“You have to stay in touch with the trend.”

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… says Klaus Sickinger, Managing Director at SAP Austria, referring to the strengths of digital media in sales presentations. For showcasing those, Swarovski recently won an SAP Innovation Award. In this interview, Klaus Sickinger talks about working with Netural, creating added value for customers and using apps in companies.

Klaus Sickinger, Managing Director at SAP

In 2013, the Swarovski Crystal Collection App won the “SAP Innovation Award 2013″ before even getting published at the App Store. Working with Netural on a project for Swarovski seems to have been a pleasant experience for SAP?

Yes, we are thrilled with what we achieved for the customer, and the Innovation Award shows that clearly. It rewards the huge amount of pioneering spirit, trust in SAP´s innovations, commitment and courage which characterized this project from the start – and also the obvious huge potential for further development in the B2B field.

What can global players like SAP learn from project cooperations with digital media agencies like Netural?

This is a very exciting partnership which includes the best of both worlds: The big company´s IT competence for solutions and the agency´s drive and media expertise. These individual strengths add up to real value for the customer. Clear-cut concepts, state-of-the-art design and the integration of the client´s SAP business systems were the key components of the project success.

Now that the result is on the table, what is your favorite feature in the Swarovski Crystal Collection App?

This is generally one really cool sales support application. A modern electronic catalog with an interface to the order management system, and amazingly easy, intuitive handling. It literally puts every single crystal in all colors and sizes at your fingertip – in attractive visuals on your iPad, complete with availability information and online ordering. Additionally, the interactive visual design support of the app greatly helps with the customer´s decision-making. So-called mood boards give impressions of crystals in combination with background colors and textile structures.

With proprietary apps and interfaces, SAP has a very strong focus on mobile services. When looking beyond the obvious productivity gains, what are the advantages of using mobile apps in companies?

As part of our innovation and customer experience strategy we have created SAP Fiori. Those are apps for key business processes with a very simple, unified handling not unlike Facebook. Management, staff, purchasing department and sales get one single surface for all the important applications. We have rolled out 25 until now and will offer a full 150 apps before the year is over, with design and user experience emulating popular customer apps. Now users can enter the SAP world completely intuitive.

From SAP´s perspective – which fields of application are most promising?

What makes SAP Fiori so attractive is the quick access to information which is needed in everyday work routines. For example, employee self-service gives users smartphone access to their salary statements, which saves printing costs and helps the environment. Another example is purchasing processes: Employees do not have to be experts in this field to walk through SAP Fiori´s Amazon-like product search and locate an item complete with status information in the company´s purchase portal. More good news: You will never again have to wait for the head manager´s return from his business trip just to get an approval signed. SAP Fiori gives immediate access to workflows like orders, travel applications, expenses, work hours and many more. And, most importantly, SAP Fiori Apps also bring huge advantages in the CRM field: Sales can now process customer queries and availability checks on mobile devices without cumbersome dial-ins.

Sales representatives carrying iPads instead of catalogs will soon be the new „normal“. What do you think are the real strengths of digital media in sales presentations?

Innovative companies hire innovative people. And innovative people prefer to work with the latest and best tools. In so many fields this means mobile devices now. You have to stay in touch with the trend.

There is added value in this for both the customer and the sales rep: Innovative presentations give customers a whole new perspective of the product. We all know online shops which offer almost a virtual try-on, including very detailed representations of fabrics and patterns. This does not fully replace a real try-on yet, but we are getting close. The value for sales is an added consulting competence and the heightened efficiency that goes with it. Which again helps the customer and also creates up- and cross-selling possibilities. So this is win-win for all involved.

If a large SAP-customer wants to join Swarovski and other early movers, implementing a smart digital strategy – which approach would you recommend?

Almost every business is currently undergoing software-driven transformation. We offer our clients professional and strategic support in this. The Hasso Plattner Institute has, in cooperation with Stanford University, developed an innovative approach called Design Thinking. This method is based on cooperation between diverse personalities or teams. Those who follow the principles of Design Thinking are automatically orientated towards the customers´ wishes and demands.

Design Thinking is all about cooperating closely with the customer in reviewing processes, indentifying chances to simplify, and all the while generating added value for business fields. In all this it is of greatest importance to involve the staff – those are the users who eventually have to work with the things we come up with.

In most companies, the bridge between marketing and IT gets more important every day. SAP is mostly at home in the IT field, with a focus on organization, process management and security. Which exciting new challenges will arise from marketing?

Marketing has to find out more and more about target groups to cover their needs. On the other hand, the performance question is becoming virulent in marketing departments: Key marketing data have to be available in real-time to deploy the budget with precision and flexibility. Evaluating opinions in social media and monitoring campaigns in every detail has become a must. Another important part of target group management is identifying the most profitable buyers and approaching them with tailor-made offers, in short, speaking the customers´ language.

Article: 24.07.2014




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