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NTT Docomo turns to SAP Hana to boost customer experience

Japanese telco NTT Docomo rolls out in-memory database in eight months to analyse data from retail outlets and customer call centres in a bid to improve service levels

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NTT Docomo has become the latest company in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region to implement SAP’s Hana in-memory database platform, as part of efforts to improve its customer service in Japan’s highly competitive and saturated telecoms market.

Through SAP Hana, NTT Docomo hopes to improve store operations, uncover best practices and apply insights and lessons from other stores. The implementation took eight months to complete and went live in March 2017.

According to SAP, as much as 18TB of data from various customer touchpoints, including some 2,400 Docomo retail outlets run by almost 37,000 employees, as well as call centres with more than 10,000 operators, will be collected, analysed and processed.

Taku Hasegawa, general manager of NTT Docomo’s information systems department, said before the telco implemented SAP Hana, it lacked the capability to deliver information to its sales force. “It took the back-end office at least a week or two to generate and deliver information,” he said.

“Now with SAP Hana, users can pull out the latest data whenever they need to. An increase in performance has also helped the storefronts to monitor the status of sales promotions. Moving forward, we expect to see an improvement in service at Docomo shops,” he added.

SAP’s latest major customer win comes on the heels of growing adoption of Hana and S/4 Hana applications worldwide. During the first quarter of fiscal year 2017, SAP netted 400 S/4 Hana customers, of which almost 50% were new SAP customers.

In a recent interview with Computer Weekly, Rohit Nagarajan, vice-president for digital enterprise platform group at SAP Asia-Pacific and Japan, said a significant percentage of SAP S/4 Hana’s global customer base is in APAC.

Citing an SAP study, IT consulting firm Capgemini said the top drivers for SAP Hana implementations were business process re-engineering and efficiency, real-time processing, business growth, solving IT performance issues and need for new applications.

Read more about business applications in APAC

China-based food supplier OSI Holding, for instance, was able to use SAP Business One on Hana to track its products in real-time for tighter food quality monitoring and transparency.

It had also improved cash-flow efficiency, increased visibility of its cost structure, and gained the ability to respond to customer queries in minutes regarding delivery time, materials and batch numbers.

“With the analytics available for SAP Business One powered by SAP Hana, we can trace our products back to their origin and all the way through the quality inspection stage in just a minute,” said Steven Zhang, vice-president and chief financial officer at OSI Holding.

“With the virtual warehouse module, shop-floor managers can track the quality status of every product in real time, from the day materials arrive to the day finished goods are shipped.”

In June 2017, SAP deepened its partnership with Chinese telecoms and IT service provider Huawei to expand Hana’s footprint in the APAC region. Both companies will work together to deliver offerings in areas such as big data analytics, smart cities, internet of things and cloud services.

Read more on Database software

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