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Most business leaders understand experience is the major differentiator. Even so, many are struggling with how to better manage and actually improve the experiences that their customers and employees have every day.

I heard about several ways that companies and their developers can get real business results from combining experience X-data with operational O-data when I attended the recent  SAP TechEd events, including during this onsite VIDEO interview.


“O-data shows what is happening with the business, and X-data explains the reasons why,” said Sven Denecken, senior vice president, SAP S/4HANA at SAP. “Decision-makers can more effectively listen using far more details, understand the context and what’s working or not, and act faster delivering results that matter to both the customer and the company.”

More valuable experiences are brewing

One example of the power of X-data and O-data was in the design-to-operate demonstration during SAP CTO Juergen Mueller’s keynote, which I blogged about earlier. It showed how beer breweries can quickly connect the latest customer demand trends to real-time information from different parts of the business. I asked Denecken for details on the actual business value.

“The O-data about revenue, inventory, product development, and production costs told the brewery what was happening from the brewhouse through shipment and financials,” said Denecken. “Putting that together with the X-data such as immediate customer sentiment about trending tastes and packaging preferences would help the company quickly adapt recipes, managing inventory and ramping up production to deliver new beer flavors to people in high-demand markets.”

A whole new contract renewal experience

When I caught up with Denecken after the event, he shared two more places where the combination of X-data and O-data could have concrete business results. One area was in managing service contract negotiations and renewals.

“Think about the impact of combining feedback from field technicians and customers about their real-world experiences with operational data like workforce utilization rates and billing and invoicing,” he said. “Companies can identify previously hidden upselling opportunities and be better prepared to address customer concerns before complaints escalate. Salespeople can renegotiate contracts with greater success, improving sales forecast accuracy and heading off competitive threats.”

Strengthening the procurement experience

Service procurement is another area ripe for experience transformation, especially in centralized departments that are operating in decentralized environments. For example, someone who requests a service or product often sits nowhere near the person tasked with managing its procurement. There’s tremendous potential business value in connecting experience information from Qualtrics with ERP data to close the loop in these scenarios.

“This is information about the customer and suppliers that the centralized procurement team wouldn’t have any other way of knowing,” said Denecken. “Looking at the O-data, buyers could see the numbers, including visits and on-time service delivery and completion rates. Added to X-data such as customer feedback about the technician’s professionalism and business knowledge, the procurement team could more accurately benchmark suppliers, potentially reducing costs while improving customer satisfaction with higher quality services.”

New opportunities with latest SAP S/4HANA release

Denecken was excited about the opportunities for improved experiences with the latest SAP S/4HANA release, which integrates SAP Intelligent Product Design with Qualtrics.

“Developers now have a direct channel to collect more information about customer experiences with applications,” said Denecken. “Using this feedback, they can develop ever-more targeted products with enhancements and innovations that people actually care about. It’s product lifecycle management for the intelligent enterprise.”

Data may be the new oil but knowing why people are behaving a certain way is just as important in giving them the experience they really want.

Follow me @smgaler

This blog also appeared on the SAP News Center.

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