SAP today at a 2018 Sapphire Now + ASUG Annual Conference announced a C/4HANA customer experience suite that it contends will make earlier generations of customer relationship management (CRM) software appear antiquated.
SAP CEO Bill McDermott says C/4HANA differs from existing CRM applications in that it provides a holistic view of the customer, spanning everything from new and existing orders to how those orders are being managed across a digital supply chain.
Based on the SAP HANA in memory database, C/4HANA leverages application software SAP gained by acquiring Callidus. SAP today also announced it has acquired Coresystems AG, a provider of field service application.
SAP is clearly not the only provider of enterprise applications looking to transform CRM by focusing more on total customer experience. But CRM is a particularly important issue for SAP because rivals such as Salesforce and Oracle have used CRM as vehicle to compete more aggressively against SAP. McDerrmott says SAP is now committed to becoming the dominant provider of customer experience management software alongside ERP.
“This is a priority of the highest magnitude for the company,” says McDermott.
McDermott says that being able to view a sales pipeline is not especially valuable to senior business leaders unless there’s context concerning the entire relationship with the customer. That issue has become more acute in the wake of a General Data Protection Rule (GDPR) implemented by the European Union that makes managing customer data a much more complicated endeavor, adds McDermott.
Finally, McDermott also contends that providing that context will also go a long way to providing an application that salespeople will want to use every day.
It remains to be seen just how well SAP can leverage a customer experience suite to displace CRM rivals. But the thing that is apparent is that the concept of customer relationship is giving way to something that is much more focused on trying to create a customer experience that hopefully is a lot more memorable for all concerned.