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 CRM Journey.JPG

 

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.

 

SAP C4C.JPGSales on Cloud Components.JPG

 

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.

 

Sales on Cloud Architecture.JPG

SAP Provides 2 options to Integrate SAP C4C with SAP CRM On Premise and SAP ERP. SAP CRM & C4C Integration Options.JPG

  1. SAP PI/PO – Recommended if you already have SAP PI/PO and prefer to have Integration On-Premise
  2. 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.

On Premise & On Demand Integration.JPG

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.

 

 

References:

Managing Innovation from the Land of Ideas and Talent: The 10-Year Story of SAP Labs India

SAP Cloud for Customer

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24 Comments

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  1. VINOD THUMALA

    Nice article. Will C4C be integrated with SAP CRM for product selection, pricing, campaigns etc so Sales users can process quotes and submit to an order in CRM solution?

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  2. Greg Root

    Hello Nithin,

    Nice write up! Three REALLY IMPORTANT corrections:

    CORRECTION #1

    You wrote:

    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 isn’t an “integration component” specific to SAP Cloud for Customer. The multi-tenant environment doesn’t spontaneously force all customers to move to a new method of integration.


    The integration services in SAP Cloud for Customer are basically Enterprise Services. These Enterprise Services are versioned and managed as part of a Services Oriented Architecture in the exact way that enterprise services are managed with the SAP NetWeaver technology stack for SAP’s on-premise solutions. Any future deprecation of an interface is documented in the “what’s new” with each release. There will be a period of time when two versions of the interface will be available (I can’t remember the exact duration, but it is on a scale of many months). So yes, there will be a drop dead date where the old version of the interface will no longer be supported and all calls to that interface will fail.


    BENEFIT: When SAP Cloud for Customer is integrated with any external system (SAP and/or non-SAP systems), because two versions of the interface are available at the same time, customers can plan, make adjustments, test the adjustments against QA systems, etc. Each customer in a multi-tenant environment can move to the new version of the interface at a time and pace that makes sense for them.


    CORRECTION #2

    You wrote:

    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.

    Each upgrade or release does NOT overwrite any customers’ custom solutions or extensions on top of C4C.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Without requiring the SDK, each tenant is highly configured to match the very specific fingerprint of each customer’s organization. This configuration is called a solution profile. The tenant profile is managed by the strong lifecycle management backbone. The tenant profile includes not only the business configuration choices, but also all the extensibility adaptations that have been made. Extensibility adaptations include:

    • Company specific documentation on a global or per-“ui page” basis
    • Output form customizations based on customer, market segment, or master layouts,
    • Custom analytics,
    • Custom KPI’s,
    • UI mashups
    • Web service scenarios and communication arrangements,
    • Custom fields, and
    • New data object definitions

    The last two bullet points are extremely interesting because this allows a customer to extend the definition of existing data objects or create brand new data objects, without involving a developer. Custom fields can be added to screens, control visibility of data in other fields, added to the enterprise search results, embedded on output forms (e.g., visit reports), utilized as characteristics in the analytics engine, and dynamically enhance the web service(s) defined for existing data objects. A great example has been published on YouTube, demonstrating the addition of a custom field to a screen. This same concept was then further demonstrated in another video where the custom field was made available to analytics.

    The tenant can then be hyper-configured by the customers’ administrators to create unique Business Roles. When users are registered in the tenant, they are assigned one or more of the business roles. A business role defines:

    • Which features are available to the users assigned to the business role,
    • What data can the user see,
    • scope of data can they create or change,
    • The type of a page layout they see. Customers’ administrators can define their own page layouts to control the arrangement, visibility, read-only status, and mandatory state for fields on the page. A very brief look at these page layouts is seen in the 1408 “what’s new” video segment. More information on this and all tht extensibility topics can be seen in the SAP Cloud for Customer Administrators Guide in the section entitled Administrator Adaptation Quick Guide (HTML5).


    BENEFIT: To be clear, all of the above extensibility topics are implemented using the built-in web-based key user tools. No developers need to be involved.

    If customers or partners need to utilize the SAP Cloud Applications Studio (the SDK), the studio allows them to work with the same entities that SAP uses in the core development of its cloud solutions and to develop solution capabilities that have the same look and feel as the SAP standard cloud solutions.


    BENEFIT: Because the SAP Cloud Applications Studio (SDK) is deeply integrated with the SAP cloud solution, it provides a strong lifecycle management backbone that supports the long life of each customers’ solution. The studio supports the development of solution capabilities that are tailored for specific customers. The development and deployment of these solution capabilities causes no disruption to daily business because the upload process of a solution to a customer’s production system does not require any system downtime.

    CORRECTION #3

    You wrote:

    There is also a single-tenant model for customers which is a private edition for additional cost.


    Private edition is not limited to a single tenant.

    Some customers require their data to be segregated to separate physical hardware. The Private Edition is an optional service and includes a dedicated multi-tenant system for single customer usage and customized maintenance windows.


    BENEFIT: A customer may elect to have up to 10 production tenants on a Private Edition system (independent of the count of DEV, QA, TEST cloud tenants in their landscape) and a customized maintenance window.

    Best,

    Greg Root

    Senior Technology Advisor

    TAGS: cloud_integration, extensibility, sap_cloud_applications_studio, multi-tenant, private_edition, production_tenant, tenant

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    1. Kavindra Joshi

      Any future deprecation of an interface is documented in the “what’s new” with each release. There will be a period of time when two versions of the interface will be available (I can’t remember the exact duration, but it is on a scale of many months). So yes, there will be a drop dead date where the old version of the interface will no longer be supported and all calls to that interface will fail.”

      Interfaces are usually timeless( Vishal Sikka used this line many times ). So any changes of interface is internally inside SAP is frowned upon and there has to be very high level approval triggered for this. So as I understand this would be a very rare scenario.

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      1. Greg Root

        Hello Kavindra,

        I couldn’t agree more; not only on the concept, but also the internal details here at SAP. Yes, any change has to go to a global approval board for alignment across ALL products. This is why the API’s in the Public Solution Model in SAP Business ByDesign have hardly changed. Not because the product hasn’t grown, but because of the foresight and careful thinking before the product was released.

        Greg

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  3. Michael Janello

    very informative, does anybody has use cases where a customer would have a solution like MDG involved, meaning not only having CRM or ERP as “backend” but also a MDG instance ?

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  4. Sunil Yadav

    Hi Nithin ,


    Nice article. Will C4C be integrated with SAP CRM for product selection, pricing, campaigns etc so Sales users can process quotes and submit to an order in CRM solution?


    WR,

    Sunil

    (0) 
    1. Ankur Godre

      Hello Sunil,

      Yes, the standard pre-packaged integration offers integration to all these objects.

      While creation of Quotes in C4C, users can add products which replicate from CRM to C4C & request pricing for them which again is fetched from CRM to C4C. finally, they can send Order creation request for this Quote from C4C to CRM OnPremise.

      Hope this helps.

      BR

      Ankur

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    1. Chandan Bankar

      Hello Deep,

      C4C uses BODL (Body Definition Language) for defining the Business Object while ABSL (Advance Business Scripting Language) as scripting language.

      Regards,

      Chandan

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  5. ravi kiran

    Great Job Nitin..Greg,Appreciate your observations.That’s how SAP community works.SAP upgrades faster than light.I  have seen top Business owners at SAP got lost in the Architecture. 😆

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