From long, CRM applications are focussed on improving the operational efficency of sales force by empowering them with the tools which helps in reducing the delayed sale cycles and to increase the service productivity.
Digital tranformation has changed the dynamics of CRM from the customer relationship to customer engagement. Organisations are prepared to engage with their customers in end-to-end journey in providing personlised experience. We all are aware of the changes that the devices like mobile, tablets have brought to our business, it has empowered the end consumer like never before. The data that is created from various social networking sites has become valuable input for the companies to adopt their sales processes and how they service their customers. There are tons of data generated by various social networking sites online everyday , this data can be captured to deliver better customer experience across the sales, service, and marketing lifcycles.
In today’s digital world, it is important to draw insights of the data captured from the digitally connected devices. It helps in Predicting the unscheduled breakdown of the product (eg Predective mantaince through IOT ) can be quoted as example of, which also helps in planning of right technician at right time and to optimise spareparts inventory which eventually leads to customer satisfaction and faster service .
To handle ever changing dynmics of market, companies really needs a approach that helps them innovate by building value around the on-premise investments and to convert insights into actions.
SAP has business applications in four strategic functions (Customer, Supplier, Money, Employee) in public cloud space. SAP Cloud for customer is a( Software as service) cloud offering which falls under the category of customer function. It was brought under the protifolio of customer engagement and commerce with Cloud for customer, Hybris and seamless integration with On-premise systems through HCI which is an integraiton service in Hana cloud platform .
Through Cloud for customer, user has the opportunity to work on various channels like web, mobile, social, call centers , e-mail, marketing channels with the same universal user expereience in all the channels . It proivdes end-to-end user expereince across channels & devices with Fiori design.
Let me give you in-depth explanation of C4C product portfolio with Hana cloud platform underneath, on which the entire architecture rest.
HANA Cloud Platform : SAP HCP is a platform as service offering on HANA, which offers not only database as service, but also infrastructure and application as service. SAP HANA application as service provides option to the customers, to extend the current applications on cloud and build next generation comprehensive applications with collaboration to mobile and big data service. Mobile, portal, analytics, collaboration, security and integration are the services available in the area of application as a service, with HTML5, Java, and HANAXS runtimes. With this, the customers can build and develop their own application with provided services.
Social & predictive Analytics: Leveraging the power of HANA cloud platform, Cloud for customer delivers next generation predictive analytics with combined features of SAP infinite insight (KXEN) and predictive analysis. SAP infinite insight supports the capabilities of social (find your influencer), scorer (deploy your scores), explorer (prepare your data), recommendation’s (Personalized recommendation’s) which allows the business analysts users at any line of business to work without additional skill enhancements.
Line of Business Functions: C4C comes with the best of the functionalities in the areas of sales, service, marketing, social & analytics. Hybris is an industry leading Omni channel commerce solution combined with strength of HANA which enable businesses to optimize customer engagements and their businesses across all customer touch points. Hybris can be integrated to C4C, the B2B and B2C transactions created and can be integrated to C4C seamlessly. Cloud for customer is complete and matured solution, which provides options to businesses to extend or move the current applications to C4C. This allows companies to engage with customers and enjoy the benefit of providing the personalized approach in different lines of business.
Industries: C4C has prioritized industries based on CRM trends and customer demand. Some of the solutions in demand and released by SAP so far are Professional service, insurance, banking, utilities, hi-tech, Retail, AFS, CP,IM&C and Chemical .
The following are the some of the key differentiators of C4C in comparison with other cloud competitors,
1) Speed of deployment: Time to value is significantly faster than on-premise applications, a go-live would take typically from 3 days to 25 weeks or more based on the complexity of scope and requirements. If you are looking at out-of-box functionalities of C4C sales ( for eg), with integration to ERP or CRM with 2-5 migration object, it is safe to estimate up to 30-50 days . This is considered fairy quick deployment and lower time to value.
2) Version Upgrades: Upgrades and renewals will be taken care by SAP. SAP release a new version for every quarter. Customers are well informed in advance about the version plan and release timeline for their systems. Test tenant would be upgraded 2 weeks before the production tenants, this is provisioned so that customers have the lead time to take care of the custom activities. The current running version is 02.15.with C4C companies get upgrades free of cost unlike on-premise the upgrades comes with huge cost and unscheduled downtimes.
3) Integration: To leverage the value of on-premise already implemented and to extend some of specific processes on cloud to take advantage of HANA, customers have to look at hybrid model. With the help of HANA cloud integration, companies can integrate their on premise applications to Cloud for customer seamlessly. HCI is a cloud based technology with bi-directional process integration, it comes with pre-packaged integration iflows. HCI is not a part of C4C licenses, customers have to procure the license separately for both test and production tenants . After the initial security settings in both systems (eg like installing certificates etc), the integration activities would take upto 4 weeks or more, again subjective to complexity of scope of integration. The vital part of any implementation is integration with SAP ecosystem or with third applications as most of the customers current landscapes are hetrogenous, C4C along with HCI can handle this with greater flexibility and scalable for future needs.
4) Mobile: With the implementation of C4C, customer don’t have to opt for Mobile separately.The mobile apps provided for C4C can be very much operational when C4C goes live. Tenant URL used in the browser by desktop users can be used by mobile users while subscribing to application. Cloud for customer app is available on iOS and Android. User will experience the same look and feel of the UI screens in mobile and desktop browser. Mobile has Offline facility where the mobile user can create master data as well as edit transactions when they are offline and sync back when they come online. C4C mobile applications come free of cost and with minimal effort to make them operational.
5) Training: Cloud for customer is simple and easy-to-use, it means that the user doesn’t need to be specially trained on intuitive HTML5 UI. It is simple to use with same user experience of using gmail’s and ebay’s. C4C has a help center in every tenant, where the users can e-learn by navigating to how to videos and C4C knowledge libraries where all the features and functionalities are fully covered. Any customer specific customization developed or configured can be created as Company specific help in the form of a video or link. With the Help center, the user can effectively refer to the content as and when required, this will save lot of dollars towards training of end users.
6) Resources skill set: Typically if you are CRM on-premise functional consultant, you would like to take a career progression towards cloud, it would be easy transition considering the process similarities and integration touch points with on-premise CRM. For Developers, if you are a Webdynpro ABAP or C-sharp or .Net or Java developer or combination, you will be better suited to work on Cloud application studio. People who have experience on SAP PI are better suited to learn and work on HCI.
7) Post production Support: SAP will support customers to resolve issues relating to standard delivery. The users have an option of logging incident directly to SAP, if they face any issues related to C4C standard features which are out of box. However, Customers have to support themselves for the custom developments specific to their process. It is usually a huge cost advantage if post production support is taken care by product owner itself, this is something customers can’t ignore.
8) Subscription based Model: Cloud for customer is a subscription based model , customers can pick and choose the user license based on the module best suited for their business, it is just plug in and play ( eg : number of users in sales, service, social etc) subjective to changes. SAP is better placed to answer questions in this area.