Category Archives: Digital Content Strategy

Enter the Digital Consumer, Driver, Services Buyer


LinkedIn Pulse The driver consumer holds the keys to $1.5T in future vehicle enabled digital services.


Working with a number of our large automotive customers, it becomes clear that what it means to become digital – and to run a digital business – can take on many forms and meanings to different companies based on their organization and their position in the automotive value chain. I have written about the advent of connected platforms, whereby suppliers are moving to land grab specific elements of the ecosystem and lay claim to their use. This includes a number of scenarios about the enhancement and transmission of information from the individual consumer as a driver whether it be to the car, the home, the household appliance and mobile device. McKinsey estimates the market for vehicle enabled digital services to grow to $1.5T by the year 2030.

Understanding how the consumer will function as a services buyer, however, is an entirely different matter whether that individual is a personal vehicle owner, rideshare passenger, renter or simply a passenger in a friend’s car out to the movies and dinner. And while automakers are determining how to enable that customer experience one thing is clear: the driver consumer wants the same, easy to use experience to carry with them from one vehicle to the next, regardless of role or method of use of a vehicle.

What do I mean by this? Digitally connected customers move seamlessly across vehicles with their secured personal identity and profile available for the use and purchase of services. Vehicles maintain the most driver desired customer experience based on real time feedback to engineering designers, significantly reducing warranty claims and updating software during non-use windows. It shouldn’t matter if I’m a passenger in a rideshare or renting a luxury vehicle for the weekend in the big city, my wallet and profile move with me based on personal credentials, personal preferences (pre-sent entertainment, services palate, etc.) and secure on-board data connectivity.

Vehicles are maintained based in similar consistency. Soft service events – uploading software versions or even tuning firmware – occur in off peak times or as needed based on severity. Hard service events occur at low-use hours to reduce labor and operating expense while maximizing availability of vehicles during peak times. Parts are available as needed, at the quickest route to service locations.

Automakers are learning more about the advanced options to support consumer connectivity as drivers, buyers and passengers and the ability that secure data environments supported by SAP HANA can deliver.

This article previously appeared in LinkedIn Pulse and D!gitalist Magazine. Learn more about trends in autonomous and connected vehicles at SAPPHIRENOW in Orlando, Florida (May 15-19) and secure your spot today!


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Filed under automotive, Digital Content Strategy, Mobile Society, Strategy, Technology

Why Customer Engagement Matters – Customer Dynamics and Business Judo

My briefing on The Customer Edge with host Butch Stearns and colleague Matt Healey from Technology Business Research provided the post-game interview with SAP Insider CRM 2014 conference.  Some highlights may also be found in my LinkedIn post this week, including some thoughts around generational shifts around social marketing expectations and the business judo that needs to happen to give the power of the brand back to the customer.


Click on the photo to go to the briefing or select this link


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Filed under Big Data, Business Analytics, Change Management and Leadership, Cloud Computing, Digital Content Strategy, Innovation, Marketing and Social Business, Millennial Worker Shift, Mobile Society, Operations, Strategy, Technology

Changing Intended Human Behavior, and Liking It

More on my coverage of convergence forces, recently I interviewed a number of customers and executives at the SAP CRM 2014 conference in Las Vegas.  One of the big topics was the focus of location-based services, social, and predictive analytics to offer real-time perks to consumers who have opted-in for such deals.

I’m walking through the park with my wife and I receive a notification on my smart phone.  Because my wife and I enjoy a particular film festival, an offer comes to us for a free ticket with one purchase to an event happening in a nearby venue.  When we finish a lovely movie experience, we receive additional offers for a bite of dinner from three local establishments which we have frequented in the past.  We have taken a leisurely stroll in the park and extended this into a full day of entertainment and relaxation.

Science fiction? Hardly, as we saw this week at the SAP Insider CRM 2014 conference in Las Vegas the citizens of Montreal can live this experience every day with the use of the Societe du Transport Montreal (STM) application.  This location-based customer engagement mobile app identifies where the citizen is, how they can route from point to point inside the city’s transit system, and offer perks and offers along the way by participating establishments which the citizen may or may not already have a customer history with.

This was just one of several customer engagement (CE) scenarios that were discussed with applications across a wide range of product and service industries from public sector, to telecommunications, to discrete manufacturers. Unlike other location based services apps driven by big data where data privacy issues surrounding dynamic pricing my create societal concerns, this fully opt-in community-based approach works.

