14.05.2019 / Elina Luukkanen

SSAB-ägda Ruukki Construction använder SAP C/4HANA (SAP Commerce + SAP Sales Cloud) för att driva en smidig Lead-to-Installation -process av komplexa produkter.

Ruukkis produkter når marknaden via egen marknadsföring samt flertalet distributörer och aktörer inom byggnadsindustrin. En stor del av försäljningen handlar om offertarbete där måttbeställda lösningar ska offereras och prissättas snabbt och effektivt. 85% av försäljningen sker nu digitalt, med kortare ledtider, ökad försäljning och mindre manuellt arbete som resultat. Detta är resultatet av ett målmedvet arbete med förbättring av försäljningsprocessen och verktyg. Bilot och Ruukki har samarbetat på området sedan 2006.

Kom till SAPSA VårImpuls och hör Henri Polvi från Ruukki samt Bilot dela med sig av lärdomarna av det senaste SAP C/4HANA-projektet!

Agenda:

13:00 – 13:20 Bilot & Ruukki på scenen


11.09.2018 / Krzysztof Pieszak

Podstawowym krokiem do rozpoczęcia jakichkolwiek działań marketingowych jest zebranie jak najpełniejszych danych dotyczących naszego obecnego klienta ale również i potencjalnego klienta. Zwłaszcza w czasach gdy nadmierne obciążenie działaniami marketingowymi, wywoła skutek odwrotny od zamierzonego. Staramy się zatem klientów jak najlepiej zrozumieć.

W poprzednim blogu (https://www.bilot.fi/sap-marketing-cloud-omnichannel-i-pelen-profil-klienta-skad-sie-to-bierze/ ) skupiliśmy się na wyjaśnieniu sposobu łączenia danych z różnych źródeł w jeden profil. Poniżej z kolei przedstawiamy jakie możliwości oferuje SAP Marketing Cloud (https://www.sap.com/products/crm-commerce/marketing.html ) w zakresie prezentacji posiadanych danych kontaktu. Omówimy przede wszystkim najważniejsze zakładki profilu kontaktu.

Po zalogowaniu się do systemu odszukujemy kafelek „Contacts” oraz za pomocą wyszukiwarki wyszukujemy i otwieramy interesujący nas kontakt.

Rysunek 1 Własne opracowanie na podstawie sap.com

Po otwarciu profilu kontaktu widzimy podstawowe jego dane takie jak imię i nazwisko, adres e-mail, zdjęcie, podsumowanie interakcji (kiedy i jaki nastąpił rodzaj interakcji), zgody marketingowe (zgodnie z RODO system musi zapewniać przejrzyste zarządzanie zgodami marketingowymi z klientami i zapewnić respektowanie ich przy wysyłkach – SAP Marketing Cloud przechowuje te dane. Mogą one pochodzić z wszystkich podpiętych źródeł danych), chmurę tagów z określonymi zainteresowaniami klienta oraz listę ostatnio wysłanych kampanii marketingowych.

Rysunek 2 Własne opracowanie na podstawie sap.com

Przechodząc niżej widzimy informacje o ostatnich interakcjach kontaktu z naszą firmą.

Rysunek 3 Własne opracowanie na podstawie sap.com

Dokładniejsza analiza interakcji znajduje się w menu „Interakcje”.  Na pierwszym planie widzimy chmurę tagów reprezentujących zainteresowania kontaktu. Poniżej znajdziemy suwak do ustawiania zakresu dat, z którego interakcji poszukujemy. Dzięki temu możemy w łatwy sposób wybrać interesujący nas okres w celu analizy zachowań klienta. Ikony poniżej pozwalają nam wybrać (i wyświetlić) konkretny rodzaj interakcji taki jak:

  • Sprzedaż,
  • Potencjalna szansa,
  • Szansa,
  • Spotkania,
  • Zakup w sklepie internetowym,
  • Kampanie marketingowe dla tego kontaktu (wysyłki),
  • Rozmowy telefoniczne,
  • Wydarzenia (na przykład targi),
  • E-maile,
  • Zdarzenia w sieci (rejestracja na naszej stronie www, pobranie pliku ze strony, wystawiona opinia na sklepie, porzucony koszyk)
  • Wiadomości z mediów społecznościowych

Warto podkreślić, że nie jest to skończona ilość kanałów interakcji z klientem. SAP Marketing Cloud pozwala nam na tworzenie własnych typów interakcji (np. do integracji z systemem lojalnościowym, systemem obsługi klienta, itp.).

Obraz 4 Własne opracowanie na podstawie sap.com

W zakładce „Dane Osobiste” widzimy proste podsumowanie danych podstawowych o danym kontakcie. Są tam dane komunikacyjne, obszary marketingowe (możliwość przypisania kontaktu do określonego obszaru np. globalny, kontynent, kraj, województwo, itp., który odpowiada za obsługę marketingową) oraz dodatkowe informacje (istnieje oczywiście możliwość dodania dodatkowych pól na tym ekranie w zależności od potrzeb).

