With Tuesday’s announcement that SAP will resell Adobe Marketing Cloud, packaged with the analytics platform HANA and the ecommerce solution hybris, it’s fair to wonder what SAP’s role in digital marketing will be going forward.
Will it, for instance, ever develop its own marketing cloud to compete with Oracle, Salesforce.com or IBM? Brian Walker, chief strategy office at hybris, and Siddharth Taparia, senior director at SAP, spoke to AdExchanger about SAP’s future in digital marketing and its partnership with Adobe.
AdExchanger: Is it fair to say that SAP’s marketing cloud is Adobe Marketing Cloud?
SIDDHARTH TAPARIA: Our intention at the end of the day is to go to customers with best-of-breed solutions, whether it comes through our own innovations, through acquisitions or through partnerships like what we announced with Adobe yesterday.
We’ve been building out innovative solution sets to serve the office of the CMO. We have three pillars that make out that solution set. The first is the customer insights piece. We have unique technology no one in the industry has around HANA, which is our in-memory technology.
We also have the commerce solution, which we acquired from hybris.
And with the Adobe partnership, we can complete the picture and provide digital marketing capabilities to our customers.
So we have been leading in marketing resource management area with the CRM piece as well as the analytics piece with HANA. And with digital marketing from Adobe, we complete the full picture for our customers.
So you take Adobe’s Marketing Cloud and enhance it with HANA analytics and hybris commerce?
BRIAN WALKER: We’re focused on solving omnichannel customer engagement and commerce capabilities. It’s not just marketing, it’s about tying the experiences you’re delivering with customers. Marketing has to work in sync with that. So if I’m sending you offers or communications and driving you to an experience whether it’s online, mobile or in-store, we have to deliver a consistent, relevant and contextual experience.
That’s what this partnership was all about. Bringing those pieces together between hybris and the rich analytics capabilities through HANA.
Are you going to partner with other marketing cloud providers, or start building out your own internal stack?
BRIAN WALKER: We have a strong and committed joint partnership with Adobe, and we’re going to focus on how we bring a value-added solution with SAP, hybris and Adobe.
What does hybris do?
BRIAN WALKER: Hybris is a commerce platform, running sites, mobile sites, contact centers and in-store and so on.
We also do what we call headless commerce, which isn’t the most elegant term. We can empower digitally embedded commerce opportunities. If you think of seamless upgrades in software or gaming or media, where you might purchase subscription-based or content-based solutions.
We’ve got an API layer, which enables us to work effectively with [Adobe] CQ5, and we’re the only commerce platform with that integration. (Ed: Adobe CQ is the foundational technology for the Adobe Marketing Cloud product Experience Manager.) Where we don’t have CQ5 in place with a customer, they would use our experience manager solution from hybris. That serves a good set of needs for a lot of organizations. When you have a brand-intensive, large marketing organization where CQ5 is well-suited, that integration with our [API layer] lets us have a strong, compatible solution with Adobe.
How does it work with Adobe Experience Manager?
BRIAN WALKER: If you run hybris and Experience Manager together, you’d use Experience Manager to run your site templates and publish out homepage graphics and landing-page graphics. But the product content on a product landing page or category page comes from hybris. We have a strong product-management solution to handle complex, rich catalogs of product content and product data.
Experience Manager manages the overarching site navigation and the different landing pages and homepages, but you use hybris for the product content and merchandising of the site: cart, promotion, inventory transactions is through hybris.
Could I get a real-world example?
BRIAN WALKER: With hybris, you can run both a website and a global site. So ASICS, which spoke yesterday [at the Adobe Summit], is a client that uses hybris to run global sites off a single infrastructure. They run US, Japan, Great Britain and Australia today. This year they’ll roll out 20 or more international sites running on one infrastructure. That’s for their B2C business, but they’re adding B2B commerce on hybris as well, working with small boutiques, running stores and midsized department stores to buy stock and inventory from ASICS leveraging the hybris platform.
What other commerce channels does hybris support?
BRIAN WALKER: Mobile commerce is a key piece for all of our clients today, whether it’s [building for] the mobile Web with another set of templates or [using] our SDK to build mobile apps. You can leverage hybris [to run the contact center].
A number of our clients implement hybris for traditionally offline environments like stores to do POS replacement as well.
What other Adobe integrations do you have beyond Experience Manager?
BRIAN WALKER: We’re the only commerce platform with native integration into Omniture, which streamlines implementation for the analytics product. There are always a lot of configuration and decisions a customer makes when they’re implementing an analytics solution from Adobe. We’ve simplified that and pre-integrated it with hybris.
Are those integrations standard for Adobe Marketing Cloud customers or extra?
BRIAN WALKER: That would be an addition, but we have a standard integration. It’s certainly not zero work, but it’s less work to implement the two products together.
You mentioned integrating hybris further into Adobe Marketing Cloud.
BRIAN WALKER: In addition to CQ5, we have a road map with our integration plan, like [Adobe Test], Campaign and so forth.
What’s the timeline and what are the priorities?
BRIAN WALKER: The first three priorities are the next phase of CQ5 Experience Manager integration, Analytics – we have some additional work we want to do there – then [Adobe Target]. Those are the rest of the priorities for this year. Campaign is at a later phase in the agreement.
How many hybris customers do you have? Of those, how many use Adobe Marketing Cloud products as well?
BRIAN WALKER: We have over 500 clients who just use hybris. About 25 are joint CQ5 and hybris customers. Some are brand names and sites you’d recognize well. Nespresso or Grainger are joint customers.
Let’s talk about HANA. How is data management with HANA different than data management with other tools?
SIDDHARTH TAPARIA: In the past, companies had to maintain different data stores: one for storing their operational data, one for doing analytics and reporting. They had different layers and silos of data that had to be synchronized with each other.
With HANA you have one data set. You put the entire data store there and can do both operational as well as analytical reporting. Customers realize they can reduce the complexity significantly because they don’t need data warehouses anymore, they don’t need traditional databases anymore. They just put it all in memory and run their entire enterprise on top of that.
What's an in-memory database?
SIDDHARTH TAPARIA: In the old days, you’d have a computer which had a hard disc and RAM, and RAM was data that was stored at any given time that could be accessed faster. But you’d store permanent memory in the disc.
With HANA, we put entire databases in RAM. Because technology has become cheaper, we can have several terabytes of RAM, put that entire database there and readily access it faster, vs. putting it in discs and coming back to it. It’s thousands of times faster than going to a disc-based database or a traditional database.
The other thing that changes is that traditionally, databases were row based, so you’d have a single role for every customer record. With HANA, we flip that around and store data in columns. This gets technical, but columnar databases have different make-ups and set-ups than traditional row-based databases.
If you were to run a query to access data in a row-based database, you’d have to access all the rows. There may be hundreds of different columns, whether you needed the data or not. With HANA, you only get the columns you really need back.
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