I am posting the STM promotional video here as well.  For my full report on findings from CRM 2014 check out my blog on the SAP Community Network (login required for comment).

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Filed under Change Management and Leadership, Digital Content Strategy, Enterprise Performance Management, Innovation, Marketing and Social Business, Millennial Worker Shift, Strategy

Coffee Break with Game Changers 2014 Predictions Pt 3 – More on Convergence Forces

The popular internet radio talk show program hosted by Bonnie D. Graham returns for its third full season of predictions and trends which will impact business and technology. What will be the disruptive factors in the market in 20-14? I joined Bonnie and the panel during the fourth segment around 56:00 with my take on “convergence forces” to beg the question “can you fish in a tsunami?”


My opening statement – besides my annual holiday Irish Cream recipe which you can find elsewhere on my blog – is summarized below. You can also find more on this blog and on my SCN page.

One of the big news stories in strategy, innovation and tech circles is the growth and convergence of four key trends from the past two years. These trends – social networking, mobile computing, cloud applications and big data – are not new.  In fact our firm covered these extensively in 2012 and continue to advise clients on how to leverage these trends strategically, both individually and collectively. What is occurring now as we move into 2014 is the cumulative effect of these trends into force directions of their own.  These so-called convergence forces – or what Gartner Group calls nexus of forces (NOF) – have a tendency to amplify and extend innovation in new and more powerful directions, much like strong winds, lunar position, and seismic disturbances can affect the behavior of ocean tides.  To put it another way, you might be able to plan to fish based on high tide but planning to fish during a tsunami is, well, a bit more complicated.

You can plan to fish in a high tide but fishing in a tsunami is a bit more complicated.


Filed under Big Data, Business Analytics, Change Management and Leadership, Cloud Computing, Cloud Readiness, Digital Content Strategy, Information Technology, Innovation, Marketing and Social Business, Millennial Worker Shift, Mobile Society, Operations, Strategy, Technology

KXEN brings SAP Analytics to the Business Analyst Community

This week in Las Vegas I held a number of executive interviews as part of my role with the SAP Business Influencer community at TechED.  I’ll be posting on the SAP Community Network with abstracts here to link to the full content.  

This week at SAP TechED, the KXEN team was in full force both demonstrating the continuing value of the brand which SAP acquired last month and also their new SAP employee badges after cutting over to their new teams inside the SAP Analytics group earlier in the month.

According to Saravana Chandran, Senior Director for Advanced Analytics, SAP had good position with the up-market visualization space with its Lumira product and relatively good penetration in the statistician and data scientist market with its predictive analytics tools.  What KXEN brings to the table is the middle ground of business analysts who look for trends and forecasts as part of their day to day activities but who are not overtly looking to dissect the data into complex and reusable algorithms like statisticians.

“The vision of SAP Analytics is to reduce the data to decision latency, operationalize predictive model, and bring predictive analytics to broad set of users – beyond the data scientist while being open and flexible” claimed Chandran in my business influence interview this week at SAP TechED.  “Customers can leverage predictive models and extend the usefulness to the end user across all levels of expertise.  So you can democratize analytics and overcome the skills gap in today’s environment” where either the data is too complex (requiring more data scientists) or the application to simple to drive real trends and value to business decision making.  Chandran claims that due to the skills gap currently in the market, for every $1 spent on solutions an additional $99 is spent on services needed to use those solutions productively.  In today’s world you need to hire data scientists or bring in service providers to perform necessary analysis over time, pricing many companies (even large enterprises) out of the predictive analytics space.

To read the full article, including an embedded YouTube interview with Chandran and KXEN VP of Product Management Marco Casalaina, visit the SCN posting.  Thanks to Chandran and Charles Gadalla for their time to sit together and talk about predictive analysis at SAP TechED.  Follow my other SCN postings via my SCN profile page or Twitter (@william_newman).

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Filed under Big Data, Business Analytics, Digital Content Strategy, Information Technology, Innovation, Marketing and Social Business, Operations, Strategy, Technology

SAP Acquisition of KXEN Proxy War in the Cloud, Predictive Analytics Space

This week at the SAP Business Objects User Group Conference (SBOUC), Steven Lucas (President of Platform Solutions at SAP) announced the acquisition of predictive analytics and cloud-based solution platform KXEN.  This was position in response to SAP customer demand around greater workflow and process integrations with analytics in a cloud-based offering.  While the intent to acquire KXEN by SAP is not a done deal, the wheels are firmly on the track and the train is moving ahead to an October, 2013 close based on an analyst call hosted by both companies this morning.