Obraz 5 Własne opracowanie na podstawie sap.com

Zakładka „Origin Data” pozwala na prześledzenie w jaki sposób system dokonał połączenia danych o danym kliencie przychodzących z różnych źródeł. Dokładniej opisywana była ona w poprzednim blogu https://www.bilot.fi/sap-marketing-cloud-omnichannel-i-pelen-profil-klienta-skad-sie-to-bierze/

Kolejną równie interesującą zakładką jest zakładka prezentująca Scory. Na podstawie posiadanych danych o kliencie system potrafi wyliczyć np. poziom aktywności klienta, czy przypisać go do danej grupy klientów. Innymi słowy Scory służą do nadawania ocen rankingowych, wykorzystywanych później w działaniach marketingowych (np. w samej segmentacji). Przykładem jest score:

  • Które urodziny obchodzi kontakt,
  • Ostatnia aktywność kontaktu (kiedy ostatnio nastąpiła jakakolwiek interakcja),
  • Poziom lojalności klienta,
  • Najlepszy czas na wysyłkę marketingową,
  • Skłonność do odejścia,
  • Analiza sentymentu (badanie nacechowania postów -> skrajnie negatywne, negatywne, neutralne, pozytywne, skrajnie pozytywne) postów na serwisach społecznościowych,
  • Wiele innych, które można stworzyć za pomocą odpowiedniej aplikacji SAP Marketing Cloud –> Score Builder. Są również dostępne modele predykcyjne, za pomocą których Score można wyliczać.
Rysunek 6 Własne opracowanie na podstawie sap.com

Przechodząc do zakładki „Zgody marketingowe” widzimy w przejrzystej postaci zgody na kontakt z klientem. SAP Marketing Cloud jest w stanie zbierać je z systemów z nim połączonych. Jeśli klient zarejestrował się na jakikolwiek newsletter, ta informacja również się tam znajdzie. Na poniższym przykładzie widzimy, że klient nie zgadza się na kontakt mailowy, natomiast wyraził zgodę na kontakt za pomocą Facebooka, Twittera oraz Google Ads. Oczywiście w zależności od uprawnień SAP Marketing Cloud może tylko prezentować zgody marketingowe lub możemy dać użytkownikowi (pracownikowi działu marketingu) uprawnienia do edycji zgód. W przypadku bezpośredniego kontaktu z klientem przedstawiciel handlowy może zmienić zgodę na kontakt w systemie. System odnotuje kto i kiedy dokonał zmiany zgody. Dodatkowo w notatce przedstawiciel wpisuje powód tej zmiany.

Co nam daje zgoda na kontakt marketingowy bądź odmowa? Podczas wysyłki kampanii marketingowej system automatycznie nie uwzględni osoby na liście do wysyłki jeśli nie ma zarejestrowanej zgody na taką formę kontaktu.

Rysunek 7 Własne opracowanie na podstawie sap.com

Zakładka Commerce w przypadku integracji z systemem SAP Commerce (bądź systemem firm trzecich) pozwala na podstawie aktywności danej osoby prezentować rekomendacje zakupowe danego produktu. SAP Marketing Cloud analizuje całą historię „życia” klienta i jest w stanie zaproponować produkty, które z dużym prawdopodobieństwem zainteresują klienta (np. poprzez użycie algorytmów – np. asocjacja, najczęściej oglądane, najczęściej kupowane, top N w danej kategorii). Rekomendacje dla klienta są wyświetlane gdy przebywa on w sklepie internetowym, w miejscu udostępnionym na takie podpowiedzi.

Rysunek 8 Własne opracowanie na podstawie sap.com

W następnym blogu z kolei omówimy bardzo ciekawą funkcjonalność „Customer Journey Insight”, która pozwala zobrazować indywidualną podróż klienta od pierwszego kontaktu z naszą firmą aż do zakupu danego produktu lub usługi.


30.04.2018 / Volodymyr Rubych

I started my work on e-commerce development field more than 10 years ago from a topic of my graduation project in university. My choice was to develop a B2C store on the then-so-popular (in 2006) OsCommerce open source platform. The scope included a PIM for the OsCommerce engine, a few payment methods, shipping modules, etc.

I did an easy one, without various difficult integrations, without thinking about such important things as scalability, system performance or maintainability. Let’s say that system was monolithic, non-modular, difficult for any modifications, even from UI perspective, slow and inefficient. But the right choice was that I decided to do it using an existing open source platform.

After that, I used to work with a lot of different e-commerce platforms: wooCommerce, shopify, WP eCommerce, zencart, Magento, OpenCart, and I have practical knowledge and experience to compare them and recognize the evolution of each.

From those days, technologies have changed a lot. There’s a vast variety of new powerful e-commerce platforms available today, but only few of them are on the enterprise level and could be applied as enterprise for a large-scale businesses.

The leading companies who provide enterprise e-commerce solutions are SAP Hybris, Magento, Oracle and IBM. By chance, during the last 3 years I’ve been working on SAP Hybris projects and I can affirm that the evolution of this platform and the whole e-commerce direction is really impressive.

Moreover, based on OVUM predictions, in the nearest future the retail trends will be changing even more rapidly, so e-commerce platforms should be able to react to these changes appropriately. That’s why all of the providers/vendors are trying to move technologies and sell platforms like SAAS Cloud, which makes applications more flexible and independent with microservices, integrate AI and machine learning, etc.

It is absolutely natural that each business is unique from the perspective of business processes, workflows, company internal rules and regulations. That’s why platform providers/vendors should also maximize flexibility and make business processes configurable in their solutions out of the box.

