! Look under the hood at @SCNblogs #MadeInCanada