For WACKER, it is crucial to focus on its customers and optimize all contact points at all times. Therefore, it is clear what this German chemical company aims to do to its online presence in the future: Move from a shop that works to a platform that users love. To realize this vision, the existing system environment must be transformed – and become a modern digital experience. But how can this transformation succeed? Thanks to efficient cooperation with valantic and using the technological basis of SAP Commerce Cloud.
WACKER has been a valantic customer for more than 10 years. The large digital commerce project, which not only connects the two companies today, but will also do so in the future, was launched with onboarding in 2019.
What began with a support call by WACKER in 2019 – namely to stabilize the existing Hybris Commerce system and fix bugs – quickly developed into an intensive cooperation:
A close partnership has emerged from this one project.
WACKER's customer portal and web shop were based on ideas and technologies that were in the process of becoming obsolete and required state-of-the-art modernization. WACKER decided to focus more on individual customer needs – and thus create a new and improved customer experience.
What is really important to WACKER’s customers in terms of the buying experience? This was what the company wanted to find out in a customer survey. The answers provided key aspects for a smooth ordering process:
IT Process Manager Sales & Marketing, Wacker Chemie AG
"In valantic, we have found an implementation partner on whom we can rely for our digital commerce topics. Both when designing our IT system environment and expanding our SAP Commerce platform, we always have the right experts on our side. A perfect match for the consistent implementation of a digital customer experience for WACKER customers."
products for all key global industries
Business areas: Silicones, Polymers, Biosolutions, and Polysilicon
Industry focus: Chemical industry
Based on the findings of the customer survey, WACKER decided to step up its approach to digital commerce. The goal was to take the customer experience to the next level. Customers on the platform expect the following:
After the go-live of a market companion, valantic took over the WACKER digital project in 2019. The takeover was an already established and structured (“onboarding”) process. The careful and parallel review of the strategy, processes, and technology – also called due diligence – was followed by the so-called transition phase, i.e. the gradual transition to the new platform.
At the start of the project in 2019, valantic’s comprehensive strategy consulting helped set up the new system architecture. In a workshop, WACKER worked with valantic to develop the big technological picture in the digital commerce sector, and valantic also made specific technical recommendations for the target architecture.
In the transition phase, the main goal was to stabilize and optimize the existing Hybris Commerce system, fix bugs, and close processes. This is how immediate added value was created at the start, which was reflected in a significant performance improvement. Soon afterwards, the first major topics started moving toward an optimized CX – in addition to the continuous development of the commerce system.
The safety data sheets for chemical substances – SDS data for short – are a core element for WACKER. However, they had not yet been imported into SAP Commerce (Hybris). Prior to valantic’s optimization, the run time for a full import was approximately 40,320 minutes. After that, the load time decreased to 300 minutes, which was significantly less than the target value of 1,440 minutes. So the data is always up-to-date in the system.
Product content & catalog management (PCM) on the one hand and B2B-commerce on the other: WACKER’s new website had to take these two focal topics into account in the best possible way. For this purpose, the e-commerce product platform SAP Commerce (formerly Hybris) was introduced as a central component.
Because all the good things come in threes, the three major areas in which valantic is assisting WACKER are explained below.
The company's website offers an open forum to inform users who are not logged in about products, data sheets, and brochures. In the course of 2021, "My Account" will also be launched – initially in the Benelux countries and in the first step only for registered, selected customers. This closed forum will provide a number of additional features in the future, including: Real-time information about order status Reach the customer advisor (CSR) in a few clicks Deliveries with Track & Trace Overview of open and past invoices Role-based access for the logistics, accounting, and sales departments Intuitive search 24/7 accessibility anywhere and via the preferred end user devices
IPP is a portal available exclusively on the WACKER internal network with special features for employees. These include the product search, which is structured in the same way as the corresponding feature on the website, but the search here also includes products that are only accessible internally. The material search provides access to material detail pages that contain SAP material data and packaging information.
Simply put, product information management (PIM) serves as a central data repository. It includes all relevant information about products, materials, and chemical substances. This information is obtained partly from SAP. Various functionalities for product data display have been specially configured – for example for the search, the product recommendation table and product comparisons. In addition, PIM includes the order and customer data replicated from the ERP for the "My Account."
Product Owner wacker.com, Wacker Chemie AG
"valantic has been helping us implement our ideas in a flexible, mature, and pragmatic process for a year and a half now. The results have won over both our employees and the customers who use our services every day."
“Move 2 Cloud,” the shift from SAP Commerce on-premise to SAP Commerce Cloud with complex infrastructure, was completed in 2020. The company’s chemical environment brought with it special requirements, such as special regulations regarding imports and exports, pricing, product lists, and quantities. Overall, valantic and WACKER have mastered these challenges with flying colors.
Scalability: Especially when it comes to licensing issues, increasing complexity, and required capacity
Cloud: Always up-to-date with the latest technology (updates or similar) and faster roll-out of new features
Reduction of infrastructure costs: Server integrated into licenses
Monitoring and visibility: Analyses of the database, log management, and performance
Standardization: Standardized SAP environment that provides more and better support. The desire for "out-of-the-box" thinking is more likely to be met
valantic has succeeded in creating a digital customer experience for WACKER that is unrivaled. The result is a customer-centric platform that is fully integrated with the site – an advanced solution that is technologically based on SAP Commerce Cloud.
E-Business Manager, Wacker Chemie AG
"The cooperation with valantic is a partnership of equals and is characterized by mutual trust and great understanding of the needs of our customers, partners, and employees."