The most difficult question for a company which has decided to create an enterprise online store is choosing whether to use an existing platform or develop their own solution from scratch. Enterprise platform is not cheap, but implementation of a custom solution can be even more expensive and, just as importantly, very time consuming.

SO WHAT SHOULD A COMPANY START FROM TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE?

First of all, the company should do some research and identify levels of risk, the main goal of the future solution, scale, scope, schedule, technologies and budget. Besides that, the goal of the future system should be predefined from the very beginning for choosing best applicable application architecture and approach in general. The goal may change or the target may become clearer during the implementation phase. As a result, it will affect solution and processes, but not the fundamental things agreed on preliminary analysis, system analysis and design phases.

If we are not limited in time and budget, implementation of an own solution is the best and the only right choice. The result is that finally, we will have a 100% match for our business needs. Is it possible in real life? Unfortunately, this is very rarely the case…

TECHNOLOGICAL STACK AND DOCUMENTATION

Nowadays, e-commerce systems are very complex and multilayered from a technical point of view. By layers, I mean such system components as CMS, ERP, CRM, and the search engine, which should be integrated into one system and cooperate with each other.

Each layer may differentiate by their own implementation and technological stack. For example, CMS part written on Java or PHP, interacts with Oracle or MySQL database, with implementation of search through SOLR. Finally, this part of e-com CMS is integrated with some third party PIM, with SAP CRM and ERP. Technologically, to maintain such a system, a company should have an expert in each layer. Let’s talk about it later.

If we choose to use an enterprise platform, in most cases we are safe with new features, future updates, required level of performance, security and quality. Instead of implementation of specific features, we can use already existing modules, plugins, or extensions. API of those systems is very flexible and easily modified and reused. Such platforms as Hybris are well documented, and professional communities and forums with required information are widely available.

An additional benefit of platform use is that all of the layers are implemented on the same technological stack, all modules inside each layer are written in the same programming language, and stable and compatible frameworks are in use. So we are avoiding a mix of technologies and approaches on the project, which are incompatible with each other and potentially may cause big issues in future.

INTEGRATIONS

System integration – The process of creating a complex information system that may include designing or building a customized architecture or application, integrating it with new or existing hardware, packaged and custom software, and communications. Most enterprises rely on an external contractor for program management of most or all phases of system development. This external vendor generally also assumes a high degree of the project’s risks.

To allow systems to be integrated easily, the development of the system API should be planned from the very beginning. As we can see from the definition above, this is the most risky, difficult and unpredictable part of each enterprise system. Most of the platforms provide their API’s for integrations and default integration mechanisms. It reduces the potential level of risk somewhat, but still this is the most difficult phase of enterprise system development.

TEAM

The implementation of a custom solution requires mature, high-skilled people who are experienced in similar kinds of development. Finding the right person who will work efficiently as a team player can be very challenging. At this stage, any lack of coordination and organizational skills will slow down the development. Furthermore, the cost of disorganization and inability to work together can be very high. Thus, meeting a tight deadline is impossible. Please note, that I haven’t even mentioned any application design mistakes people may do unintentionally, which happen very often in enterprise system development.

For a platform customization, we need mature and qualified people as well, because developers have a lot of possibilities to implement the same functionalities and features in different ways in platforms like Hybris. But they need to choose the most appropriate one, which will fit the current solution and comply with requirements.

TIME

Time is something very difficult to estimate and it’s very important to do this estimation properly. For each enterprise solution, the scope may vary rapidly, and change requests happen very often. Adaptability for market changes plays a key role in business, and it is very important to be on time and faster than your competitors.

So, developing your own solution may be too risky to choose and extremely time consuming. When using a platform, go-live with basic functionality and a team of 7 people is possible in 3 months. By basic functionality, I mean product catalog, product variants, simple promotions and order placement.

BUDGET

If time is difficult to estimate, the case with budget estimation is even more difficult, because budget depends on development time and time is an unknown variable. And just imagine the time we need to design and test an enterprise e-commerce system! Collecting requirements, analysis and design, and testing may overrun the budget for the full project.

For a platform, we just need to customize it for the company business processes. That’s why calculation of the budget is much easier in this case. We need to take into account the license cost and estimate the development efforts for platform customization due to customer needs.

FUTURE CHANGES, TESTING, SCALABILITY AND PERFORMANCE

Let’s imagine that we are done with our own B2C system development, and after looking at the positive and increasing statistics of e-commerce sales, our company has decided to take the next step and extend the system for a few more countries. This is something we should probably do from the very beginning of the project, but in practice, we would need to start development of a new system, because the scope of changes will be equal to the whole previous development.

Furthermore, the count of end users of the system is very underestimated and it affects the general system performance in the near future. Is it possible to modify existing application architecture for increasing system performance later on? Yes, but the scope of changes is huge.

What about testing and continuous delivery? Testing is my favorite topic 🙂 And as we previously discussed, most projects are multilayered, and connect a big amount of integrations with third-party systems and existing legacy systems.

In the case of our own custom solution, we should do unit testing for each separate module, integration testing for validation of modules integration inside of each layer, system testing of each layer, and finally regression testing of subsystems cooperation and the system behaviour as a whole. Lack of testing may cause financial loss and loss of company reputation. So the company needs to do testing as quickly as possible and satisfy the required level of solution quality, or do not change anything.

