Brookshire Grocery Company together with SAP & /N SPRO, recently finished phase one of a three-phase project to digitally transform the grocer’s business, modernize its more than 150 stores, and better meet customer expectations. Phase one, launched in November 2015, increased data integrity and visibility to better understand customers.

“By 2020, it is projected that millennials will go from 5 percent of the buying power to close to 20 percent of buying power. This generation grew up with cell phones in their hands, with laptops, with tablets – they are very digitally engaged,” said John D’Anna, senior vice president and CIO of Brookshire Grocery Company. “Our business has to simplify everything for that customer.”

Assisted by SAP consulting partner /N SPRO, phase one of Brookshire Grocery’s customer-centric program included embedding customer data into business processes, enabling stores to connect with customers at a more contextual level. This includes providing personalized promotions that go straight to the company’s mobile app and are automatically loaded on the customer’s loyalty card.

“Brookshire Grocery has benefited tremendously from our partnership with /N SPRO as we’ve digitally transformed our business,” said D’Anna. “Because of its expertise in SAP technology, retail business and customer loyalty, /N SPRO helped us co-innovate a leading-edge SAP loyalty platform that will set the standard for the grocery industry.”

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Testimonial Questions:

Tell us a little bit about the project?

This project was conceived during our strategic planning process. We wanted to have a three-phased approach to how we communicate with our customers, and we wanted to be able to communicate with them in real time. The first phase of this project was to understand the customer. We needed a platform that we could actually understand in real time what our customers are buying, what they are not buying, and how we can increase their basket size. We partnered with /N SPRO and SAP to come up with that technology. We looked at a lot of different systems, and no one had the complete solution. SAP had all of the pieces, but they were not integrated. In the end, we partnered with SAP and /N SPRO to integrate all of these processes to meet our needs, and it’s worked out really well.

What is the current status of the project?

We’ve now gone live with everything except reporting. We are working on the final kinks in our executive dashboard and a couple of other real time reports, but it is amazing to see the results so far. It’s amazing to be able to take two years of detailed t logs and roll them up into an executive dashboard within a matter of seconds.

What was /N SPRO’s role in the project?

/N SPRO’s role in this project was bringing the subject matter experts that know the SAP software and understand retail processes who can integrate SAP in a way that can be put back into the base coat.

What did you like most about working with /N SPRO?

There’s a long list, so I will try to narrow it down to one. The thing I liked most about /N SPRO was that we were in it together. There was a trust that we were both going to be successful no matter what. SAP is a great company, but they are a huge company. A lot of times navigating those waters can be difficult. /N SPRO and BGC were on the same page through that process as far as how we were going to get things done through a large company like that. Working together was actually a lot of fun.

If you could only use three words to describe /N SPRO what would they be?

The three things that come to mind when I think about /N SPRO are their experience, their abilities, and their partnership.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is John D’Anna; I am the Senior Vice President – Chief Information Officer for Brookshire Grocery Company. I am basically responsible for process, technology and people.

What were the biggest challenges with this project?

The biggest challenge on this project was keeping everyone on the same page, and /N SPRO helped us a lot on that. Like I said, we were taking products that SAP had that were not integrated and trying to do a process for the future. /N SPRO kept in constant communication with SAP on the integration work that was being done while meeting our needs as far as processes were concerned. /N SPRO, Brookshire’s, and SAP all worked in concert. Because of this, the work that /N SPRO did is now being put into the basecoat of SAP. /N SPRO has been a great partner because they are supporting us in maintaining that code until SAP gets the work done to incorporate it into their base products.

What prompted you to seek /N SPRO’s services?

When we originally put in SAP’s promotion management for retail, Steve Hatcher contacted me and said that he had a consultant who really knew this product and was actually able to put that person on our project. It started a great partnership that I can trust. Being blunt and honest with Steve and he being blunt and honest with me really created a partnership. Through the whole process I found that I had a great partner which is tremendous to have in this industry.

What were your preconceived notions about using /N SPRO before we started?

The main thing I thought of about /N SPRO was the expertise we had seen in the Promotion for Management project. We appreciated the ease of being able to work with a good partner. I’ve worked with a lot of consulting companies in my career, and this has been one of the more pleasurable experiences. It was also the most stressful one as well, so having that kind of partnership is invaluable.

If someone called you today and asked “Why should I do business with /N SPRO”, what would you tell them?

There’s three reasons why someone should do business with /N SPRO. First, their expertise. They’ve got experience in a lot of new technology that SAP has, and I don’t think anyone else does. Second, I think they’ve got a landscape built in their development environment that can replicate anything that SAP has on the retail side. We were using their development systems because they were already pre-built. That actually gave us a leg up on getting through this project. Third, they are good people. You really can trust them. That’s key on any endeavor.

What problem(s) does this solution solve?

Brookshire’s had a need to communicate and promote to its customers in real time. We also wanted to be able to give our category managers real-time analytics, based on what our customers are buying. We tackled this project with SAP and /N SPRO in order to understand what’s in our customers shopping baskets and to be able to pick the right promotions for them.

What are the main takeaways?

We needed a strong management team to keep this moving. A lot of obstacles came up in doing a building edge project like this, so it’s crucial to be able to move quickly. SAP & /N SPRO were great partners in making that happen. We had three things going on at the same time: the implementation of the software, the integration, and then the building edge technology with SAP. There were separate conversations going on with SAP on what things needed to be fixed with the products and what things could be improved on in future releases.

What were your preconceived notions about using /N SPRO before we started?

The main thing I thought of about /N SPRO was the expertise we had seen in the Promotion for Management project. We appreciated the ease of being able to work with a good partner. I’ve worked with a lot of consulting companies in my career, and this has been one of the more pleasurable experiences. It was also the most stressful one as well, so having that kind of partnership is invaluable.

What made you believe that /N SPRO was the best for achieving your desired results?

When we looked at this project, Steve came in and demonstrated to our executives and project team what the end-to-end process would be. We set up pods, and we walked groups of people around to each pod showing them each step and what software would be delivered before we even signed contracts with /N SPRO. Their ability to be able to go through that without even knowing if they were getting the business showed what they would do inside the project if we had issues. That to me was a great indication that we would be successful in such a large complicated project.

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