SAP C/4HANA and CX - for sales, service, marketing
With SAP C/4HANA or SAP CX, companies manage their customer experience with the latest generation of tools. Find out here how this SAP product family is made up and what it does.
What is SAP C/4HANA?
SAP bundles several cloud solutions from the areas of customer experience (CX), customer relationship management (CRM) and e-commerce under the term "SAP C/4HANA".
The "C" in the product name stands for Customer and the "4" for fourth-generation software. HANA is the in-memory database technology of SAP SE, which scores with enormous performance.
SAP C/4HANA supports all customer-related areas in the company. These include, in particular, sales, marketing and customer service. However, the functional scope also maps important requirements from retail and consumer protection (data protection).
According to SAP, the aim of the software suite is to revolutionize the CRM sector. Among other things, this is to be achieved through the use of modern technologies such as machine learning. In addition, the focus of all function modules is no longer on the sales process, but on the customer.
SAP C/4HANA is one of the most modern solutions on the market: cloud-based, executable on all mobile devices and operating systems, including a mobile client, and also functionally state-of-the-art.
In addition, companies need less time to implement the solution than they used to for SAP CRM - with the SAP C/4HANA cloud solution, companies can get started quickly.
Is SAP C/4HANA a pure cloud solution?
Initially, parts of the C/4HANA Suite could still be used on-premise. In the meantime, however, C/4HANA is a pure cloud solution.
For those who still use a classic local SAP ECC installation and do not want to switch directly to the cloud, the only alternative currently available is the variant with a locally installed SAP S/4HANA system with customer management add-on.
What is the SAP C/4HANA Customer Experience Suite?
SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer (SAP C4C) has been SAP's customer service and sales offering since 2013.
Since 2018, SAP has bundled its cloud-based marketing, sales, service and commerce applications as SAP C/4HANA Suite. The new CRM cloud solution is called SAP C/4HANA Cloud.
In the past, there were a variety of names in the SAP CRM product world - including Hybris, SAP Hybris, SAP S/4HANA Public Marketing Cloud and SAP C4C. This was compounded by the acquisition of several third-party vendors such as Gigya, Callidus Cloud and Coresystems.
To standardize the use of language, SAP decided to use the collective term "SAP C/4HANA Customer Experience Suite." In the meantime, however, C/4HANA has mostly disappeared from this naming convention.
Today, SAP summarizes the entire CRM portfolio under the term SAP Customer Experience, or CX for short.
What is the difference between SAP CX and SAP C/4HANA?
SAP CX (SAP Customer Experience) is an official marketing term. SAP C/4HANA, on the other hand, is the actual collection of underlying software products.
Differentiation: SAP C/4HANA vs. SAP S/4HANA
The distinction between C/4HANA and S/4HANA is relatively simple: while C/4HANA focuses on customer experience (CX) and customer relationship management (CRM), SAP S/4HANA is the latest ERP generation. C/4HANA can be used "stand alone" or in close combination with S/4HANA.
Differentiation: SAP C/4HANA vs. SAP C4C
SAP C4C is short for SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer - the predecessor solution to SAP C/4HANA Service Cloud. The Hybris naming has now disappeared entirely from the SAP vernacular.
For whom is SAP C/4HANA relevant?
SAP C/4HANA is suitable for companies in all industries that want to realize a central "all-round view" of their customers in order to holistically optimize customer-related processes.
The target group also includes companies that want to get to know the behavior and needs of their customers better by analyzing a wide range of data in order to strengthen customer loyalty and increase their sales.
Which solutions are included in SAP C/4HANA?
The C/4HANA portfolio consists of a total of five corresponding cloud solutions:
- SAP Marketing Cloud (formerly Hybris Marketing Cloud).
- SAP Sales Cloud (formerly Hybris Sales Cloud)
- SAP Commerce Cloud (formerly Hybris Commerce Cloud)
- SAP Service Cloud
- SAP Customer Data Cloud
1. What is the SAP Marketing Cloud?
The Marketing Cloud pursues the goal of personalizing customer experiences across the company, strengthening customer confidence in the long term, stimulating demand, and optimizing marketing in general.
To this end, the C/4HANA component holds the following functions, among others:
- Campaign Management
- Lead management
- Personalized marketing with the help of machine learning (AI)
- Differentiated evaluation of marketing campaigns (including ROI analysis)
- Extensive data analysis on customer needs, target groups, products, availability, and revenues
- Big data analyses (e.g. for the optimization of multichannel campaigns)
2. What is the SAP Sales Cloud?
In the Sales Cloud, SAP bundles all relevant functions for sales and also makes them available on mobile devices. The tool thus creates the basis for faster processes in the sales area. It also helps to provide customers with individual support throughout their entire customer journey.
