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Author's profile photo Jan Matthes

What’s the difference between embedded CRM and best-of-breed CRM?

As product manager which has been working for most of the SAP developed CRM solutions I often get asked about the differences and merits of stand-alone marketing, sales and service solution and those which are embedded into an ERP.

Let me first explain the terms “embedded CRM” and “stand-alone CRM”. An embedded CRM (like SAP Business ByDesign CRM) has the following characteristics:

In contrast a stand-alone or best-of-breed CRM solution (like SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP Sales Cloud, Service Cloud or the suite product SAP C/4HANA) has the following attributes:

  • Independent marketing, sales or service applications which are loosely connected usually also with an ERP like S/4HANA or SAP Business ByDesign
  • Very deep functionalities in each domain like marketing, sales, service with independent master data
  • Middleware which manages the integration flows of transactions and master data
  • Stand-alone customer analytics which can be consolidated with an independent business intelligence solution like SAP Analytics Cloud
  • Usually different user interfaces for each application of the suite

Irrespective if you aim for a stand-alone or an embedded CRM you ideally want to have all teams working with the same data and the same user interface with tightly integrated customer engaging business scenarios like the following:

  1. Marketing to Opportunity
  2. Customer Contract Management
  3. Order-to-Cash (Project-Based Services)
  4. Order-to-Cash (Standardized Services)
  5. Order-to-Cash (Sell-from-Stock)
  6. Order-to-Cash (Third-Party Order Process)
  7. Order-to-Cash (Specified Products)
  8. Over-the-Counter Sales
  9. Request to Resolve
  10. Field Service and Repair
  11. Customer Return Management
  12. Product Catalog Management
  13. Rebate Management

So you might ask “what is now the best for my business?”. The answer depends a lot on the priorities,strategy and size of your company.

If you have a medium-sized organization with limited IT budget you probably want keep the number of systems you need to run low. So you essentially need a digital core like the Cloud ERP SAP Business ByDesign and e.g. want to connect your webshop or POS solution to it. Depending on your business you might than later on decide to extend the ByDesign embedded campaign management with a best-of-breed marketing solution like SAP Marketing Cloud in order to expand your consumer and social media marketing. Other companies which e.g. have a B2B-only focus might instead extend the ByDesign embedded collaboration window with an omni-channel communication center solution like SAP Customer Engagement Center to enhance selling and service by phone and social media channel.

SAP Business ByDesign is in both cases the digital core for an end-to-end marketing, sales, and service customer journey covering the complete process from first interaction to order execution. This gives the benefit of a minimized TCO with business processes which easily cross departmental boundaries without interruption. If this is not sufficient the core can be extended with any SAP or 3rd party CRM stand-alone solution step-by-step.

For sure it is also an option to take SAP C/4HANA as complete solution. C/4 is the 4th generation CRM suite for high-end marketing, sales, and service scenarios and can be integrated to SAP Business ByDesign as digital core. Choosing this approach organizations benefit from maximized end-to-end business processes and a well integrated  digital core.

C/4 consists and combines 5 best-of-breed solutions:

  1. SAP Customer Data Cloud
  2. SAP Marketing Cloud
  3. SAP Sales Cloud
  4. SAP Commerce Cloud
  5. SAP Service Cloud


SAP Customer Data Cloud (aka Gigya)

Customer Data Cloud is based on the solution which was formerly under the name Gigya. It is the central master data hub for all C/4HANA solutions and provides:

  • Identity Management: Registration-as-a-Service, Social Login, Federation & Single Sign On
  • Consent Management:  Communication Preferences & Opt-in Management, Self-Service preference center, Consent Management
  • and Profile Management: Data Transformation & Unification, Orchestration & Governance, Customer Insights, Preferences and Consent Data Store

SAP Marketing Cloud (aka Hybris Marketing Cloud)

Marketing Cloud is SAP’s campaign management and marketing automation solution. It provides everything from gathering interactions, merging and enriching data, segmentation, predictions and personalized marketing content on various communication channels.

SAP Sales Cloud (aka C4C and Callidus)

Sales Cloud combines the solutions known as Cloud for Customer (which has been developed by SAP in 2010 using SAP Business ByDesign as platform) and CallidusCloud which has been acquired in 2018. It includes not only the advanced sales force automation you also know from ByDesign but also tools for sales enablement, training and performance management. It offers:

  • Complete view of every customer
  • Recommended best next action
  • Real-time and predictive analytics
  • Interactive dashboards
  • Online/Offline capability

SAP Commerce Cloud (fka Hybris Commerce)

SAP’s award winning omni-channel commerce solution provides:

  • Product content management
  • Experience management
  • Order management
  • Merchandising and Personalization

SAP Service Cloud (aka C4S and Core Systems)

Service Cloud provides not only multi-channel communication center (SAP Customer Engagement Center) but also field service (aka Core Systems and Cloud for Service) including IoT integration.

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      Author's profile photo Jan Matthes
      Jan Matthes
      Blog Post Author

      Here you find more details on ByD CRM: