Digital capabilities are fundamentally changing every industry and area of daily life. With people spending more time online, digitization has ushered in an unprecedented convergence of individuals, businesses, and societies. Digitization has also given consumers unmatched independence and flexibility when finding information, completing tasks, and solving problems. Now, these consumers expect the same simplicity and flexibility in their business lives as well, with the ability to purchase and consume business offerings at a place, time, and mode of their choosing.
Digital transformation crosses all aspects of business. For example, expectations about financial transactions are not being set by banks, but by services such as PayPal, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay. The customer experience expectations of business software customers are not being informed by software companies, but by online retailers such as Amazon. And consumers are increasingly adopting digital touch points for work purchases, with 70% of business-to-business (B2B) revenues coming from digital channels (such as www.SAPStore.com), according to Forrester Consulting.1
The Need for Digitally Native Offerings
Digitally native offerings are already impacting our daily work lives, bringing the concept of “do-it-yourself” (DIY) to the workplace. They’re empowering those who want to solve business problems, from creating better relationships with customers, to dynamically analyzing and visualizing the results of data analysis, to booking and expensing business travel, to collaborating and sharing work with colleagues.
But what, exactly, are “digitally native” offerings? They’re the next generation of solutions, built with features that make them simple to discover, purchase, obtain, and consume digitally via a seamless, online process. These offerings can be software, content, data, or education related; the only requirements are that they’re fast, smart, easy to use, and self-sustaining (for example, Slack, Todoist, Concur solutions, TripIt, and SAP Lumira).
Last year SAP established the SAP Digital business unit to allow anyone to independently buy and use SAP and third-party offerings with minimal human interaction. Just as Amazon digitized books, Apple digitized music, and Netflix digitized television, SAP Digital is working to digitize business software, making it more consumer-friendly and enabling it to deliver instant value with minimal assistance from sales or technical support personnel.
The Need for Digitally Native Offerings
Digitally native applications are quickly permeating our daily work lives, improving productivity and efficiency, and increasing the pace of work. Their key characteristics include near-instant product provisioning; transparent, simple, and credit-card-friendly price points; DIY setup; in-app purchases, upgrades, tutorials, and support; remote usage tracking; and seamless scalability.
For example, with SAP Digital CRM, a cloud-based CRM offering, we’ve addressed simple and transparent pricing ($23 per user per month), fast provisioning (less than 30 minutes), and DIY post-purchase setup and configuration. SAP Lumira brings the efficiency of the digital age with in-app purchase and upgrade capabilities that greatly simplify the customer experience, allowing customers to purchase the product from within their trial instance and subsequently update it in an entirely self-service fashion.
As technology advances, immersive technologies such as augmented reality, personalized Internet of Things, and AI-based assistants may be common in just a few years. Businesses must be willing to evolve and embrace the new capabilities made available by digitization.
Instead of creating marginal improvements to existing business models, today’s leaders are looking to create entirely new digital experiences that reimagine the way organizations relate to customers, suppliers, and resources. I am excited to ride this digital wave and see how it evolves our professional (and personal) lives.
1 See “Mastering Omni-Channel B2B Customer Engagement,” an October 2015 study conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Accenture and SAP Hybris at bit.ly/1TTmoss. [back]