We live in the most advanced and arguably exciting time in human history. We’re lucky enough to have access to technology and resources that can streamline the business environment and allow freedom and capabilities we could only dream of in the past. In the words of Elon Musk, “I’m interested in things that change the world or that affect the future and wondrous, new technology where you see it, and you’re like, ‘wow, how did that even happen? How is that possible?”.

The Partnership

Bluleader’s goal when partnering with a client is to provide a seamless solution which removes barriers and allows them to flourish and focus on what they do best. It was an honour to have the Transformation Leader of Lion Beverages, Michelle Lucas, speak at our event last year and share Lion’s experience in embracing new solutions and overcoming hurdles along the way.

Michelle is joining us again to speak this year and share an overview, now that Lion are one year on with their Customer Experience (CX) transformation journey. Michelle is set to expand on how Lion and Bluleader have driven the adoption of the SAP Sales Cloud and Service Cloud MVP over the last year and provide some tangible takeaways that just might help your business in its digital transformation journey.

Lion Beverages is one of Australasia’s largest food and beverage companies, employing approximately 6,700 people across Australia and New Zealand. With a proud history extending back to 1840, it is safe to say this organisation has seen a fair few changes and technological advances over the years. It is in hearing stories from progressive organisations like Lion that we can learn more about the competitive advantage available to companies willing to embrace Customer Experience (CX) as the heart of their digital transformation.

“I am so happy to support Bluleader and share my message again this year. They were the last ones to come onto our program but the first to cross the line and deliver with quality. Bluleader came to the rescue, quickly understanding our business challenge and providing solutions” Michelle said.

Lion’s Digital Transformation Project

Having worked with Lion for nineteen years, Michelle spearheaded the digital transformation of the Lion ‘Order to Cash’ stream which includes the implementation of the SAP Customer Experience.

“We are now running two pieces of work – New Zealand stabilisation and the Australian release which is approximately six times larger in user scale. We have been piloting our releases in NZ, in preparation for the Australian release!”

“Order to Cash extends far beyond the traditional definition and includes a consistent, seamless, integrated customer experience that will achieve a best of breed, unified front-end stack that maximises customer engagement.”

Next Generation Processes (NGP2) is an ambitious digital transformation project that will replace many legacy systems with the SAP CX suite, including SAP Sales and Marketing Cloud. Lion understood the need for this project and the fact that positive customer experiences can be one of the single greatest influences on revenue and profits. New Zealand was approached with a ‘big bang’ method because of the integrated nature of the systems.

“We took approx. 550 bespoke solutions and implemented one integrated SAP solution. We turned off the legacy solutions and turned on SAP and this is the same approach we will use for Australia, which goes live in April 2020.”

Lion holds a diverse portfolio, across 38 sites and generates revenues of around $5 billion each year. As an organisation, the company is focused on long-term, sustainable growth.  Consequently they exercised great care when selecting a solution.

“The solution met the majority of our selection criteria. The main reason we chose it was for the level of integration with S/4HANA – we had a very clear vision for delivering a seamless customer experience no matter what channel they come from, the aim being that the business could access the same information in near to real-time.”

Embracing Change

Embracing change and incorporating technological developments can have a ripple effect of benefits across customer experience, workflow, profitability and more. In Lions example, a combination of system driven initiatives and user engagement principles have resulted in improved adoption and usability and there are several learnings we can take away.

“We have learned lessons on change management, user experience, data, data, data and the need for having comprehensive training and work instructions. As a business we have seriously raised the importance of data and its maintenance. It is a boring topic and no one wants to talk about it – until someone gets it wrong.”

“Another benefit is the fact that now, changes made are understood upstream and downstream and unless there are benefits across the scope, we minimise those changes.”

The large-scale New Zealand project was not without its challenges, but together we were able to work through and learn from hurdles as they arose.

“We underestimated the amount of integration that was required to deliver the technology stack and change management for the team members using the solution,” Michelle said.

“So, we ran successful workshops, to identify capability issues that were required and what we needed to change technically. We put in a small stabilisation team in place to provide some great business benefit and are much clearer now going forward.”

“Our focus now is all around customer contracts and commitments. Moving it from a manual process on excel spreadsheets, into Cloud for Customer delivered by Bluleader, with automated routing, workflow for approvals, etc.”

Lion was one of the last SFMPG businesses to adopt SAP, but one of the first to go into the fully integrated SAP tech stack environment which they hope will provide a competitive point of difference in the industry. Although it might be too early to understand the direct outcomes of industry perspectives towards Lion since undertaking these solutions, it is safe to say that Lion is bravely forging a path into 2020 with Bluleader by their side.

Join us at our upcoming breakfasts in Sydney and Melbourne to hear more inspiring stories from business leaders who are embracing CX and progressing their digital transformation journeys. The path towards a seamless omnichannel experience can be made clearer and you just might meet someone or get a gold nugget of information that could improve your business going into the new year.