Accenture, SAP Plot One CX Platform for All

Accenture Interactive and SAP Hybris on Wednesday announced a partnership to create a new platform that will let users build and curate end-to-end contextual, personalized customer experiences — from marketing, e-commerce and offline shopping to customer service and loyalty management.

The joint platform will target B2C and B2B firms in retail, telecommunications and resources.

It will help companies

  • discover aspects of their commerce offering that impact the customer experience;
  • identify the impact of their current technology on the way people experience their brands, offerings and services; and
  • act quickly upon insights using the platform’s capability to create, launch and harmonize experiences across channels that drive tangible business outcomes.

“Personalized experiences for customers across all aspects of their interaction with a company are a big challenge for many companies, particularly those that have disconnected sales, service and marketing arms,” noted Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

“We’ve found that disconnected data sources and silos are one of the biggest challenges companies face in advancing their customer experience goals,” she told CRM Buyer.

Accenture Interactive has conducted pilot projects with retail clients using an early-stage version of the platform, and initial results indicate sales have increased by up to 30 percent; operational costs have declined by as much as 25 percent; and ROI soared up to 700 percent.

“There are good pilots in place, and the experiences are compelling,” observed Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

However, “the challenge is the work it takes to orchestrate all these touchpoints,” he told CRM Buyer, “and, more importantly, implement digital marketing techniques along key metrics — attribution, conversion rate optimization, lead scoring and SEO, among others.”

Constituents of the New Platform

The joint platform will combine several proven, proprietary B2C and B2B commerce applications: SAP Hybris solutions; solutions built on SAP’s Leonardo technology; and Accenture Interactive’s data-driven personalization solutions.

Its functions will include customer analytics, content management,user experience design, marketing, customer service, omnichannel management and personalization.

“There’s a lot to build out in Leonardo for it to support all the requirements of modern commerce organizations,” Wang said.

The platform will use existing client applications and point solutions, integrating with them as necessary.

The key is “not just how SAP and Accenture can accelerate the delivery of solutions for customers, but how they can deliver solutions that can be flexible enough to adapt as consumer preferences and competitive challenges evolve,” Nucleus’ Wettemann pointed out.

“For customers in a cloud world, expectations are of rapid deployment timelines and a more iterative, rather than big-bang, approach,” she cautioned.

Granular Microservices

The joint platform will give future customers a highly targeted consumer microservices platform called “SAP Hybris as a Service,” aka “YaaS,” observed Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

YaaS will let users “compose their e-commerce solutions as needed for differentiation in the marketplaces,” he told CRM Buyer.

“Being able to reuse granular microservices in a PaaS environment that are also used in a SaaS platform such as SAP Hybris is valuable for enterprises, as these microservices see more uptake than, for example, a pure platform API,” Mueller pointed out.

Competition Coming

The main competition for the Accenture SAP Hybris offering comes from Salesforce through its Demandware tie-in, and from Oracle through ATG (Oracle’s Web Commerce platform), Wang said.

“Some level of competition comes from IBM Interactive, which does a lot of custom work on both IBM software and other tools,” he added.

Constellation “expects to see more deals like this over the next 12 to 18 months,” Wang predicted. “Organizations like Deloitte, Sapient Razorfish and IBM Interactive are the front end for many of these deals. Software vendors in commerce, marketing and experience are looking to stringent partnerships with design agencies and creative organizations.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

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