HANA Meets Watson at SAP's Retail Forum

Retailers from around the world will gather in Dallas, TX October 7-8 for the SAP Leadership Summit. And IBM will be there too. My colleague, Dipti Badrinath, and I (pictured) will present and demonstrate the SAP/IBM Loyalty Solution — an exciting array of technologies that combine SAP HANA and SAP CRM with an advanced analytics and recommendation engine from IBM Research — the same people who created Watson, the computer that won Jeopardy!


And it all comes together on a store-branded mobile app that does what no application — mobile or otherwise — has ever done before. That is to make real time promotional offers and purchase recommendations to the consumer while the consumer is actually still shopping inside the store. These recommendations are based on

  • What this consumer has purchased from you in the past
  • What similar buyers bought earlier that day
  • What she’s been looking at on your website
  • What products she usually buys together
  • What items typically drive drag-along sales
  • What she’s talking about on social media
  • What her friends have been talking about on social media

And the system is able to do this for thousands of customers all at the same time. In addition, the application also looks at the retailer’s internal business data to determine what offers the store should make based on business rules, inventory levels, margins and other factors.

Changing the Game in Loyalty Management

This application changes the game in loyalty management, as my colleague Neeraj Sripuram, Associate Partner, IBM Global SAP Innovation CoE, says in a video interview.

“One of the first questions you [a retailer] want to ask about your loyalty program today is: “Is it socially aware? Does it have the power of social analytics?” The second is whether it’s a mobile application that can work in tandem with your customer — being location aware, being sensitive to the different aspects of their social presence. I think that will be another thing that you want to check before you say, ‘Hey, this loyalty program is the right one for [me]. And it should be able to intelligently position and provide the customer with the products that you make rather than making him going out and searching for them.”