Rapid market changes require on-time and direct actions, that’s why changes and modifications of e-commerce solutions quite often are the real-life case. As a result, we need to apply regression testing for all the stages mentioned above.

The main benefit from using a platform from the QA perspective is that we do not need a testing platform itself. We need to test only specific changes/modifications done by us to be sure the whole system works properly. That gives us better dynamics, stability and possibilities for quick changes and continuous delivery.

MAINTENANCE

Maintaining a system or any system layers is not an issue if we are a product company and we have all the required skillset on board. But what to do if we are a company which developed a system with external resources and switched from the development stage to maintenance?

From the business point of view, it is expensive and inefficient to utilize the whole team in the maintenance stage. Companies are trying to minimize maintenance costs by using only a few persons, or even switching to a third-party company. It will also require a wider set of skills and people to maintain the system if it was developed from scratch with different technologies.

With platform usage, it is much easier to maintain the system because the company just needs a person who has the experience in development or maintaining the specific platform.

As a conclusion, only a few companies in the world have succeeded with their own implementations, I mean such companies as Amazon and Rakuten. If a company needs to go to market fast with the lowest level of risk, I’d recommend to select a strategy of development using an e-commerce platform.

Some statistics regarding leaders in e-commerce platform development can be found by the following links:

2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce report

The Forrester Wave™: B2C commerce suites, Q1 2017 report

The Forrester Wave™: B2B commerce suites, Q1 2017 report

The Forrester Wave™: B2B commerce suites for midsize organizations, Q3 2017

 

If you are interested in e-commerce development, contact us for more details (Mariusz Papiernik tel. +48 690 540 522 or Volodymyr Rubych tel. +48 733 936 306)


7.09.2017 / Mathias Hjelt

Vuosi sitten Kaupan Liiton järjestämässä KAUPPA2017-tapahtumassa digitalisaatio oli vahvasti esillä. Tämän syksyn Kaupan Trendit ’17 -seminaarissa ei niinkään. Fokus oli enemmänkin konkretiassa. Hyvä niin, koska digistä puhuminen ilmiönä ei vie maailmaa eteenpäin. Konkretiasta puhuminen kylläkin.

Mistä oikeanlaista työvoimaa? Miten kuluttajien tottumukset muuttuvat? Miten muutoksiin vastataan?

Työvoiman tarjonta ja tarpeet eivät kohtaa

SOK:n Taavi Heikkilä huomautti, että kaupan ala kasvaa, mutta sen työllistävä vaikutus pienenee. Työpaikkoja on kyllä tarjolla, mutta yritysten tarpeet, tarjolla oleva työvoima sekä palkkaamista ohjaavat työehtosopimukset eivät kohtaa.

Tämä kitka syö suomalaisten yritysten kansainvälistä kilpailukykyä.

Tehokkuutta koneista, ihmisen tuntien ostoon joustoa säätelyn sijaan

Miten tuotat asiakkaille loistavaa ja kohtuuhintaista palvelua globaalisti, 24/7?

1. KONEET AVUKSI
Futuristi linjaa, että avuksi tulee Deep Learning -edistyksiin pohjautuvat, sujuvasti kommunikoivat chatbotit sekä asiakkaan aikomusta ennustavat tuotenostoalgoritmit. Taustalla jyrää niin ikään oppiviin algoritmeihin perustuvat automaattiset varastotäydennykset ja toimituksia nopeuttavat keräilyrobotit.  Työpaikat jäävät lähinnä algoritmitreenaamisen ja robottien käskettämisen taitajille. Sekä muutamalle taitavalle sisällöntuottajalle. Toisaalta on jo nähty tilanne, jossa lukijat pitivät robotin luomaa raporttia tennisottelusta kiinnostavampana kuin toimittajan kirjoitusta…

2. IHMISET KUNNIAAN
Human-to-human-menetelmien puolestapuhuja linjaa ihmisillä olevan edelleen merkittävä rooli loistavan asiakaspalvelun tuottamisessa. Robotisoidut varastot ovat edelleen harvojen isojen yritysten herkkua. Siispä tarvitaan joustavasti ja kustannustehokkaasti ihmistyövoimaa silloin, kun reaaliaikainen kuluttaja sitä kaipaa. Työehtosopimukset ja muu säätely kaipaavat päivitystä, jotta tämä olisi mahdollista. Liian tiukat ehdot suojelevat ihmistä tehden kuitenkin työvoiman liian kalliiksi ja robotit ja halvemman työvoiman maat jyräävät ohi. Ihmisen mukavuuden ylläpito olikin lyhytkatseista.

Ehdot uusiksi ja takaisin koulunpenkille

Työn tekemisen muodot tulevat muuttumaan. Pelkkä työehtojen muokkaaminen ei riitä, jos tarjolla olevan työvoiman osaamisprofiili vanhenee.

Ehkä valkokauluksissaan näppäimistöä rääkkäävä ajattelee olevansa turvassa – robotithan vievät työn vain kassa- ja varastotyöntekijöiltä. Varaston puurtajan kanssa koulunpenkille päätyvät niin korkeakoulutetut ja vuosikymmenten työkokemusvuosien siivillä kovaa palkkaa nostavat teknologiaväkertäjät kuin digisomekonsultitkin.

