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The experience economy is here. Do you know what your customers want?

Christopher Tredger
By Christopher Tredger, Portals editor
Johannesburg, 12 Jun 2019

Eighty percent of CEOs believe their organisations provide a really good customer experience, while only 8% of customers agree.

This is according to a recent customer experience survey referenced by SAP during the company’s user group conference, Saphila 2019, underway at Sun City.

Executives from the company have positioned cloud and data analytics at the frontline of digital transformation of businesses. This is the strategy to help enterprises automate and strengthen their processes, improve the customer experience and ultimately establish innovative, intelligent businesses.

The intelligent business is the central theme of the event. Discussion has focused on how intelligent technologies, including cloud, AI, IoT, machine learning and analytics, can be used strategically to compete effectively in the experience economy, where it’s not just about selling the best goods and services, but also about delivering the best experience.

New level of customer engagement

The experience economy is not new, but is now a reality. According to SAP, it’s all about using data to understand the target market, achieve a new level of customer engagement and gain brand recognition with an increasingly demanding consumer base.

SAP believes it is vital that businesses combine their experience data, or ‘x data’ (the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions), with traditional operational data, or ‘o data’ (the ‘what’ exactly question), to provide all-round insight into the customer.

As companies go through digital transformation, the overwhelming amount of data being generated is not the only challenge they have to deal with – there’s also the pressure to improve productivity and address the demands from employees who are bringing a new set of skills to the workplace and demand more purpose from their work.

Additionally, competitors are gaining momentum through consolidation or disruptive business models, and customers will only be loyal to a perfect total experience, as alternative choices proliferate.

Isabell Petzelt, global VP of customer strategy and innovation at SAP America, used the example of the Tesla Autopilot autonomous driving system as an example of innovation and shifting business models.

“(It’s) applied methodology…that is also what innovation is all about; it’s not magic, it’s applied technology, applied methodology. This is also what the intelligent enterprise is; we’re automating processes, we’re using technologies like machine learning, using sensors to make decisions and automate certain processes. That is what Tesla is doing…they are using […] image recognition to let the car make the right decision.”

Petzelt says the intelligent enterprise is about embedding technology into the business processes, connecting devices, and using various channels to the endpoint to create a new experience.