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Digital Transformation

New Insights Into Social Customer SAP

Thanks to Erin Maloney (@ErinE) for pointing me to this article.  By the title, I expected this to be about SAP’s foray into creating and selling social tools. But it’s not. Instead it’s an article about humanizing SAP.  Like many, I think of SAP as a stodgy tech company that tries above all to sell it’s ERP solution and seems to use other BI, Search, and Portal software to do so.  I might even be willing to say they do try to sell their BI tools.  Instead, the article discusses the end results.

Leading a panel with Frank Eliason of Citibank, Joe Rohrlich of Bazaarvoice, Social Media Today’s own CEO Robin Fray Carey, and moderated by Todd Wilms of SAP, the audience was then asked if they knew that SAP’s customers produced more than 70% of the world’s chocolate, 72% of the world’s beer, or 86% of the world’s athletic footwear.

Well now I think a little better of SAP and am willing to read further.  The panel then focused on how so many companies focus on social media as advertising rather than a more complete or holistic approach.  I’m ok with that.  But then I was thrown off completely by this gem

One aspect all could agree on was on the effectiveness of a new area of study for The Social Customer Engagement Index: branded communities. In the survey, 86% of companies use Facebook and 79% use Twitter to engage with customers, but only 25% claimed using branded communities as well. Yet branded community users were far more active in their communities than on the Facebook and Twitter channels alone, and felt they were considerably more effective than them, too. Naturally, developing and maintaining branded communities also costs considerably more, but in the long run the paper’s analysis suggests that customer service costs could actually be reduced overall, and with higher satisfaction rates, too.

So I realize this is a panel that was reported and enriched by the article author, Adam Chapman.  Things could have been missed in the dialog and not reported.  But even so, how did we get from stodgy SAP to humanized SAP to communities?  Do they really think SAP should just create communities?  If they do, what audiences would they target.  Several come to mind:

  1. Sales and Marketing – but these guys just want to sell and use a variety of SAP tools to do so.
  2. Operations – there’s is a possibility to create some best practice communities but this is not a consumer driven kind of thing
  3. Developer – ok heres a great idea. These developer types have to live in the depths and conversations on how to things would be great…………but wait, SAP’s had one of those for years and I mean many years.

So just how will branded communities help SAP’s image again?  I think this panel has a decent idea but whoever started the conversation with SAP perhaps picked an examples that wasn’t a great fit. Again, I could be wrong because it was a panel and context can be missed. But all the same, It seems a nonsequitr to go from SAP to branded communities.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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