Huomisen kovin tyyppi ei ole full-stack-devausta osaava palvelumuotoilija, vaan sankari, joka osaa optimoida liiketoimintaa ja asiakaspalvelua algoritmien ja robotiikan avulla.

Jokainen päättäköön, itse onko edessämme kauhuskenaario vaiko mahtavien mahdollisuuksien maailma. Ei vain kaupan alalla, vaan kaikilla liiketoiminta-alueilla.


6.04.2017 / Mathias Hjelt

Bilot has helped customers with SAP-integrated Magento B2B ecommerce for some years, but didn’t become a Magento partner until very recently. Obviously, the first thing to do as an official partner was to go “all in”, by attending Imagine 2017 in Las Vegas.

Magento Imagine is the biggest annual event for Magento customers, community members and independent software vendors to meet, learn and expand their horizons. This year, close to 3000 persons got together for 3+ days packed with tech deep-dives, customer case studies, product news, trainings, a constant flow of totally spontaneous networking – and the occasional party and sports activity.

Summarizing the overall Imagine experience, here are my top takeaways:

#1: Community is king

Magento Commerce comes in two editions – Community Edition and Enterprise Edition – but when people talk about The Community, they do not refer to these licensing flavors, but rather to the huge ecosystem of devoted partners, developers, agencies and merchants who live and breathe Magento.

Compared to the partner landscape around many commercial enterprise software products I’ve experienced, the one around Magento one is clearly different. This is due to the open source nature of Magento. Partners truly collaborate, share knowledge, code and best practices, and do their best to influence the product code base — all for the greater good.

Key takeaway #1: Community members work on making the cake bigger and better, rather than fiercely competing over the same parts of the cake. Everybody wins.

At an event like Imagine, the community spirit becomes really tangible. Developers, who during the year collaborate on Github and Twitter, get a chance to chat over beer, deliver official talks (like SnowDog’s Bartek @igloczek who was on stage about how Magento UX should really be done) – or go for a voluntary run with like-minded. This year, the community-enthusiast-driven #BigDamRun took nearly 200 orange Magento people for a sunny 10 km trail run in the hills by Hoover Dam, and ended up in CEO Mark Lavelle’s keynote deck.

20170404_092814[1] copy

#2: The product is booming

Since Magento hasn’t perhaps been in the hottest spotlight of analyst reports (watch out for the upcoming Gartner quadrant, though!), and has had a bit of a bumpy ride in terms of previous ownership, the occasional bystander could perhaps assume that Magento isn’t the most “happening” platform in the game. Big mistake!

Looking back, 2016 was very active: Magento acquired RJMetrics and turned it into Magento Business Intelligence, a cloud based all-in-one ETL & DW & visualization package for commerce analytics. Magento acquired BlueFoot CMS, which will be integrated in Magento 2.3 slated for H2 2017. Magento launched Digital Commerce Cloud for those who prefer to let the vendor take care of sizing, hosting and platform management. Magento launched its own Order Management module. And made Magento Commerce 2 a lot better. (FitForCommerce presented a semi-scientific study on total cost of implementation, indicating that implementation efforts have decreased as Magento 2 has matured!)

Key takeaway #2: Magento is investing heavily in expanding the platform in many different directions at the same time. This is a clear signal: Magento means serious business. With the help of the community, it’ll be hard to fail.

What next? Imagine 2017 had some launches to unveil: Magento Shipping simplifies integration with shipping providers. Magento Social takes your commerce to Facebook etc. The Magento B2B Module, scheduled for 2.2 in Q3, brings a host of serious B2B functionality to Magento Commerce. B2B features which previously required 3rd party extensions or custom coding will now be available out of the box, e.g:

  • personalized / shared catalogs
  • bulk ordering
  • recently purchased items & requisition lists
  • corporate accounts with hierarchical buyer organization modelling
  • fine-grained user permissions
  • self-registration of corporate accounts
  • RFQ and quoting process

Obviously, most bigger clients will need to integrate these B2B features with their backend system such as SAP ERP, but it’s great that the basic functionality is available. Partners like Bilot are available for the end-to-end integration magic.

As silence falls over Vegas…

Well, Las Vegas never goes silent, but Imagine does come to an end. Thousands head back home, reversing their #RoadToImagine trips, taking new insights and inspiration with them to their daily lives as merchants, developers, ISVs and Magento employees.

I can warmly recommend Magento Imagine to anyone interested in hooking up with community members, learning about the platform, or hearing real-life customer success stories related to Magento. Definitely happy that I joined this year. And I’m glad I brought my running shoes!


3.04.2017 / Mika Tanner

I’ve been working in the SAP domain for almost 20 years. Well to be precise maybe only for about half of the time – the majority of the past decade I’ve been surfing many SAP waves but the tide has been pushing me towards an ocean full of other technologies, applications and platforms.

Not because SAP would lack gravitational pull but because my passion has been to identify and understand the customers’ business opportunities they are trying to find with software in general – but meanwhile SAP has seemingly retarded to a contender position from being a strong leader.

I am far from being tech-savvy, but I’ve been trying to keep my eyes peeled and ears curled to emerging trends and tech-talk and preferably from a customer perspective. Since my core business is promising and delivering enterprise grade business applications to meet the most rigorous requirements of the digital age, I am often asked to decipher and articulate the megatrends of our time.