The most important features include:
- Offer and contract support for more speed in day-to-day business
- Sales dashboard (individual analyses from different perspectives)
- Predictive analytics (e.g., automatically identify promising leads and prospects)
- Influencer Map
- Provide personalized offers and individual prices across channels
3. What is SAP Commerce Cloud?
This is a platform that helps companies realize unified, high-quality, and personalized omnichannel customer experiences. The product is particularly targeted at e-commerce and omnichannel retailers.
It provides the following features, among others:
- Complete overview of each customer (across channels).
- Automatic personalization of the e-commerce shopping experience
- Dashboards to manage e-commerce activity (e.g., product content and inventory levels)
- Show and hide items based on customer search activity
4. What is the SAP Service Cloud?
The Service Cloud is a platform for managing and optimizing service processes. The main functions are:
- Control of field service technicians (including mobile data provision).
- Self-service for customers
- Integration of social media in service communication
- Omnichannel contact center
- AI chatbots
- Knowledge database
5. What is SAP Customer Data Cloud?
The SAP Customer Data Cloud helps companies meet regulatory requirements with regard to the control and transparency of personal data. This is particularly relevant for DSGVO compliance.
An important task of the Customer Data Cloud is also to turn first-time website or store visitors into returning regular users. For example, there are tools that encourage users to register or log in socially.
What advantages does the SAP Customer Data Cloud offer the customer?
From the customer's point of view, the main advantage of the Customer Data Cloud is that it gives them the option of transparent data control. This gives users access to clear, user-friendly self-services that give them insight into their data and experiences.
In addition, preferences are customizable. But the single-sign-on options (e.g., social login) are also an advantage from the user's point of view, as they simplify handling. Last but not least, customers benefit from a personalized approach and offers tailored to their target groups.
What are the advantages of SAP C/4HANA?
SAP C/4HANA unfolds its distinct added value through its concept: the seamless integration of all customer-related processes and data.
However, the software suite not only ensures a 360-degree view of the customer and individual support, it also ensures trust and empathy along the entire customer journey. This strengthens the customer relationship in the long term.
Does C/4HANA require the use of the HANA database?
SAP's provision of C/4HANA in the cloud includes the underlying infrastructure. This includes the database, which is usually a HANA database.
Do I need to switch to S/4HANA for customer management to use C/4HANA as a front office?
No. C/4HANA can also be used separately or in conjunction with other base applications (ERP systems).
How does C/4HANA work together with other SAP solutions?
In addition to the "digital core" SAP S/4HANA, C/4HANA works seamlessly with a number of other SAP solutions. These include, for example, SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Leonardo.
These connections enable, for example, the use of artificial intelligence for forecasting or the performance of real-time data analyses in the CRM context.
Is SAP C/4HANA creating a "CRM silo"?
The use of C/4HANA does not lead to a data silo or dependency. This is because, on the one hand, the software suite can be easily connected to third-party applications. On the other hand, it allows data to be exported for transfer to other databases.
From SAP Hybris to SAP C/4HANA - How did the name change come about?
Until mid-2018, the SAP CRM portfolio bore the name "SAP Hybris." The reason for the name change was, among other things, the acquisition of the providers Gigya, Callidus Software and Coresystems FSM AG.
In the course of these acquisitions, the existing and new systems had to be integrated. At the same time, the strategic orientation was changed. From now on, the customer was to be the clear focus. This was made clear with the "C" (Customer) in the new name C/4HANA.
What will the SAP CX product portfolio look like in the future?
SAP continues to work on its cloud-first strategy. In the CX and CRM environment, the Walldorf-based group is therefore clearly prioritizing the further development of the cloud-based C/4HANA product family.
Support for the existing CRM 7.0 product, on the other hand, will end in 2027.
Existing customers therefore have no choice but to migrate to C/4HANA. An alternative could be to use S/4HANA with the Customer Management add-on. However, not all C/4HANA functions are available in this case. For example, there is no client for the field service connection.
How complex is a changeover to SAP C/4HANA?
The integration of SAP C/4HANA into SAP S/4HANA and into SAP Business Suite is planned from the very beginning.
However, anyone interested in SAP C/4HANA should first put the processes and existing solutions in their own company to the test - after all, there are various integration paths available. However, the optimal path depends on the existing and planned IT landscape in the company.
In any case, setting up and implementing all components of the SAP Customer Experience in the existing system requires a certain amount of preparation time. Some customers start with a small number of modules - and then add more modules during the project.
How much the changeover will cost depends on many factors: for example, the individual requirements, the modules to be implemented, the customization requirements, and the third-party systems to be connected.
In principle, however, the implementation costs are lower than for earlier CRM products due to the cloud technology and the high level of standardization of the suite.
What does a classic SAP C/4HANA migration scenario look like?
When migrating from non-SAP systems to SAP C/4HANA, the pure data migration is the least of the challenges.
Rather, the complexity of the processes to be mapped determines the duration and costs of the migration. The number of interfaces also plays a role.
Markus Gaganis, Senior Project ManagerWould you like to switch to SAP C/4HANA? Feel free to contact me about it!
+49 2241 8845-633