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SAPPHIRE 2018: New SAP CRM Announced SAP C/4HANA

To kick-off SAPPHIRE 2018, SAP CEO Bill McDermott announced the launch of SAP CRM C/4HANA during his opening keynote. If you weren’t able to attend the conference and are interested in learning more about this next generation of SAP CRM, we’re sharing some initial information, articles, and insights that we’ve gathered during our time at SAPPHIRE below.

What is the new SAP CRM – SAP C/4HANA?

SAP CRM C/4HANA (yes it’s not a typo for those of you familiar with S/4HANA), is a suite of cloud-based solutions for marketing, sales, and customer service built in the SAP HANA data platform. It is intended to provide full front-office functionality, with the promise of seamless back-end integration, and the guarantee of customer data protection.

SAP C/4HANA combines several existing and acquired cloud-based solutions into a single suite that will enable a single view of the customer across marketing, sales, and customer service interactions. It includes SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP Commerce Cloud (based on eCommerce platform Hybris), SAP Service Cloud, SAP Customer Data Cloud (including the acquired Gigya solutions), and SAP Sales Cloud (uniting the Hybris Revenue Cloud solution and SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer with the acquired CallidusCloud solutions).

With the Fiori front-end (the newer SAP user experience that allows personalization and a simplified user experience (UX) for SAP applications), SAP C/4HANA combines the solutions into a coherent user experience from the first touch point to billing. SAP is betting on this suite of solutions, not just as a product offering, but also by implementing it internally at SAP.

Why does SAP consider SAP C/4HANA different than other CRM solutions?

SAP C/4HANA aims to be the first CRM suite to be focused on what works for the customer, not just for the sales force, with an emphasis on mutual trust. As companies shift from seeing customers as potential revenue helping them meet sales quotas, to people, individuals, with a specific need looking to interact in a specific way, the CRM tools need to adapt to enable this personalized relationship. Hence, SAP is referring to C/4HANA as the 4th generation of CRM, whether you manage B2B or B2C relationships.

It’s anticipated that the reinvented SAP CRM C/4HANA is anticipated to differ from existing front-office SaaS solutions by offering tighter integration between front- and back-office systems (you may have recently read about the Salesforce acquisition of Mulesoft which is a move into this integration strategy). It also is said to include machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities powered by SAP Leonardo, which enables analysis of customer data to recommend products and services. Another timely differentiator is that with the inclusion of SAP Customer Data Cloud, the whole solution is GDPR-compliant and is intended to address fears that a customer’s data will be used unscrupulously (or in SAP’s words, “customers are done with creepy”).

What can we expect from SAP CRM and C/4HANA in the next 12 months?

With a planned release for 2019 and unknown roadmap – there are still a number of questions that need to be answered. For example, technically, how will the various SAP back-end solutions including S/4HANA cloud, S/4HANA on-premise, and ECC integrate with C/4HANA? What licensing options are available? What is the impact to existing Hybris and SAP CRM customers?

But also from an industry perspective – what functionality will exist? How will it address the challenges our clients in the life sciences, consumer products, retail, and wholesale industries are facing and the opportunities for customer-centricity? We have been talking with our clients and helping develop solutions for this prominent power shift for the last few years and how the “empowered consumer” and “patient centricity” will drive the evolving relationships that our clients need in order to remain relevant and have a valuable relationship with their end-consumer. SAP’s announcement at the 2018 SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Annual Conference claims that the new CRM suite of applications will put a renewed focus by “putting the customer at the center.”

We look forward to continuing to understand this launch, what information will be shared in the initial release of the training, and what it will mean for our clients in the coming year to come.

Learn More About Clarkston’s SAP Consulting Services

Co-Author and Contributions by Nathan Keliher and Caitlin Pardo.

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Tags: Competitive Differentiation & Execution, Sales and Marketing Technology, SAP