The CX Show – DXC Technology – Implementing SAP Commerce Cloud
What are the essential components of a successful implementation? Maybe a reliable source of energy drinks and pizza? Welcome to another episode of The CX Show! We're speaking today with Marco Formaggio, Director Customer Experience at DXC Technology, our partner in Australia. Hi, Marco, it's a pleasure to have you on the show. Hi, Svetlana, nice to be with you.
So tell me what are actually the essential components of a successful implementation? Oh look, I think the components are pretty much the same. I think everyone knows them. But they're, you know, they're not always that easy to get right. But it's really that triangle of, of people, process and technology. And, you know, in
the case of Device Technologies, you know, it was critical getting the right people in terms of from our side as the partner from SAP's point of view as well as from the the customer and the stakeholders that we have to deal with the process. Commerce is not just about putting on a front end website, it's actually about a process that has to be driven and supported from front to back end. And then the technology bringing together you know, SAP's technologies, but also the the partner and the customer to actually implement that technology and make it really work for for the customer. And those are the critical aspects of a project, you know, coupled with, obviously, a lot of hard work and, and as you said, maybe some pizzas passed under the door late at night. But in the
end, it's really about those three components that drive success. Okay, as you already mentioned, the project with Device Technologies, I suggest we dive a little bit deeper into it. Could you tell us maybe about the main objectives you had for this project? Yeah, so Device Technologies is an interesting company, because it's, it's essentially doesn't actually produce any of its own products. It actually is an agency, it basically has many agencies. And then it sells products from companies all over the world. The product range is very diverse, you know, from
very small consumable products, right up to robotic, very expensive, large machines that are used for operations. So the challenge that Device Technologies has every time they bring on a new agency, they've got to bring in more sales people, they've got to set up new sales channels. So it was really about how do how do they produce a face to the customer that is standardised, allows the customer to view their products, their diverse product range, and then actually determine you know, what products they want to buy or get information about the product. So that that was really the objective as it was about creating a new channel to market, but more about exposing the diverse range of products in a seamless way to the customer. That's really what were the objectives of the project.
Sounds pretty complex. I'm wondering how did you get a green light from Device Technologies' executives for such a complicated project? Yeah, it wasn't easy. So there was a roadmap and a transformation strategy put together with the business that was actually done by a strategic consultancy. And the numbers that were put forward then to actually deliver that work were pretty large. And because it because it was a long roadmap,
and because Device Technologies was was and still is as a privately owned company, that that was a challenge. So what we then eventually worked with the company on let's say, Well, why don't we Why don't we take take a phased approach, we do a crawl - walk - run approach, where we actually start with a smaller part of the business, where we think there'll be a high possibility of adoption, it's a smaller project that will actually then allow us to prove return on investment. And that's where we were very flexible to work with the customer to say, well, we can really help you reduce the cost of that implementation by working closely with your internal teams, us working as an augmented team as part of your team, and then implement a project for their smaller part of the business, in this case was actually the staff store for their cosmetics line. So we did that. And what we did do by doing that, as we actually set up the foundations of the product, in other words, all the backend integration to the to the SAP systems, but we didn't actually have to do too much on the user experience on the UI side of things, it was really proving that the technical process will work, but at the same time measuring the total return on investment without too much of a large investment. And by doing that, the
implementation was done rapidly. It was rolled out to a user community, which is really the employees of the business. And what they saw was a real rapid increase in sales of those cosmetic products, because of the better user experience and, you know, just the ability to access products in a much more, much more seamless fashion. And that was then taken back to the
management of the business to say, Well, look, we've proven through a small investment that we can actually drive increased sales. And that actually created the impetus to say, Well, then what, what's next? What's the next one we can do? So we took that constant phased approach, and then measurd the investment. And then in that way, rather than doing it as a big bang project, the business was able to incrementally invest and actually see the return on investment. What was the solution that Device Technologies already had in place before you started with this pilot project? Yes, Device Technologies is definitely an SAP centric site. It's not the only solutions they they have, but predominantly, they're in SAP sites. So they have and had then as well SAP
ECC 6, they had CRM on-premise, they had Business Communication Manager, now known as SAP Contact Center, as well as Business Warehouse, and then a number of the SAP mobility solutions. So it's definitely an SAP centric site. But at that stage, the web presences that they had were just really static websites, so not nothing in terms of a an enterprise grade web solution. When you mentioned that you started with a small project, right, an internal portal for Device Technologies' employees, could you explain a little bit for for us, for the audience what was the solution that you were testing out? So how did you start? Yeah, so so that that business is a cosmetics, medical cosmetics. And the reason that that that business unit was chosen was there was already an appetite, and for full web, a web channel, because they were really people using a form of website, but it was quite basic. So the solution there was really to put in the ability for, for B2B customers to buy cosmetic products for their customers through an online portal, going on browsing a catalogue, selecting the product and putting it into a shopping cart. And then actually, that will
