Why Your SAP ERP Is Not Enough to Power the Modern Manufacturing Customer Experience

Your SAP ERP is isolating valuable data that you need to build a modern manufacturing customer experience. Here’s why it’s so important to get that data out of SAP to enable everything from real-time pricing and inventory to self-service and an eCommerce platform your customers will be happy to use.

Key Takeaways:

  • Your SAP ERP contains dynamic pricing and business logic that your eCommerce portal needs to enable online self-service
  • Without accurate account inventory, and pricing data, your self-service eCommerce strategy won’t improve the customer experience and may fail to win adoption
  • The most important data your eCommerce platform needs is accurate pricing, inventory levels, shipping information, order history, product information, and self-service support information

You may love what your SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software does to automate the backend of your business. But when it comes to customer-facing usability, your SAP ERP won’t be able to provide the data your sales team or eCommerce portal need to deliver a great experience for customers, dealers, and distributors.

When it comes to interacting with buyers, your customer relationship management software (CRM) takes the lead, automating repetitive customer service tasks and connecting marketing, sales, and customer service. Then there’s your self-service eCommerce portal, which allows customers, dealers, and distributors to easily access support, spec out new orders, and place reorders with accurate information about inventory availability, product customization, and their account-specific pricing and discounts. 

The weak link in your customer service chain

So, what’s the issue? None of those systems talk to each other on their own, which means you need to build a lane for that data in your SAP ERP to get to your front-end systems where you can use it to create great customer experiences. 

You don’t need to understand the ins and outs of SAP integration to see the ways poor data integration can hamstring your eCommerce portal, sales team, and customer service. A truly digital ecosystem is made up of symbiotic parts that work together to create internal- and external-facing efficiencies. With siloed systems, this synergy is impossible, and the revenue chain is broken. 

Understanding the revenue chain is vital for any manufacturer trying to create new revenue streams – subscriptions, deals based on usage, custom configurations, etc. – that all add to the complexity of revenue operations.  

Pricing complexity and margin excellence

One of the hardest things about delivering the modern manufacturing customer experience is providing accurate quotes in real-time. While SAP ERP systems are plugged into all your pricing rules, inventory levels, and supplier capabilities, that information must be available on the front-end for your sales team and eCommerce platform to provide real-time quotes and orders. 

If you can’t give accurate, real-time pricing and availability information to dealers, distributors, and direct customers, they’re going to have a bad experience with your brand. Worse, providing inaccurate quotes can jeopardize your margins as poor pricing information lets your front-end take orders that don’t reflect actual costs and intended profits. 

 Margin excellence is the goal of protecting your margins by making sure every customer pays what they should. Without SAP ERP data in the front-end in real-time, you can’t protect margin excellence. 

Supporting your SAP ERP with front-end integration makes for happier customers

You might think you know the people who buy your products, but with all of that data in your SAP ERP unavailable to your CRM, how well do you really know them? To provide the experience today’s B2B customers demand, you need a 360-degree view of every single customer. 

It’s all about the data. If you can’t bring the data together, you can’t track evolving customer needs and wants. It also becomes nigh impossible to provide them with an accurate, account-specific experience that builds relationships and keeps them coming back.

Buyers benefit from better customer service with integrated manufacturing frontends, as well. Integrated data offers the ability to provide chatbots who can answer their questions instantly, self-service, with a few keystrokes. This reduces calls to your sales and service teams and provides customers with convenient self-service options that make them more likely to adopt your self-service eCommerce platform.

What accurate data in your front-end means for the customer experience

 A great customer experience and data accuracy are two benefits of integrating SAP ERP data into your front-end, but there are others:

  • Real-time data from your SAP ERP means your eCommerce customers can see available inventory, track shipments, see their order history and current order status, and access other valuable information.
  • Productivity increases because your staff doesn’t spend time with manual entry. For your back office, orders are submitted immediately, so invoices are issued earlier, and payments arrive sooner.
  • You can provide accurate pricing, including negotiated discounts and custom configurations.
  • Eliminate errors in what are complicated workflows by automating order processing.
  • Enable a self-service experience that dealers, distributors, and direct customers will be happy to adopt.

Integration also makes your eCommerce site easily scalable and secure, and it streamlines compliance with regulations or taxing authorities. 

A great B2B customer experience takes partners who understand the unique complexities of the manufacturing sector. Reach out to the enosix team today to get the help you need to make full SAP ERP integration a reality for your customer-facing systems.


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