Sometimes the questions deal with general architectural considerations and about software development but usually those who approach me are senior business management who understand strategy, business requirements and financial consequences better than tech-talk.

As a vendor and being branded with a certain technology association, the queries are mostly about how I see the competitiveness of SAP with regards to surrounding alternatives: force.com vs. SAP CRM, force.com vs. SAP commerce, Qlik vs, SAP business intelligence, SAP S/4 as a strategy, SAP Hybris vs. the rest of the commerce alternatives et cetera.

Best-of-breed era

Monolithic ERP driven platforms still populate the global IT landscapes, but ERP-driven thinking faded into oblivion about decade ago and since then there has been a clear best-of-breed era, but for different reasons than before. I would characterize today’s Best-of-Breed software as Purpose-Driven software/application development. Better interoperability, better connectivity, more reliable cloud platforms, improved and advanced development disciplines and disruptive, democratizing digital platforms have changed the entire game.

 

ERP-driven thinking faded into oblivion about decade ago.

 

The center of gravity is no longer in controlled business processes and operational efficiency but rather in microservices – (single)purpose-built, cloud-based applications which can semantically be perishable. Enterprises still need resource planning, but as the modern business environment changes the denominators for planning has changed. Enterprises also seem to have more and more guts to design their entire architecture with bolder strokes with a particular strategic capability in mind – data, change agility, customer experience, commerce.

Understanding and creative solving

Design thinking positions a desired priority e.g. the customer centered at the origin and that dictates how the whole architecture is pieced together. Semantically this can be solution centric or problem centric, but either way, it is a process of understanding and creative solving. My expectation would be that the end-solution still has an ERP somewhere in the landscape but perhaps in a different role than what it was originally designed for.

As the global consumers are natively digital, the expectation of the business framework they operate in is dictating how enterprise applications should look like, how they should be developed, where they can/should be used from and what they should do. When the desired vantage point is not an inside-out, stable central system of records but rather a system of engagement, superior customer experience, digital superiority and nimble development, the perspective changes dramatically.

It is all about responsiveness and agility

From my perspective, the biggest impact has been and will be on the boardroom. The modern business environment is all about responsiveness and agility. Business need to have instruments to collect, analyze and understand data and to quickly adapt to these stimuli. The massive need for continuous new development translates to a need to radically reduce the investment-per-capability ratio.

 

My expectation would be that the end-solution still has an ERP somewhere in the landscape but perhaps in a different role than what it was originally designed for.

 

Businesses need to be increasingly engagement-driven and they need to understand the fastest and most reliable way to create and deploy new business designs which differentiate

I would pay really close attention to the speed at which e.g. low-code development, self-service development and progressive web applications are proceeding. In an era of learning fast, investment paradigms need a thorough reboot into current times and to enable strategic agility, the boardroom needs to quickly improve their digital acumen. I would also seriously appreciate solution/technology-driven demand as a mind-set. It might make sense to do some scenario-analysis where existing but unexploited modern technology collides with conventional/old-school business-models, how it would change the way you do your business. Are there new businesses to be innovated?

 

I would pay really close attention to the speed at which e.g. low-code development, self-service development and progressive web applications are proceeding.

 

The more companies begin to inject new technologies into their business framework, the more they need to think about how these capabilities are truly exploited. Industrial Internet/IoT, machine learning, big data, predictive analytics and advanced robotics are common examples of development areas which have severe application consequences. Low-code development platforms enable rapid application delivery with minimal (or none) need for hand-coding.

Is there any role for SAP?

This sounds like developing new digital applications can be delegated to nearly anyone. Or can it? And should it? There are surely many considerations such as security, complexity, maintenance and support which need to be addressed before you can cut everyone loose to develop low-code applications.

 

In my view, low-code development is really good news for SAP in the long run.

 

How does SAP fit into the low-code equation, is it threatened by it or will it create unlimited opportunities? In my view, low-code development is really good news for SAP in the long run. It will provide excellent means to capitalize on the core: SAP’s robust and reliable Tier-1 system of records. Rapid application development as Tier-2 approach will unlock the full potential of ERP by providing a new way to build new capabilities as easily as playing around with Legos.


30.03.2017 / News Team

Bilot on edelläkävijä ja markkinajohtaja raskaansarjan B2B-verkkokauppojen ja digitaalisen asiakaspalvelun toteuttajana. Tarjotakseen asiantuntemustaan uusille markkinoille, Bilot kumppanoituu Magenton, johtavan avoimen lähdekoodin verkkokauppa-alustan tarjoajan kanssa.

”Olemme auttaneet suuryrityksiä uudistamaan B2B-kanaviaan vuodesta 2005 lähtien. Emme tarjoa vain perinteistä verkkokauppaa, vaan haluamme auttaa asiakkaitamme luomaan täysin uusia liiketoimintamalleja ja arvoketjuja.

Tähän asti olemme tarjonneet B2B-verkkokaupparatkaisuja lähinnä high-end-alustoja, kuten SAP Hybristä hyödyntäen. Vastauksena keskisuurten ja kasvavien asiakkaidemme toiveisiin, olemme päättäneet laajentaa tarjontaamme kumppanoitumalla Magenton kanssa”, sanoo Jussi Hauru, Bilotin Commerce-alueen liiketoimintajohtaja.

