SAP Retail Summit Features Strong Partner Ecosystem

After many months of planning and tracking, of dry-runs and reviews, the time had finally arrived for retail colleagues and partners from around the world to descend upon The Hague for the first-ever SAP Retail Summit 2014!

Retail Forum 1More than 800 retail colleagues and partners created an exceptional experience at The Hague. The enthusiasm was infectious, the participation unprecedented and the experience unlike anything before. From opening evening reception and event kickoff, to Live Demo Theater sessions, to insightful and inspiring keynotes, to a lively beach party and closing keynotes, this retail summit will live with us for a long time to come.

This summit represented a coming together of many talented colleagues aspiring for ever higher achievements and connecting as One Team.  The summit quickly became a winning attitude and provided a space for the creation of real and tangible bridges across roles and geographies, across the new and the seasoned, and across committed partners and SAP colleagues. We were honored to have a set of amazing customers at this retail summit: from Oxylane/Decathlon sharing their passion on the keynote stage with Pat Bakey to the phenomenal breakout sessions by our customers sharing their experience: Axfood, Chico’s, Dansk Supermarked, SPAR, Grand Vision, and Destky Mir.

Bakey, Global General Manager Retail, set the stage for a new reality in retail driven by consumer-led change with a growing global middle class, and the rise of the millennials. He challenged the attendees to be bold and confident – to embrace our role of helping retailers rethink and execute on their business strategy. Franck Cohen, President EMEA region, provided the audience with his unique perspective and urged the audience to have a strong retail point of view and to deliver value where “industry must be the number one dimension.”

Representing Development, Services, and Solution Management respectively, Thomas Vetter, Joerg Wagner, and I delivered keynotes and compelling demos that conveyed recent innovations in the retail portfolio. Such innovations are designed to simplify and enhance the user experience across retail solutions as well as reduce implementation cost and speed up time to value. The unqualified game changer, SAP Customer Activity Repository powered by SAP HANA, represented the foundational platform to pull together multiple data across applications in real time without replicating data.

retail Forum 2The first day’s keynotes ended with an energizing talk by Scott McKain on creating differentiation through distinction. He compellingly argued that marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories that your customers tell about you; always make your customer the hero. The keynotes on Tuesday included a strategically significant session on the “changing role of CMO in retail” which was led and moderated by Nancy Casey. The panel included David Shaw, Kim Kraglund, Prof. Dr. Ralf Strauss, and hybris’ Cliff Conneighton. A surprise video shout-out by SAP CEO Bill McDermott to the summit audience was an uplifting surprise!

But what was truly remarkable at the SAP Retail Summit was the energy and dedication of our partners and exhibitors; they were integral to the experience and the winning attitude – they were fully engaged across the board. One clear example was the energetic postings by Nixon Xavier of Applexus (global IT services) in the summit mobile app – Nixon realized the top of the leaderboard despite much nipping at his heels! Consider:

  • Applied Data Corporation – integrated Fresh Item Management suite
  • Atos – international IT services
  • Capgemini – global provider of consulting, technology and outsourcing services
  • CitiXsys – iVend Retail Management suite
  • Cognizant – IT, consulting and business process services
  • gicom – Integration and implementation of special processes between traders, CP and Retail companies
  • GK software – leading store solution provider and key component in OmniCommerce experience
  • KPS – leading European transformation consultancy
  • Motorola – business and mission critical communications products
  • RBM Technologies – Retail Planogram solution optimizing the last mile of SAP PMR/SAP Customer Activity Repository
  • Reply – design and implementation of solutions based on new communication channels and digital media
  • Vistex – global leader in pricing, contract, and incentive management solutions and services

They all came ready to share and learn with a focus on delivering unprecedented customer value. These were not simply exhibitors, but committed SAP Retail partners committed to our strategic direction, excited about our innovations, and already are or exploring ways to fill white space and extend on industry platform plays such as SAP Customer Activity Repository. These partners and our open ecosystem are crucial to our ability to accelerate through our aggressive cloud growth objectives.

An especially interesting case in point is gicom – an SAP Pinnacle Award winner in 2012 and DACH Partner Excellence Award 2013 in the category of Innovation. Founded in 1997, the company focuses on innovation, integration, and implementation of special processes between retailers and their vendors. In Thomas Vetter’s keynote, he emphasized the foundational importance of SAP Customer Activity Repository in the future delivery of a first-ever Industry Cloud – that includes partner consuming apps – as means for retailers to pursue a true OmniChannel experience for their customers. He also announced that SAP Customer Activity Repository is now available on the Amazon Cloud for our partners to develop their own apps in a very quick way. Supporting Thomas, Patrick Muyal presented one of these partner cloud apps – Margin Development Analysis app by gicom which is available at the SAP App Store and running on an Amazon Cloud powered by SAP HANA.

When tied to SAP Customer Activity Repository and the underlying Unified Demand Forecast, the Margin Development Analysis app can aid merchants in real-time with their negotiating strategies with vendors for direct merchandise on the attractiveness of a specific promotional deal package. So combining standard SAP ERP functionality such as Contract Settlement, Agency Business, and Trading Contract with innovative partner solutions such as those from gicom can simplify a retailer’s business process across purchasing hierarchies while expanding the end-to-end set of options around vendor agreements, vendor funds, and multi-layered settlements. A great example of how we can out-innovate the competition with the right set of partners, leaping to the cloud with SAP Customer Activity Repository, and powered by SAP HANA.

In the closing keynote, Pat Bakey urged the audience of SAP and partner colleagues to think about speed in new ways; time is our enemy, we need to infuse speed in everything we do. How will we win the future of retail? We win by combining size, scale, innovation and speed. For retailers this is a moment of opportunity, risk, and transformation. For each of us we need to understand and appreciate the impact – recognize this moment in time, this is our moment. We have the right vision, the best solutions, the best model, and the best team and partner ecosystem anywhere!

Lori Mitchell-Keller is senior vice president of Global Industry Business Unit for Retail at SAP.

Top Image: Shutterstock

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