SAP has been a pioneer in offering on=premise Enterprise Resource Management and Customer Engagement solutions with limitless flexibility in customization and enhancements. While this is a boon, but it has its own limitations, for e.g., allowing this level of tweaks with the system can slow down agility & innovation and essentially upgrading a system becomes a mammoth task. That being said, the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products recently released in the market by SAP are a generous solution to the like-wise problems faced by clients and SAP users. The idea behind the SaaS Cloud for Customer Engagement solution is to maintain control over the standard layer which offers Enhancements and innovation on regular (quaterly) intervals.
But this does not limit the functionality to alter or build custom innovation onto the standard layer. Every tenant has a partner layer which can be user to integrate custom solutions onto the standard layer. This can be achieved by Administrators directly on run-time via the Adaptation functionality or by developers via the Cloud Solution Development Kit which enables enhancement over the partner layer.
SAP Cloud of Customer has a multi-tenant architecture, which essentially means that a single instance of the application serves multiple customers. Every quarterly upgrade to the application is rolled out to all the customers using that instance.
SAP also provides an option for a single private tenant at additional costs. Although it is also hosted over the SAP cloud over the 7 layers of security, but is a complete private space of one single customer.
C4C is offered with pre-packaged out of the box integrations with SAP on-premise CRM and ECC. These can be integrated using the below SAP middlewares:
- SAP PI/PO Process Integration – Recommended when integrating already PI using on-premise systems
- SAP HCI Hana Cloud Integration – Recommended when integrating cloud solutions like S/4 to C4C
Business Model for Transactions
On a high level, everything to do with Business Data in C4C revolves around Business Object. Business Object is the initial stage of defining a custom transaction/functionality which encapsulates all the business fields related to a specific entity. Thus essentially it means, unlike in SAP on-premise, SAP C4C does not require building structures and tables for transactional data, but instead a Business Object file (.bo) which holds all the transactional elements and is coded in Business Object Defining Language (BODL).
The script files which are created on the Business Object are responsible for the element and data manipulation and logic creation for the display of varied and customer centric data on the C4C UI. These include programming in the ABAP Scripting Language (ABSL).
SAP has provided C4C with the User Interface – HTML5 UI, Microsoft Silverlight UI, Fiori/Responsive UI.
Essential differences between these User Interfaces are:
Silverlight UI – Runs on MS Silverlight supported browsers (IE), contains administrative tasks and used for admin purposes – For Administrators
HTML5 UI – Runs on any browser, contains all functionalities except some admin tasks – For End Users
Fiori/Responsive UI – Runs on any browser and Mobile systems, this is still evolving, follows the Fiori design paradigm and is at the heart of SAPs user-first strategy – For End Users
Cloud Applications Studio – Software Development KIT
The Cloud SDK enables partners and developers to enhance the C4C solution and extend its capabilities to include additional functionalities which the standard solution lacks.
Although this provides with the key-edge but there are however certain limitations with SDK. SAP Cloud for Customer runs on the SAP BusinessByDesign model (ByD) as a core solution. The Cloud Applications Studio provides access to the Public Solution Model (PSM) which contains the released content of the SAP Business by Design core solution. This content includes data types, business objects and other components that SAP have released/exposed to the partner layer, and provides a lot of re-use capability, the non-released or non-write enabled content still resides in the Standard layer and remains inaccessible through SDK as well.
SDK allows the developer community for many enhancements including and not limiting to web service integration, Modeling Floor plans, approvals, data loads, mobile UI screens, Authorization Management, UI Screen Designing via UI Designer, Ruby Scripts and more, it is highly controlled via the use of wizards and a layer of scripting languages – Business Object Definition Language (BODL) and ABAP Scripting Language (ABSL).
SAP C4C is an intelligent cloud product to move from the on-premise Customer Engagement solution to a cloud CRM solution. Although it may not provide the same level of customization and system tweaks as compared to the on-premise but that is essentially to reduce TCO, increase speed of innovation and ensure scalability throughout, thus ensuring the provision of Software-as-a-service to deliver a consistent and up-to-speed model for the organizations.