Bilot on SAP:n kultatason kumppani ja tunnettu jo vuosikymmenen ajan vahvana tekijänä SAP-teknologiaan luottavissa yrityksissä niin Suomessa kuin Puolassakin.
Vuosien varrella Bilot on toimittanut liiketoimintakriittisiä verkkokaupan ratkaisuja suurelle osalle Suomen top 100 -yrityksistä. Yhdistämällä vuosien kokemuksensa B2B-prosesseista Magenton ketterään ekosysteemiin, Bilot pääsee tarjoamaan uusia mahdollisuuksia asiakkailleen.

”Tavoitteenamme on auttaa kaikenkokoisia asiakkaitamme saamaan kaiken irti verkkokauppa-alustastaan. Hyöty ei synny pelkästään rakentamalla visuaalisesti nätti kauppa, vaan kokonaisuudessa pitää huomioida saumaton integraatio ERP, CRM ja tuotetiedonhallinnan -järjestelmiin sekä liiketoimintaa tukeva analytiikka”, täsmentää Mathias Hjelt, Bilotin tarjoomasta vastaava johtaja.

Katy Wilson, Magenton Channel Development Manager, kommentoi tuoretta kumppanuutta: ”Bilotin vahva SAP-osaaminen sekä intohimo B2B- ja suuryritystason ratkaisuihin tuo kumppaniekosysteemiimme tärkeää uutta osaamista.”

Bilotin toimitusjohtaja Mika Tanner on innoissaan kumppanuudesta. ”Liittyminen Magento-ekosysteemi on seuraava askel strategiassamme. Kumppanuus tukee visiotamme olla todellinen yhden luukun kauppa kaikkiin asiakasrajapinnan kehittämiseen tarpeisiin: asiakkuuden johtamisesta kenttähuoltoon, käyttöliittymästä taustajärjestelmiin. Avoimen lähdekoodin maailma avaa meille uusia markkinoita ja tarjoaa mukavasti bensaa kansainvälistymismatkallemme.”

Lisätiedot:
Mika Tanner, CEO
+358 40 544 0477
mika.tanner@bilot.fi
Twitter: @MikaTanner


30.03.2017 / News Team

Bilot is a pioneer and market leader in heavy-duty B2B ecommerce and digital customer service. In a move to bring its expertise to new markets, Bilot partners with Magento, the leading open source ecommerce platform provider.

“We’ve been helping enterprise clients remodel their B2B channels since 2005. We go far beyond traditional ecommerce: our passion is building capabilities for new business models and value chains. Until now, we’ve primarily been delivering solutions based on commercial high-end commerce platforms such as SAP Hybris. In response to market demand, we’ve decided to expand our footprint to the mid-market segment by teaming up with Magento,” says Jussi Hauru, Business Lead for Commerce and co-founder of Bilot.

Bilot is a SAP Gold Partner and has earned a strong recognition among SAP-powered businesses in Finland and Poland for over a decade. Over the years, Bilot has delivered business critical ecommerce solutions to a large share of the Top 100 companies in its home market. Exploiting this expertise in advanced B2B processes and full-stack enterprise development to the Magento ecosystem opens up new possibilities for Bilot and its customers.

“We put a lot of effort in identifying and delivering the best possible solutions to our customers. Our mission will be to help customers of all sizes get the most value out of their ecommerce platform, with rock solid integration to ERP, CRM, PIM and analytics“, elaborates Mathias Hjelt, Director of Portfolio and Offering.

Katy Wilson, Channel Development Manager at Magento, also commented on the partnership: “We’re excited to have new partners like Bilot join the Magento ecosystem. Bilot’s expertise with SAP and passion for B2B and enterprise grade solutions fills out our partner landscape with important capabilities.”

Bilot CEO Mika Tanner is excited about the partnership. “Joining the Magento ecosystem is a logical next step in our strategy. It strongly supports our overall vision of being a true one-stop-shop for all needs related to managing the customer lifecycle, from marketing to aftersales, from front-end to backend. The open source world will also give us access to new markets and fuel our international agenda.”

Press contact
Mika Tanner, CEO
+358 40 544 0477
mika.tanner@bilot.fi
Twitter: @MikaTanner


13.10.2016 / Mika Tanner

Digitalization is the third most important global mega-phenomenon of mankind. The first was the invention of fire as a means of cooking. Being better fed helped develop the brain leading mankind to more sophisticated achievements. The second was industrialization, which enabled true scale and networked economies, paved the way for globalization, created the need for platforms and fueled accelerated technological progress.

“The Digital Revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even of printing” – Douglas Engelbart

Each phenomenon will have had a larger impact on our ecosystem than was ever imaginable. As a phenomenon, digitalization has a wide range of definitions and associates including but not limited to data, robotics, industrial internet, mobility, social, analytics, cloud, e-commerce and other e-services. It is a process of moving an “analog” business into the digital age by means of applying digital technologies to change a business model and can be disruptive by nature. As a phenomenon, digitalization is maturing – the term itself is even wearing out and becoming the new normal. The actual development is however in very early stages.

I am interested primarily in understanding the Who’s and What’s and the How’s – the Why is a no-brainer. For me at least.


WHO – “Is the CDO a rogue in the team?”

