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Cloud 4 Customer, A consultant perspective


When one is working for a vast organization like SAP, it is  so very important to get a feel of the different line of businesses. I got that opportunity last year when I got the chance to work on the CRM -mLoyalty ‘Shopper Experience’ app for Retail industry that was being developed by the LABS team. After a re-org, the team’s focus shifted to Cloud 4 Customer domain, which is the future of SAP CRM. Coming from the on-premise CRM background &  working with the team which had a background in mobile & now which was transitioning in to cloud space was a blessing in disguise. Analytical side of mine was quick in absorbing the By-design architecture over which the C4C solutions were built. Search, Re-search & comparative study helped me in understanding the importance of this overall endeavor and how essential it was to the overall cloud strategy.

I will not discuss the architecture here as I have written about it in my  whitepaper- ‘Don’t write off Business By Design yet!’. The Best aspect is the fact that the team is  getting the beautiful chance of understanding different industry every two months. We started off with a High-tech CRM solution on cloud, followed by Retail, Utilities, Insurance from the beginning of this year. Now comes Banking &  Professional Services with Healthcare & Chemical to follow in coming quarters. It’s a joy to feel the pulse of so many industries in a very short span. It is essential while developing these solutions one keeps the competitive watch too. In this cloud bandwagon every vendor is trying its bit to capture the cloud market in the best possible manner. Financially too, cloud revenues will be higher than the On Premise revenues in the long run. Cloud deals might not be immediately profitable, but going forward the revenues and profits generated by Cloud deals exceeds those generated by OnPremise deals.

CRM is a  competitive market in which SAP  (13% market share, Revenue in 2013: $2.6 B) stands second as of now with Salesforce (16% market share, Revenue in 2013: $3.3 B) at no 1. Differentiation by industry is something that will give us the edge as we go forward leveraging our vast on-premise customers. CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives for years to come says Gartner. 41% of all CRM systems sold in 2013 were SaaS-based.  This share will continue to increase as more & more customer open their arms for the advantages that the Cloud brings with it. Total revenue for cloud CRM applications in Western Europe  alone is forecast-ed  to grow 24% in 2014, reaching a total of $2.3 billion.

The challenge for us will be to provide ‘Integration’ & ‘Simplification’. While Integration with our onPremise solutions is of paramount importance, Integration with other cloud vendors will be very essential too. Providing ‘Simplification’  is the most important element for the success in Cloud & every developer, consultant will have to  ensure that while designing & customizing the solution they empathize with the end user as much as they can.

As the world embraces this new era of IT, there will be a demand of employees who can wear multiple hats. Be it  understanding the product development to the core, engaging with the customers through a consulting arm regularly, pre-sales expertise & importantly employees who understand market & business. Working with different LOBs,subsidiaries,  teams is one best way one can experience that cross-learning & becoming indispensable for the organization.

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