Ask The CMO: A Conversation With SAP's Alicia Tillman Closing The 'Experience Gap:' X + O Data = XM

Alicia Tillman

Alicia Tillman

August 18, 2019 - Billee Howard writes for Forbes: The old rules of business were ruled by what GE originally dubbed TQM or Total Quality Management. Leading companies would win or lose based off of their ability to deliver a quality product seamlessly and consistently. This, in their view, would drive customer loyalty and assure a category or market leadership position. Today, and for the past decade actually, we have rapidly left that notion behind in lieu of the age of TEM, or Total Experience Management. As commodification has been rampant across industry sectors, with offerings by price point becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate, winning experiences have become paramount, and the ability to emotionally engage has become the Holy Grail, whether you are selling apples or automobiles.

This significant paradigm shift has not only led to an economy predicated on engagement and experience, it has paved the way for an era of marketing driven not just by naked creativity, but perhaps even more importantly, strategic use of data to create sharpened brand intelligence. With that in mind, I thought it would be great to speak with Alicia Tillman [pictured], CMO of SAP, as she pushes the company forward as a leader in experience management and helps other leading brands understand why this type of thinking is vital to any company’s future. Below is a recap of our conversation:

Billee Howard: You’ve been in your current role at SAP now for twenty months. Can you talk to me about the current period of data transformation and how you view it and are responding to it at SAP?

Alicia Tillman: It is something we focus on every day. We've gone from this era of data access, to now intelligence that becomes derived from that data. We’ve evolved from the era where companies looked at how to achieve access to data to now how you drive intelligence derived from the data. I believe that this is creating both a period of immense reflection and education. The focus for us has been on understanding how do we apply this notion of intelligent data to perform certain tasks that humans have been focused on so that we can really hone in more on things that are going to really transform companies; things such as new revenue streams.

I really believe that this increased capacity to think more strategically and build greater business models is the most important take away from the period we are living in today. I think it's both a beautiful time, but one that can be daunting as well. If you're not super clear on how this use of intelligent data, whether it be through things such as machine learning or artificial intelligence, can be applied to your business in a way that allows you to open up the capacity to do more, then you’re really missing the big picture. More...