Does your company have a digital strategy? If so, what is the context? Who is driving it? What is the target? Why is it important for you? Now that digitalization has become a boardroom topic and the community of Chief Digital Officers spawning at an exponential rate, it is increasingly interesting to understand what the digital agenda is now and how it will evolve. Are digitalization budgets more relaxed than IT budgets? Do CDO’s have sufficient eligibility to leverage the full potential of digital solutions? Is the CDO merely a reincarnation of the CTO or a fashionable, upgraded version of the CIO with enhanced digital acumen?

Many of these questions await answers. Based on my discussions with my network of executives, digitalization is present in more or less all corporate strategies. Sometimes it is included as a menacing threat or an enormous opportunity. More often it is an integral element or even a stand-alone strategic component and in a few cases digitalization takes center stage. Based on a fairly recent study by PWC, the CDO is still a rarity (in only 6% of companies), but rapidly increasing and the job description, role and responsibility can vary from company to company, from industry to industry. The study also indicates that the CDO’s most common background is marketing and sales (>50%) and technology in only 14% of the cases. This suggests that a customer-focused agenda is one of the key drivers in digitalization.

The digital agenda appears to be often about technology, but equally often it is also about people and change management, new ways of thinking, business transformation. Depending on who you talk with, the angle or vantage point may be data, platforms, architecture, applications, customer needs – each of them can be argued being the Driver for the whole development and evolution.

Undoubtedly, one of the most immense and almost infinite source of digital opportunity is data. For some, digitalization is only about data – it ignites, enables and drives digitalization. It is all about how to efficiently capture, analyze, exploit and convert data into new digital (or analog) business. For some digitalization is largely about paying back technical debt and for others it is concepts and conception of disruptive digital solutions creating new business. And for some, the customer is the focal point and point-of-origin of all digitalization. Digitalization is very context sensitive and hence the googol of views and opinions written about the subject.


WHAT – “Digitalization is the symbiotic relationship between The Customer and Information”

The context in which I like best to talk about digitalization is in the symbiotic relationship between The Customer and Information which translate into Customer Driven solutions and Data Driven solutions.

donitsipng

Firstly. the role of the customer will never erode; customer focus is eternally in fashion. Without customers, there is no business. Digitizing the customer journey is not an innovative trend but a core competency. Without Data there is no Analytics. Without analytics, there is little intelligence. Without intelligence, there is little insight.

And thirdly, keeping the customer-centric and data-driven digital context erect is Platforms. Platforms, whether you see them as technology platforms or business process platforms or even business-model platforms, are the bedrock of digital transformation. Platforms are a mindset. Platforms sound synonymous to rigidness but are actually the foundation for agile development and nimble deployment. Platforms unite ecosystems, resources and capabilities in the creation of digital services.

Customer driven solutions are typically built for the touchpoints businesses have with their customers and prospects. The customer journey is all about customer experience starting from exposure to marketing and spanning through account management, commerce, other business exchanges and portals to a continuum of providing digital solutions to the customer interface. A customer-driven agenda is a common sermon and most software vendors are preaching it. My belief is that customer-driven solutions are not sufficient in isolation. They need to be turbo-charged with analytics and insight. They need to be able to exploit existing processes and logic and render these to emerging new processes.

Amalgamating data with customer touchpoints differentiates and taps into multiple sources of competitive advantage. Touch-points need not be confined to the customer context only – a touch-point can be any interface/interaction/stimulus which is relevant for the chosen context. Coupled with (customer) touchpoints, data provides necessary enablers for e.g. profitability analysis, commerce analytics, loyalty analytics, pricing optimization, search optimization, smart searchandizing to name a few. It also embeds context relevant exploitation of e.g. IoT, Big Data, predictive analytics etc.


It is not easy to define a digital strategy. Where to start? What kind of architecture to design? Which solutions to select? Which platforms to use? Go for custom code or opt for packaged software?

HOW – “The Responsive Layer, The Enablement Layer and The Core”

Early adopters of digitalization have typically started by building a digital layer, which is only loosely coupled with back-end solutions. The obvious benefit with this approach is that conceiving a custom-code digital process is relatively quick – the drawback being shorter longevity and high integration and maintenance costs. When time-to-profit is the only driver, such a strategy can prove to be optimal in the short term.

Building a digital platform and/or using packaged software may look like a steeper investment even if the ROI proves to be attractive in the long run. Such investments are often quite front-loaded, but you can reap benefits by means of modularity, re-use and efficient continuous innovation and maintenance.

Another approach is to apply the Bilot 3ModeTM “best-of-both-worlds” approach where there are three distinctive layers constituting the solution architecture: The Responsive Layer, The Enablement Layer and The Core. It is a pragmatic way of creating IT business outcomes.

3modepng

The sweetspot of 3ModeTM is between the enablement layer and the core. This is where the magic happens. This is where the slow-paced operations of the core are aligned with agile development of the enablement layer. The best organizations implementing this, implement the best digital services.

As a summary, my belief is that digitalization is most beneficial when there is a clear customer driven, data-enabled and platform-savvy strategy. These three should be in perfect unison and considered as one strategy. de-coupling them will only cause tremors and is fundamentally pointless. Which building blocks to use is important. There are fit-for-purpose solutions for all application/technology areas and apart from capable integrators, nowadays it is hard to find single-source for packaged solutions which will embrace the whole solutionscape. It is of paramount importance to understand the customer agenda, who is driving it and what is the competitive advantage or other strategically relevant objectives.