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SAP CX, Progressive Web App (PWA)

Progressive Web App with SAP CX

Customer Experience with PWA – And your customers will love it!

According to the Digital Marketing Trends Report by Econsultancy and Adobe, 20 percent of the organizations surveyed see the greatest new business opportunities in customer experience. Learn here more on how SAP Customer Experience and Progressive Web Apps can help your organization boost customer centricity.

Date: 24. July 2020, Text: Dr. Bernhard D. Valnion, Image: Swisscom

Who would have thought it: Content-rich business value communication has been relegated to second place in the ranking of ‘Exciting Business Opportunities’. In first place now is customer experience — ahead of content marketing with 15 percent and data-driven approaches with 12 percent1.

 

 

The upshot is obvious, but the technical challenges in an omni-channel world are enormous. It’s not only about mastering adaption of the process infrastructure, a system integrator is needed, with profound expertise and understanding of the tricky interplay between the backbone and the special characteristics of the user company (keyword: ‘USP’) at the frontend. However, a lot has happened in this arena, especially in the SAP portfolio with its comprehensive E2E (end-to-end) commitment and the ‘bridge builder’ Swisscom.


Website and app in one: Progressive Web Apps

As an ideal technology, apps have moved to the forefront, ahead of websites when it comes to providing a vital customer experience. They have now been updated to Progressive Web Applications (PWAs), causing a sensation in the community. PWAs make websites shine in their old glory, being a kind of symbiosis of responsive websites and native apps — very much the best of both worlds. PWAs can be created in different languages like HTML5 or JavaScript. The JavaScript ‘Service Worker’ running in the background enriches PWAs with important offline capabilities, for example with appropriate caching. In addition, push services like those known from native apps can be implemented. The website is then really brought to life.

Want to know how a PWA works? Just scan the QR-code and test the demo.

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Until now, the problem for website operators has been that they had to develop a responsive or mobile website as well as additional native apps if they wanted to offer their target group a consistent look & feel for their user interfaces. In 2015, Google introduced the PWA concept to eliminate such redundant (and boring) work. The market appreciated this, and PWAs have become everybody’s darling on the development scene.

Managing targeted customer communication with SAP CX

However, all efforts with digitalization will be in vain if vertical and horizontal integration is not consistently considered. This is what Swisscom is calling for. After all, targeted communication with the customer must be smart-managed. Stories that touch and remain in the customer’s memory are no coincidence, but a carefully orchestrated interplay of marketing, sales, service, and e-commerce activities. SAP uses the term ‘SAP Customer Experience’ (CX) to summarize all applications for these customer-focused departments.

 

SAP CX is a huge step forward compared to the good old customer relationship management (CRM), which traditionally focuses on internal enterprise-centric transactions rather than on proactively managing customer relationships. As a result, the customer data collected remains practically ‘only’ fact-finding. SAP, however, wants to go into greater depth with CX by analyzing experiences and modeling them from the customer’s perspective.

 

The cloud-based ERP ‘SAP S4/HANA’ and ‘SAP Customer Experience’ are standardized based on SAP technologies and thus stand in clear contrast to the elaborately customized ERP of the caliber of SAP/R3 and SAP ECC. But don’t worry, customizations can also be implemented at 4HANA. Extensions can be programmed for adaptions, in which ‘user stories’ are stored. This is a stage on which Swisscom is moving with flying colors: Cubernet-based applications (Kyma Services) can be created and reused for a broad clientele and thus share joint developments. Unless otherwise agreed, intellectual property will remain with Swisscom, i.e. it will be professionally maintained, and is likely to develop into a veritable cloud IT business area in the future — very much to the benefit of the customer, of course.


The technical background: PWA headless implementation with "Spartacus"

Back to PWA and a possible ‘Single Source of Experience’: No matter which platform (and which frontend) you use, the shop system presents itself like a native application with a uniform customer experience. Or more technically speaking, in the sense of a headless implementation: With the new cloud frontend framework, marketed under the symbolic name ‘Spartacus’, SAP has taken the development of shop systems to a new, higher level. The storefront is based on the Angular Framework developed by Google, which exchanges data with the cloud via the Commerce REST API.

 

The Angular framework decouples frontend from backend, resulting in faster deployment processes. This provides a response to a key development requirement with SAP Commerce: The frontend scales as needed and the fear of simultaneous access by large numbers of users is forgotten.

SAP Commerce and Spartacus are only available in a double pack

Although Spartacus is a headless implementation, its API architecture requires CMS content from the SAP Commerce Cloud. On the credit side, the decoupling of front- and backend allows independent update cycles. This means that the JavaScript storefront can be enriched with new features as often as required without any need to update the backend — if you like, the left hand doesn’t need to know what the right hand is doing.

 

The way is the goal, because some features are not yet available. These include product variants, express checkouts and also B2B storefront features such as replenishment, B2B checkout or Commerce Org. A closer look at SAP’s (well-considered) roadmap shows, however, that these and other highlights will reach users before the end of this year. Investment protection is therefore guaranteed!

 

Now it’s up to you to get more insights into the exciting world of SAP Customer Experience: Click here for more information and ask for individual advice.

1www.adobe.com/lu_en/offer/digital-trends-2020.html and www.superoffice.com/blog/customer-experience-strategy


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