SAP Hybris Live conference
SAP revealed a series of new products during its SAP Hybris Live conference, taking place in Barcelona PHOTO: SAP

Conference keynotes usually open with familiar, high energy tunes to wake early morning audiences up and get them primed for the announcements to come. Think James Brown's "I Feel Good" or U2's "It's a Beautiful Day."

But SAP Hybris president Carsten Thoma chose something very different to rev up the crowd at the opening keynote of SAP Hybris LIVE, being held in Barcelona, Spain this week: German hip-hop from the late 1990s.

"What is that song? What is that song?" he asked as he stepped to the front of the keynote stage. He then explained it was the audio tape that he and his Hybris co-founders Moritz Zimmermann and Klaas Hermanns listened to during the company's founding week in Munich 20 years ago.

SAP Hybris: We Are the First

In the ensuing years, Thoma gave Hybris credit for being the first with multichannel, for inventing omnichannel and now omni-business which he referred to as channel-less.

"We are going to disrupt again,” he said, then went on to explain that data was stuck in silos, making it inconsistent, incohesive and thereby hard to deal with.

SAP Hybris will make it easy, of course, according to Thoma, especially as it brings recently acquired customer identity and access management platform provider Gigya into its fold. While many suspected the Gigya buy was driven by GDPR needs, Thoma told the crowd that through the “beautiful partnership with Gigya, we have just disrupted that land of customer data platforms.” 

Gigya claims to hold permissioned data on more than 1.3 billion consumers. Not only that, but earlier this month the company unveiled a new Enterprise Preference Manager product which, according to Gigya CEO Patrick Salyer, is as much about earning consumer trust as it is compliance.

Data-Driven Magical Moments

Salyer and Thoma spoke about a next-generation customer data platform. Gigya brings data around identity (who a customer is across all touchpoints: website, mobile, social, voice, chat, IoT devices), consent (customers must opt in or there is no trust) and profile information.

Products from the SAP mothership touch more than 76 percent of transactions worldwide, according to Thoma, suggesting that SAP is in a unique position to understand and create extraordinary experiences for customers along the entire customer journey.

"We are the one, the only one," he said, later adding, “We offer an unparalleled range of capability areas and enhancements to our solutions through better unification and integration across the SAP suite.”

Carsten Thoma

Connecting the front office to the back office to create magical moments for the customer is something that SAP is uniquely positioned to do according to Thoma.

A Series of SAP Announcements

Facial Recognition for SAP Hybris Marketing Cloud

Away from the keynote stage, SAP Hybris announced facial recognition technology which captures and analyzes information about shoppers as they walk into stores. The capability comes from SAP's Leonardo portfolio and will be available in the SAP Hybris Marketing Cloud this November. Retailers will not be correlating faces with names, according to Jackie Palmer, SAP Hybris global vice president of strategy and solution management, but by age and gender in order to make recommendations.

Not only that, but retailers will also use other contextual characteristics to make offers. Palmer told CMSWire that, for example, someone may be recommended a blue shirt because of their complexion and eye color. Or someone wearing simple earrings might be steered toward a similar style of jewelry.

IoT Trigger Campaigns

The company also announced Internet of Things (IoT) Trigger Campaigns. Palmer said marketers might use these to generate offers to people as they hit milestones on things like fitness trackers. Thoma gave an example, using himself as the model, in which a sneaker manufacturer might recommend a more supportive shoe after sensors within his shoes notice his run is taking longer to complete and that he has gained weight.

The success of IoT Trigger campaigns will depend on what information marketers have at their disposal, according to Ray Wang, co-founder of Constellation Research. “What matters is how that context is captured and associated. Location, ID, Time, Sentiment, Weather, past purchases are all key attributes. These systems will take some time to learn and consumers will have to decide how much privacy to trade for both convenience and security,” he said.

Of course, Gigya will be a vital part of SAP's answer to that.

SAP Hybris Customer Attribution

SAP's has now embedded the technology from its Abakus acquisition into SAP Hybris and renamed it SAP Hybris Customer Attribution. It helps marketers learn which marketing campaigns across all touchpoints of the customer journey lead to purchases. Needless to say, this helps marketers optimize spend and reallocate efforts in real time.

Marketing Executive Boardroom

Marketing bosses may be interested to know that SAP's Digital Boardroom will soon include a Marketing Executive Boardroom for CMOs. This interface, which is reminiscent of the control deck of the Starship Enterprise, provides tools that managers can use to see graphical representations of campaign successes, built-in transparency to detect impending problems, and indicators that identify new marketing opportunities.

SAP's boardroom product is a lure for CXOs according to Wang. "It demos well and helps execs visualize the power of analysis and the future of AI," he told CMSWire. He noted that SAP ownership helps with cross-sell to key retailers and manufacturers looking at commerce and those updating their CX efforts.

AI Work Ahead

One especially interesting, and differentiating, takeaway from SAP Hybris LIVE, is that both Thoma and Wang, who also took the stage during the keynote, told the crowd, "We are not there (yet) when it comes to AI," encouraging attendees to relax, that there is still time to get there.

Needless to say, they can both help along the way.