Last updated: In a CX minute: Thoughts on customer experience, June 16, 2021

In a CX minute: Thoughts on customer experience, June 16, 2021


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Welcome back to in a CX Minute, episode 11.

Lots going on these days here, and I must confess – I am a little behind on most of what I want to accomplish here. Been a little over 12 weeks (three months) since I first started this, so allow me to run down the reasons why this (and more) exists.

TL; DR – Esteban thinks he found the way to manage long-term change in enterprises – the fool.

When I took this role, Evangelist, some nine months ago, I had no clue to what I was doing (thus, the name of the video segment is “I don’t know what I am doing – with friends”).  I knew that it was very important to have conversations that allowed us (SAP) to talk about what was important to us.

🎼 By now you should’ve somehow
Realized what you gotta do 🎼

In a market with a 400-lb gorilla (scientifically speaking, an 800-lb gorilla is a misnomer, as most of them top around 300-350, with a few making it to 400 — thus the correct term is 400-lb gorilla to refer to the bigger one of the clan. Anything bigger than that is an unhealthy gorilla that has settled into bad human habits – make your own conclusions on why I added that…) it is very rare a smaller vendor gets to tell their story; we usually follow said gorilla into a client, and they already seeded the conversation and the education of the client with what’s convenient to them. In these realms, seldom does the best solution shine – it is usually the most used.

For us to succeed in changing the conversations, three things need to happen:

  1. We must have a killer narrative that tells why we are the supreme better solution (and for whom and when)
  2. We must align internally behind that solution, so we all speak the same language and understand our power
  3. We change the course of the conversation in the market towards our narrative

I knew I could effect (yes, properly used – trust me) this change at SAP and in the market, but I needed time and the right resources.

This newsletter was the first step – I needed a place to share research, concepts, new ideas, summaries of conversations, and more related to how this narrative was being created. That was the critical first step (still is) – to have the proper narrative of why CX is what is it, what is the value to customers, to us, and how we serve that value proposition.

It’s too simple (and naïve) to say something like “CX is the largest market in enterprise tech and at nearly $80BB in 2025, let’s do something about it!” I mean, every vendor starts there – but this is not about money (maybe a little); it is about serving our customers better.

🎼 I’m sure you’ve heard it all before
But you never really had a doubt 🎼

We are the largest enterprise tech company in the world, with the largest number of clients (at least for a while longer) and we have the greatest opportunity, one that no one else has: we have over 425,000 companies that are invested in us and our success in CX.

We don’t need to follow someone else’s path – we need to certify ours.  We need to make sure everyone understands our narrative and use that to design our products and move them forward.

We had forgotten that.

Thankfully, since October of 2019 (with the return of Mr. Bob Stutz) we began to address that neglect. They say that you cannot turn a tanker on a dime, and that you can teach an elephant to dance – and they said we could not recover from our neglectful position in the market. Thankfully, the last one was not true. I am part of a very large, very motivated team that has set to prove that last one wrong – and progress is being made at incredible pace. We need to share some of that, and give you a peek behind the curtain.

I have been sharing with you pieces of our thinking and our narrative, and we exposed a bit more at SAPPHIRENOW last week – and will share more as we evolve it, and as our incredible team gets behind it, adopts it, and implements it. It’s a process, and we are on our way with a lineup of resources to make it happen – this is what we have to offer:

(Was that a long run-around? Burying the lede? 

Nah, its storytelling and setting the stage… this is how changing the narrative works)

  • This weekly newsletter will continue to bring you links, ideas, discussion points, and snippets of conversations (we are about 12 weeks into this, it was a good time to take note of what we did but more importantly – what needs to be done). This is the basis for everything we are doing to change the narrative. We appreciate you reading and know you will continue to share with anyone else who is interested in the progress of CX (and if you are not, shame on you – for shame).
  • My presence in LinkedIn gives me a great platform to ask the questions that must be asked, and to have the fun conversations with people who are interested in CX. If you are not following there, please do so. Best way to be appraised of what is what and how we progress.

🎼 Because maybe
You’re gonna be the one that saves me 🎼

An old post I did on ecosystems was a great starter for a good discussion on whether the customer is at the center of the ecosystem (it is not), and how to set up an ecosystem.

We’re building our CX solution not as a group of products (as we did before, and everyone else has been doing for a while and still – but I digress) but as an ecosystem. That discussion helped shape our narrative and the market perception of these ecosystems and fueled a deeper internal conversation about them as well. And a funky video that has too much in-depth philosophy about ecosystems but was a fantastic conversation.

The latest discussion on Chick-Fil-A “experience” (it is not, please stop conflating interactions with experiences) served to help me write a new article (soon, be patient) on employee experience, customer experience, and employee culture (that followed the previous discussion on employee experience and customer experience in LinkedIn from earlier in the week), to write the next ZDNet article, and it is also shaping how we build our ecosystem with our “sister” SAP HXM and integrate deeper into the BTP.

Everything ties together, and everything is part of the long-term vision.

The video series that started with Dan Miller as an attempt to expand LinkedIn conversations has become a product of its own – and am happy to report we are building a YT channel and better distribution for those videos. Will share that when ready, but you can find the videos in the SAP CX YT channel for now.  I have recorded a couple more this week, and have many more lined up, and they remain as they were: eclectic and driven by the conversation.

Do you have something interesting to say? Want to talk about it in my “bar”? Contact me.

That video series, by the way, will begin to publish every three weeks or so (hate official calendars, but expect to see a new video every three weeks or so, maybe Monday or maybe Friday… or maybe just about four weeks – will see).

The ZDNet column I started got amazing reception and the second installment should be coming out this week. The purpose of that is to write more on a thought leadership, vision slant. Ideas that require more than 400-500 words and a couple of links. The more “cooked” ideas, and the stuff that makes it into our product design guidelines, goes there. Publishes once a month-ish (hopefully) and already have a lineup of about 12-15 articles I am working on (of course, ideas are welcome as the first 6-8 articles came from a conversation, I had with a friend about what needed to be done).

The progression would be – in a CX minute calls attention to research or articles or books or what-nots that I used to shape my ideas, which may then be discussed in LinkedIn, talked about in IDKWIAD-WF (I don’t know what I am doing – with friends) with a smart person that helps me round out concepts, and then goes to big concept and ends up being published in ZDNet.

At the same time, all this is making its rounds internally, in team meetings and discussions with strategists and GMs and product managers and being integrated into our product narratives and roadmaps.

🎼 There are many things that I
Would like to say to you 🎼

I am afraid I did not include any links or conversations or pointers in this week’s edition – but I also operate best in “working out loud” (thanks Alan Berkson for the concept) and sharing what we are doing. This is important because there is no short-term fix for what we need to do – but we are well on our way, and you’ll be impressed over the next few to more months when you see what comes out of our work. Want to make sure you knew it was a well thought out process, not simply a fluke of engineering.

What do you think? How are you handling your long-term initiatives at work? Vendors are not the only ones that need evangelists BTW – we all need a long-term focus and a short-term execution plan.

Does this resonate with you? Let me know, below at comments – find me on LinkedIn, or – email me at the world’s worse kept secret (my email address is neither hard to guess, nor private, or hard to find if you missed the first two.)

Talk soon, as we have been.

Read all of the ‘In a CX Minute’ content HERE.

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