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What’s the difference between S/4HANA in-memory and traditional marketing software?

As development lead for campaign management in SAP S/4HANA Marketing Cloud and SAP Hybris Marketing, I often get asked why SAP decided to build a completely new marketing suite based on SAP HANA instead of just enhancing the existing SAP solutions. The answer can be boiled down as follows:

  • With the multiplication of communication channels and touchpoints for consumers via internet, web shops, social media, service center and brick-and-mortar stores also the number of marketing-related data streams have multiplied.Those marketing data streams are normally overlapping (e.g. browsing history), deeply related (e.g. read product review and buy product) and sometimes ambiguous (e.g. mail addresses). Only looking on one channel at a time does not cover the reality of consumers anymore nor will it allow personalized communication fitting to customers need and behavior
  • It is way easier and powerful to have one central source of truth to store the golden record of consumers and interactions instead of having multiple cross connected systems which constantly try to stay in sync but still only tell a fraction of the truth.
  • The availability of in-memory databases which can keep all consumer and interaction data in the main memory for millions of individuals at a time changes marketing fundamentally. This opens new ways of consumer identification and allows to personalize marketing based on past and future customer behavior.

Hear how MHP/Porsche provide a continuous experience for their customers across brands, format and devices with SAP Hybris Marketing:

If you want to have a good answer to all challenges above you can use the technology of the past and build a super-complex cluster of independent and cross connected marketing solutions which are permanently pushing data from one end to the other.

The more future-proof way is to use S/4HANA Marketing Cloud or Hybris Marketing on-premise which leverage SAP HANA as the platform to provide one scalable and in-memory solution. It acts as the single source of truth which receives marketing data from all front-end systems like web shops, CRM solutions or point-of-sales applications.This is the approach SAP has chosen to for S/4HANA Marketing Cloud and SAP Hybris Marketing. Here is a series of documents and demos which show that S/4HANA Marketing Cloud and SAP Hybris Marketing are a new category of marketing software:

  1. Marketing planning, segmentation, campaign execution and analytics – all in one box
  2. Segmentation with predictive analytics, scoring and product recommendation out-of-the-box
  3. Marketing permissions, subscriptions and landing pages in S/4HANA Marketing Cloud
  4. Context aware marketing content which receives context from omnichannel
  5. Cross channel marketing automation and execution

So after seeing the demos and reading the blogs, I hope you agree that SAP S/4HANA Marketing Cloud is really a different kind of beast and a new software category compared to the traditional marketing. It is probably the only end-to-end marketing suite on the market which truly offers the engine for a world in which data is the new oil.

If you want to learn more on how marketing has changed see the video below. Charles Nicholls explains in a great analysis why marketing needs more ears instead of talking just louder.

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  • Hello @Jan, Thanks a lot for insight. But it is still not clear for me why SAP opt to a new Porduct for Marketing in Cloud aka S/4 HANA Marketing cloud?

    When Hybris Marketing can seamlessly integrate with cloud software, what was the need?

    As a consultant we are really confused, where SAP is heading and where to concentrate our learning process. As Cloud edition of Marketing obviously comes with restriction of enhancement, we can not talk to customer frequently.

    Could you please emphasize?


  • Hi Krish,

    first of all:

    • S/4HANA Marketing Cloud and SAP Hybris Marketing is the same product with the same codeline.
    • Only difference is the deployment and consumption model – the first is in the cloud and the second is on premise.

    If a customer chooses the cloud then he can benefit from a quicker time-to-value due to all features are preconfigured. Additionally he does not need to care about operation or upgrade of the system. For sure he can also adapt the standard scope and extend e.g. by creating own data objects, uploading own data sources or extending standard with field extension.

    Besides those advantages of cloud many customer still want to run their system on-premise e.g. due to legal obligations or an IT strategy which wants to keep core and sensible data behind the firewall.

    With S/4HANA Marketing Cloud and SAP Hybris Marketing we can cover all those aspects and customers only need to choose the right approach for them.



  • Hello Jan,

    Many thanks, things are bit clear. But I have questions regarding your statement ” the same product with the same codeline.”

    1. can we do the configuration and enhancement say BADI in Marketing Cloud as we are doing in Hybris Marketing – on premise?

    2. Is the development takes place in SAP GUI Enviornment also for Marketing Cloud?

    3. as we heard about from colleagues,with the cloud software consultant role as configuring System fading way, is this same in Hybris Marketing also? I mean a so-called functional consultant is not required any more for Marketing cloud, as SAP provides everything, or am I thinking in another direction?

    It would be really helpful, if you clarify please.


  •  ->can we do the configuration and enhancement say BADI in Marketing Cloud...
    Yes, we provide Fiori-based customizing apps which replace the well-known SPRO in SAP GUI. Here is an expamle.

    We also have besides the extensiblity apps in S/4 special BADIs (which are not SAP GUI). Here is an example how this works with developing own campaign channels based on HCI.

    ->cloud software consultant role as configuring System fading way...
    For sure not, only the tools you will use will be different but not the tasks!!!

  • Hello Jan,

    Many thanks again. The more I discuss with you, things get more clear. Although couple of questions again appear:

    1. are we writing same ABAP or it is new ABAP enhanced for Cloud?
    2. How Transport mechanism would take place related to Transport Customizing and Development from One System to Another?

    It would be nice if you can also share some links to get some pictorial view.


  • @Jan, now it is complete Blog where everyone can understand difference between S/4 HANA Marketing and Hybris Marketing On-Premise. 🙂 Keep it up and look forward for your future blogs.

  • Hello Jan

    Thanks for the blog. But, based on what I have followed in the recent years, I thought SAP Hybris was the CRM/Marketing solution SAP was offering for cloud. And I thought it was coded in Java whereas S/4HANA is built with ABAP (I mean the API layer).

    Here, in your blog, you mention that Hybris is for on-premise deployment model and you say it shares the same codeline with S/4HANA Marketing  and you also imply that they are coded in ABAP. Did I understand correctly?

    If so, does that mean SAP is actually re-implementing its marketing solution in ABAP to be under the S/4HANA hood but keeping the Hybris brand?

    Sorry if I am confusing things but I hope you can see that SAP is not making it easy as it does not provide clear boundaries for the products/solutions they offer.

    Kind Regards


    *-- Serdar


    • Hi Serdar,

      has SAP Hybris Marketing has been completely developed in ABAP/HANA right from the start. It can be run on-premise or consumed in the cloud. The cloud offering has been sold in the past under the name "S/4 Hana Marketing Cloud" or "Cloud for Marketing edition" but has been recently rebranded to SAP Hybris Marketing Cloud.

      So it's all the same software and code based on SAP HANA and ABAP.





      • Hi Jan

        Thanks for your response.

        But the Hybris software SAP acquired in 2013 was not ABAP/HANA, was it? At what point the Hybris software was transformed?

        Kind Regards