SAP’s Cloud for Customer(C4C) is making its presence felt in the CRM market with its inbuilt integration to SAP CRM, ECC and several other Third party applications. This also raises the following questions in the minds of customers and CRM consultants alike.
- What kind of features are Customers looking for in C4C?
- What does this mean to the SAP CRM consultants and their future ?
- Will there be needs to customize the C4C ?
- What will be the needs to integrate SAP CRM with SAP C4C?
- What will the CRM landscape look like?
Let us start by looking into the history of SAP and its CRM efforts in the past. SAP has been looking to get into the CRM space since 1995 and the real push came with the acquisition of a German Salesforce Automation company Kiefer & Viettinger with its development center in Bangalore. This became a precursor to what we know as SAP CRM On premise solution today. SAP had to come up with an On-Demand( The old term for today’s cloud) offering to counter Salesforce.com which was picking pace in 2007-2008. This Customer OnDemand (CoD) which comprised of Sales OnDemand, Service OnDemand and later Social OnDemand evolved into what we now know as SAP Cloud for Customer.
SAP Cloud for customer is much more complete, robust and mature solution than its predecessors. It comes with prepackaged integrations to SAP ERP and SAP CRM, Mobile interfaces, strong social features. The entire product can be seen as a combination of a browser based Silverlight UI, Integrated social features of JAM, Set of rich Mobile apps for iOS & Android, SAP HANA for Integration scenarios. SAP PI can also be a choice for Integration which we will discuss later.
The overall architecture of SAP C4C is that of a multi-tenant architecture which means that the SAP C4C and the Integration component itself is shared with other customers. There is also a single-tenant model for customers which is a private edition for additional cost. The multi-tenant model means that whenever SAP upgrades or releases a patch it might overwrite some of the custom solutions built on top of the SAP C4C solution. This is the most common concern of customers going on a multi-tenant model. While the cloud solutions push for standardization customers will still need their industry specific and company specific modifications in place. SAP need not look far behind than this classic Hasso vs Marc Benioff debate as this was THE point SAP had against SFDC.
- SAP PI/PO – Recommended if you already have SAP PI/PO and prefer to have Integration On-Premise
- SAP HANA Cloud Integration – Recommended if you are not using SAP PI and have more Cloud to Cloud Integration
The solution options and different deployment models give rise to interesting architecture questions for SAP Customers.
- On-Premise only – We already have SAP CRM on Premise. Why do we need SAP C4C
- Cloud only – Do we discard the On Premise Solution and go for SAP C4C
- Private Cloud – Do we get a private edition of SAP C4C
- Hybrid – Do we use SAP C4C in addition to the already existing SAP CRM On premise solution
On-Premise only – Some of the choices the CRM customers today look for are modern & easy to use UI for Sales people, Browser based access, Mobile access – Online & Offline scenarios. SAP CRM already provides a Browser based UI however the Mobile access is something that the customer will need to choose from a limited choice of apps and take the burden of device choice as well as deployment. Customers who have heavily customized their SAP CRM to suit the processes or use deep Marketing and Service functionalities and do not have a End user case for going to cloud would prefer to keep their solution On-Premise only.
Cloud Only – SAP C4C alone would suffice if the customer is looking for a light weight solution with standard CRM processes like Activities and opportunities. The integration choices need to be considered for which system would be the leading system and which ERP integrations are most needed for the field force.
SAP C4C could also be an excellent candidate for replacing non SAP CRM solutions in SAP ERP customers for better integration and more unified architecture.
Private Cloud – If customers have high needs for customization within the cloud solutions and would not want SAP C4C upgrades and patches to be impacted then would prefer this solution. This solution is as good as having an On Premise solution albeit on SAP C4C and not SAP CRM.
Hybrid – This solution will have both SAP CRM and SAP C4C co-existing in the CRM landscape. This is of the most interest to SAP CRM consultants from the following point of view
- What will the end architecture look like?
- What processes should stay On Premise and what processes on Cloud? Would it be prudent to customize both?
- What about reporting – Will the reporting mirror the process choices? Will Cloud processes reports available only on cloud or should they be in On Premise BI
A simplified and representative architecture diagram with all the CRM and Related components is shown below. The most common system components of a Hybrid CRM solution are given below along with representative integrations. From a CRM consultant point of view there are decisions to be made on Integrations, leading systems for Master data and Transaction data, On the run Reporting and historical reporting, volume of transactions that need to be flow between separate systems.
The C4C integration to CRM On premise could be on the basis of level of customization required, whether the functionality is required to be on the cloud/on the field, what are the master data governance rules within the company, Sales organization structure.
Ex: The frontline sales team will generate opportunities on the move with very minimal information( The Top 5 – Customer, Product, Opportunity Phase, Value, Volume) and the sales assistants in the back-office will enhance the opportunities with more data that are replicated to the On-premise solution.
The C4C integration to ERP could be on the basis of types of transactions needed to be displayed to the front end sales like Orders, Quotations or contracts. Based on the role of the Sales person whether they need pricing information, availability checks or even customer credit information. The principle here could be that of only deploying a “Must Have” Integration with the ERP transactions.
Reporting – The C4C Sales analytics provides standard set of reports and dashboards for the day to day use of a Sales representative. These analytics is realtime and can be integrated with the BW Data warehouse. The standard architecture should suffice for most needs although there might be some BW reporting key figures needed on the Sales Analytics dashboards based on the business needs.
Although we cannot go into each and every choice in this blog post one cardinal rule of CRM is that it should give a complete historical and current view of the customer to the Salesperson/Account manager representing that customer. All the architecture and integration decisions should be based on this principle to keep the solution useful for the End user.