The KXEN acquisition is definitely a good response to SAP customer demands in both the cloud and predictive analytics offerings.  At SAPPHIRE 2011, in private meetings with the analytics solution team, the direction of the solution roadmap for SAP in the space of predictive analytics was on the forward horizon view of many solution management team members.  As part of the product portfolio, SAP has a long-standing product development gate strategy with rigorous decision points on “make or buy” approaches to new product development. Acquiring KXEN is an acknowledgement that SAP – in at least this space of the predictive analytics field – needed to get in front of the customer based more rapidly than the organic product development cycles would allow.

The acquisition also speaks to a growing proxy war quietly playing out between SAP and, arguably one of the leaders of the cloud-based sales force automation and marketing who has been cherry-picking talent recently from SAP’s Palo Alto and SuccessFactors Bay Area campuses.  Lucas came from a few years ago to lead the SAP analytics and cloud platform efforts and in his current role targeting good partners (and the talent and products that come with them) to bring formally into the SAP ecosystem.  KXEN also has development solutions such as its Cloud Prediction which it launched at DreamForce 2102, and as such to direction of this and other product offerings on the platform is in question (this was directly asked during the analyst briefing at which point there was a “no change in direction” reply statement while at the same time acknowledging this and other products would enhance the HANA cloud offerings).  As the acquisition formalizes it is hard to understand how KXEN’s relationship with, in short the buy appears to be away to poach and divert the product lines from to HANA while also getting a good look at the “wiring” as a part of the process.

As SAP makes more moves to shore-up its cloud and analytics strategy to support the HANA cloud offering, KXEN could be the first of several spot acquisitions in this field as SAP accelerates its product introduction cycles.

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Filed under Big Data, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Cloud Readiness, Digital Content Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions, Mobile Society, Operations, Strategy, Supply Chain Management, Technology

The Jury is Still Out on Digital Media Across Industries

Earlier this month I teamed up with former Booz Allen Hamilton colleague Scott Golas and staff writer Nancy Hala for a three-part interview on Dig-it-all media on the effectiveness of digital media and the need for social business outsourcing to build high growth companies and manage brands.  Based on some of the recent stories on effectiveness of Google Ads and Facebook advertising, some markets respond and others don’t regarding social media advertising for business.

“For products like consumer and durable goods, there are still a lot of questions about the effectiveness of buying ad space on Facebook. Some think it could be the right approach, particularly to attract younger buyers. The leader in this arena is clearly Apple, who focuses its brand and product line on digital media. But for businesses in other industries, for example those not specializing in technology or knowledge, the true power of digital remains to be seen.”

In working with high growth companies, the marketing function is often starved in terms of funding and resources.  This is self-defeating as in this digital age the adage “if you can’t link to it, it doesn’t exist” applies particularly to the new demographic of online  buyers and purchasing agents who build their bid lists by first checking Google in many cases.

“While there may be a marketing director providing overall management of activities, you still need people to develop content and place it appropriately in given markets. Since these skills are not typically found within a company – particularly in global companies operating in many different national markets – outsourcing can be an effective solution.”

Finally I look at the on-ramps to new industries, markets, segments and target customers where focused brand management can create a high-touch social experience.  In these cases, classical brick and mortar “hard” approaches may be by-passed altogether for an online user experience to education and build trust with the customer.

“Over the past two or three years, cooperation among third-party platforms and plug-ins has made it easier to coordinate messaging across multiple platforms,” Newman says. “Face-tweeting and in-tweeting – these bridges expand communication, and for businesses that means that social campaigns can be integrated with email marketing. Will we get to a place where there is one platform to rule them all? I don’t know, but that would be cool.”

Thanks again to Scott and Nancy for their work to publish the interview series which can be viewed on its entirety on Dig-it-all here.  To follow other Dig-it-all postings and interviews search on hashtag #digitallco or follow Scott on Twitter (@scott_golas).

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Filed under Cloud Readiness, Digital Content Strategy, Information Technology, Marketing and Social Business, Mobile Society, Operations, Technology