ORLANDO — Most of us know SAP as one of two things: the technology giant behind the revolutionary platform SAP HANA or the software engine that powers 76 percent of the world’s businesses. And while marketing fits into that mix, it’s not the first thing we think of ... until now.

Last week at SAPPHIRE NOW, the annual user conference SAP held here, there were three big announcements around marketing products.

Hello Data-as-a-Service

SAP officially entered the Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) business with a new product, SAP Digital Consumer Insight Service. It leverages data that interconnects traffic between the major mobile networks. 

According to Constellation Research analyst Doug Henschen, "In the digital world, analysts can explore data on referring URLs (where site visitors came from), dwell time (how long they stayed on a site, page or item) and the entire digital path to purchase. The SAP Digital Consumer Insight Service announced at SAPPHIRE NOW offers the equivalent of these measures for the physical world."

In other words, SAP's service analyzes mobile data (aka "mobile moments" ) to provide insights around physical consumer behavior, helping to determine the demographics of people coming through a retail business or point of interest. This could include information on where consumers are coming from, age and gender, or comparison with other locations and/or competitors and their devices.

It achieves this by leveraging the latest analytics, in-memory and cloud technologies to harness mobile network data. SAP draws on its Sybase 365 service as its data source. It collects approximately 40 terabytes worth of anonymous global data daily, which is made up of 2.1 billion transactions that are carried out on its network by 97 percent of all mobile subscribers across 230 countries.

With that amount of information and SAP's analytics smarts, if all works as promised, businesses will be able to develop smarter, more impactful marketing, sales and CRM strategies.

Subscribing is Simple

All users need to do to use the service is log onto SAPStore.com and enter the specific days for which they would like to track data. Then, for a fee, they can enter limited filter criteria, such as zip code or POI (point of interest). A download link to a file is then generated, which leads to the data and access to a user interface with graphical rendering of the query result.

While marketers will undoubtedly find the solution interesting, it does raise privacy concerns. But Henschen told CMSWire those fears are unfounded because the service offers no PII (personally identifiable information).

Henschen's colleague, analyst Holger Mueller, agreed. "At the moment this is a 'one shot' offering, so (it is) unlikely to be an issue, and a lot of information is today manually collected already. Including cell phone signal/WiFi catching devices to understand who or what audience is walking by," he said. 

SAP Disrupts Digital Marketing and Advertising

It's curious why it fell under the radar, but SAP also unveiled SAP Exchange Media (SAP XM). The service is an integrated online media network that directly connects advertisers and publishers in the cloud. It is based on the SAP HANA platform.

Learning Opportunities

SAP XM pools marketing and advertising technologies. The hope is that it will generate increased conversion rates through hyper-targeted advertising along the consumer journey by getting the right message to the right audience and on the right channel through its advanced targeting and profile-matching capabilities.

If this sounds similar to what Oracle, Salesforce, Adobe and Marketo have been talking about, SAP, at least for now, claims to offer advantages. First through its market-leading analytics platform and advanced and predictive analytics  capabilities (SAP's would-be competitors in this area don't even qualify for inclusion in these Gartner Magic Quadrants) and also via its easy connectivity to brands and retail, ad budgets and inventory, or billing and collection. For companies who already use SAP products there should (ideally) be far less friction.

Contextual Insights Throughout the Customer Journey

Forget the 360 view of the customer. It's all about the contextual view now. With the latest SAP Hybris capabilities, marketers are now supposed to be able to access a wealth of information about highly specific, individual hopes, dreams, desires, visions and more.

"There's no need (for sales people) to ask so many questions because you already know (the answers)," Bernd Leukert, SAP member of the executive board at SAP for products and innovations, told conference attendees. Marketing now is about a "virtual, live view of each individual customer from inside the customer's head."

It's SAP Hybris that can make this possible. "Hybris goes beyond CRM to omnichannel for each segment. For each segment of one, it can leverage data from e-commerce, billing, marketing, sales and service," he said. 

While Hybris might have seemed to be hidden in SAP's portfolio in the past (maybe because it sits on open source Cloud Foundry, not the SAP HANA Platform), it took center stage at this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference. It provides a new kind of experience management, according to Leukert that delivers personal, contextualized content.

It can also connect to external data sources like Facebook to deliver a continuously evolving, dynamic view of the customer. And by applying machine learning, "You can know what the customer needs before he does," said Leukert.

Title image "Up" (CC BY 2.0) by rignamw