automatically integrate back into SAP ECC, create the delivery processes using all the pricing, the standard pricing that's delivered out of SAP, you know, deployed back onto the front end website, so the pricing was all correct. And then the delivery processes would all be will all be triggered. So then it was really using the delivery and the logistics processes that were already in place in SAP to actually fulfil the product to the customer. So that is really what the solution was really creating a front end portal that leverages the back end processes in really, in a you know, so gives it a good looking user front end to the customer, but still uses those robust back end SAP fulfilment processes. And I guess, as the pilot proved to be a success, it was time to roll out to the external audience, to the customers. And
as I remember, from our conversations offline, that the pilot was done on SAP Commerce On-Premise, and when rolling out to the customers, you made a strategic decision that it's time to go to the cloud and switch to SAP Commerce Cloud. Could you tell us the motivation behind why was the decision made? And what were the benefits of moving to the cloud? Yeah, look, it was it was a, it was an interesting decision, because obviously, it was at the beginning of the roadmap. So a big decision was to say, look, there's a big roadmap that they were embarking on, and it's not going to be a short roadmap, it's gonna take time. So one of the big benefits of moving to
the cloud is actually saying, well, we're moving on to SAP's infrastructure. So the business then didn't have to focus on maintaining their own infrastructure, they could really focus a lot more on business adoption, on the business process, drivers and a lot less on the infrastructure sides of side of things. That is the one the one big driver, the other one is, as the roadmap takes time, there was a real benefit in the fact that because it's in the cloud, the business would actually benefit from all the improvements that SAP makes to the technology. So they wouldn't have to actually do their own upgrades to as as their solution evolves and as it improves by SAP, they would actually get the benefit of those improvements that SAP deploys into the platform. Which really then allowed the business to scale, to say, Well, you know, if there's new, there's a new business line that comes along, we don't have to worry about infrastructure because SAP will sort that out. And it is new solutions that SAP delivers on Commerce, they can actually adopt those very quickly because SAP has already deployed them in the platform. So it really
allows the business to focus on their on their business, you know, focus on selling, focus on new business lines, focus on new channels to market and really focus a lot less on the things like the plumbing and the and the infrastructure that SAP can deal with. I really like it, you get the latest and greatest of the software on the one hand, and on the other hand, you really can focus, yeah, as you said, on your business, on your on your customers instead of worrying all the time about about the technology. That's right. But I think we can talk a little bit about the challenges as well now because the project, as you said, it's a long term investment, it's a complex project. Device Technologies have a lot of different SKUs. We had a conversation with Michelle
Stewart from Device Technologies on our previous, and we will link it somewhere up here for those who are interested. And to manage such a complicated project I think there were some customization, customising needed from, from your side, right, some adapting of the solution? So how did you go around it? Yeah, I think so the challenge that they have, as I mentioned earlier, is, first of all a large product range. So the large product range implies a complexity around managing a data model. So the data model is complex is tricky, because you
really want to have a single, you want to have a catalogue for the business that is really diverse around amount of product on it, that's easy to search through and find the product that you're looking for. So a lot of thought had to be put into that or how well how are you going to structure a catalogue for such a large range of product. And then that leads to things like how we, you know, enrichment of product of the product imagery, for example, because Device Technologies doesn't manufacture their own product, they're really dependent on the on the, on their suppliers, to actually help enrich the data and get the imagery. So a lot of work had to go into that. I think the biggest, one of the biggest things that Device Technologies learned quite early was that there's a lot of business input required in these kind of projects. So it's, yes, there's a technology component, but a
large part of it is the business needs to get involved and actually treat this like, it's like opening up a new store, you've got to think about what are the what are the banners that you're going to stick up in the store? What are the colours, you're going to stick up? What are the what what is the furniture going to look like? You know, there's a lot of business decisions that need to be made. So it was really then about building for Device Technologies was building a capability to support these, these kind of these kind of products like so having a team that can actually work on enriching product can actually constantly add new search criteria to products, add new imagery, and, and as customers might be struggling to find a product, how do you enhance the facets by which you search. So there's that continuous evolving of the solution. And so a large part of that was working with Device Technologies, setting up a team and a capability under Michelle, that could actually do that. That is the one challenge.
