SAP Launches C/4HANA

SAP today unveiled a new suite of CRM solutions, SAP C/4HANA, to modernize what it calls “the sales-only focus of legacy CRM solutions.”

The new suite, introduced at the company’s SAPPHIRE NOW user conference, is designed to help businesses serve and retain customers. In the wake of the company’s Gigya and CallidusCloud acquisitions, C/4HANA ties together those and other solutions with the goal of supporting all front-office functions—consumer data protection, marketing, commerce, sales, and customer service.

The C/4HANA portfolio includes the company’s Marketing, Commerce, Service, Customer Data, and Sales clouds, with Customer Data Cloud including the acquired Gigya solutions and Sales Cloud comprising the acquired CallidusCloud solutions. Additionally, Sales Cloud unites the company’s Hybris Revenue Cloud and Hybris Cloud for Customer, the latter of which is composed of Hybris Sales Cloud and Hybris Service Cloud.

C/4HANA integrates with SAP’s business applications portfolio, which is led by the company’s S/4HANA enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite. The combination will include new machine learning capabilities from Leonardo, a set of intelligent technologies that the company introduced last year, as well as a new data management solution, HANA Data Management Suite.

During the executive Q&A at the conference, SAP CEO Bill McDermott asserted that the combination of C/4HANA and S/4HANA uniquely positions the vendor to deliver what its customers want from a CRM solution. To illustrate this point, he used the example of a “high performance apparel company” on whose board of directors he serves:

“They don’t care actually in the boardroom about contact management and pipeline management in the sales department because they know adding a new fact into the CRM record does nothing to change anything,” he said. “What they do care about is ‘Do I know my consumers when they go direct on the Internet?’ ‘Do I know my consumers when they shop at a wholesaler who’s representing my product or in my own retail store?’ And because that consumer is on the move, geospatial technology now is essential in the database because I have to give her what she needs where she happens to be located on any given day. So it’s completely unpredictable now unless you have an in-memory database and you can connect that to wearable devices so you know not only where she is but also where the retailer is that can help her get what she wants at the price point she deserves.”

The ability to connect and act on that customer information in real time is what makes the integration of C/4HANA and S/4HANA so powerful, McDermott said. “I am saying declaratively it’s a new generation, it’s a new moment for CRM.”

Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research, notes that the company “is late to the game with CRM” but that “exposing ERP data—like information on orders, invoices, and account health—to sales and service is an important driver of CRM value. So SAP’s position as the ERP system of record in many accounts could be a position of strength.”

Also at the conference, OpenText, a provider of enterprise information management solutions, launched two cloud offerings for SAP solutions. The solutions are OpenText Extended ECM for SAP Solutions, Cloud Edition, and OpenText Archive Center for SAP Solutions, Cloud Edition. Both help simplify the digital transformation process by integrating digital content into the OpenText cloud.

"As the pace of innovation has increased, organizations running traditional on-premises applications have needed to address numerous issues around complexity, data and information management, collaboration, and regulatory compliance," said Mark Barrenechea, vice chairman, CEO and chief technology officer of OpenText, in a statement. "These new offerings simplify the process for organizations looking to re-platform their SAP solutions and move to the cloud, creating a scalable foundation to manage, and gain insight from, the exponential growth of content and data."

SAP at the conference also announced an integration with Esri, a provider of spatial analytics. Esri's ArcGIS software is integrating into SAP's latest cloud-based offering, called SAP HANA spatial services, to help customers create location-aware business applications. 

The new geo-enabled solution from SAP will allow users to deliver their data through maps and integrate the results into custom business applications. Customers using SAP software will be able to create custom models that process streams of earth observation data, such as water content or soil temperatures, and see this data on high-quality base maps provided by Esri's ArcGIS Online.

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