The other challenge was also then around just getting the user experience right. For a quite a large range of customers. Because if you think there's a larger range of products, there's also a very diverse range of customer. There's not just one persona that Device Technologies is working with they they dealing with, you know, procurement people in hospitals, they might be working with medical specialists, they might be working with nursing unit managers. So there's a large range of product, product, but
also a larger range of customer. So the user experience and the focus on getting that right for those different personas was a big part of the project. So a lot of user research working with customers to actually understand well, how are we best going to service user the customer. And that, for example, we talked about surgery booking portal, I mean, that is actually a solution that's built for surgeons to actually order components for surgery, which is quite a different use case to a nursing unit manager ordering consumables for an operating theatre. So it's, it's getting that user experience right, a
lot of focus was was was required in that area. The good thing was that because SAP works so well, in terms of integration between Commerce and ECC was that they didn't have to be a lot of work down there. So a lot of that worked out of the box. And a lot of the effort had to be done more on the user experience and and getting that right, which is the logical place where you think the investment should go. Couple interesting things you mentioned in there. First of all, I noticed that you're the first person that I'm having a conversation about e-commerce who compares an e-commerce with the real brick and mortar store because usually it's the other way around, right? We're talking about all the differences and how like, these are two entirely different areas. And the second one that I wanted to follow up on is you mentioned customer experience. And you mentioned that with a huge amount of
products also comes a diversity in terms of customers that Device Technologies serve. So question is, how, yeah, how to create these amazing customer experiences for different categories of customers, how to do personalization, when they have like a one stop shop? Yeah, I mean, it's, it's, it's, I think the the biggest part is, you know, you've got to get close to your customer. So a large part of it is user research, spending time with customers, I think the worst thing that companies can do is try and design these things in isolation of the customer, the customer is the one in the end, who's actually going to really influence and decide whether they like what they see. So I think a large part of it is user research and mapping out their customer journey defining the persona as well, to understand well, who are the real people are going to be using the solution, and then actually looking at what is the journey for their customer that is optimum, and then bringing that into the solution. And having a solution like SAP Commerce that
is flexible, that allows you to build in personalisation on the front end, allows you to design the catalogue in a way that is personalised. You know, in a lot of ways, that's almost the easier part because SAP Commerce is highly flexible. The harder part is actually determining well, talking to your customers and getting the right people on board and getting the right input from the right customers. And also not ignoring the fact that customers are not just your end customers that are buying the product, customers are also your employees. Because the employees also have to maintain the solution, they go to enrich the solution, enrich product. So it's also about getting an
understanding of how your employees are using the solution to actually drive an optimal customer experience. So it's really defining all those personas as well and getting those journeys well defined. And then if you get that, right, you know, doing it, if you've got the right technology, you know, that's a large part of the battle is won. Talking to you makes me proud about our Customer Experience solutions. Marco thank you very much. And as we're talking about customer journeys, what are the other solutions that are part of the ecosystem for Device Technologies? And if you can, probably could share some of the future plans in terms of technology? Yeah, what are you planning for them? Look, the thing with commerce is, and once again, comparing to my bricks and mortar store, you know, your bricks and mortar store needs to be repainted and remodelled regularly, and in the same way, you know, and with commerce, there will always be constant evolution, as new as new technologies come out, you know, with mobility solutions, so I think you know, a lot more focus on how high mobility is going to be used, how Internet of Things might integrate into, into into ordering, as hospitals get smarter with their systems, a lot more of integration of those kind of technologies would be something that Device Technologies would look at as also as their products are evolving. You know, there's a lot more integration of the
products themselves with the solutions to actually be, you know, reorder consumables. So that those are the kinds of things that that Device Technologies would be looking at. They're also looking at things like, you know, getting their, their ERP system onto the latest solution, which is onto S/4. So these are, there's a plan to move to S/4. And you know, and then you know, more focused then around service mobility is a large part of of what they're focusing on. So there's a constant this constantly things going on there. But I think a large part of it will be just that constant
evolution of the commerce solution to to really target more and more personas with with the solutions and actually personalise the experience a lot more. And then couple that with with marketing and personalised offer kind of management. So a lot of things to do there so really about getting a lot closer to the customer. I think that'll be where Device Technologies will invest in the future. Well, we are happy on our side to support and wish you and Device Technologies all the very best in the future endeavours.
And I think with that, we have to wrap up. We're running out of time. Marco, thank you so much for joining us on the show. It was a pleasure talking to you. And thanks a lot for all the
insights. Well, thank you thank you for your time. It was really good to talk about it. I get quite passionate about customer experience and I really love to see solutions making a real business difference to our customers and to our customers' customers. So, that's our focus. So thank you for your time. Thank you and well said! For the audience, as usual, you can find all the additional information in the description below. Stay tuned for more great topics to come. Be sure to subscribe to
the channel so that you don't miss anything. Spread the word and let us know what you think using the hashtag #thecxshow. Thanks for watching. Stay safe. Bye bye.