4 Key Takeaways about the SAP C/4HANA Announcement

Evan Klein

Last month at SAP SAPPHIRE NOW, an innovative cloud and business technology conference, I sat in the audience as a customer revolution was unveiled.

“When it comes to CRM, SAP was the last to accept the status quo,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, “And SAP will be the first to change it.”

Bill went on to announce a new suite of SAP applications called C/4HANA. This integrated offering is designed to modernize the sales-only focus of legacy CRM solutions and put customers at the forefront. Formerly under the SAP Hybris name, the SAP C/4HANA portfolio includes SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP Commerce Cloud, SAP Service Cloud, SAP Customer Data Cloud (including the acquired Gigya solutions) and SAP Sales Cloud (including the acquired CallidusCloud solutions).

The message resonated with me. I’ve been part of a number of strategy sessions with organizations that are considering digital transformation. There’s a lot to discuss, but conversations tend to hone in on the product, the bottom line, resources, efficiencies, competitors, and then quickly pivots to technology solutions. “Tell us more about your customers,” myself or colleagues will usually have to prompt.

It’s time to prioritize the customer experience and redefine what comprises an effective customer service platform. The SAP C/4HANA announcement leaves us with a lot to unpack. Here are four takeaways I’m focusing on as we continue to enable our clients to go to market with a best-in-class platform:

1. A Single View of the Customer is Needed

Disparate and fragmented tech stacks need to be a thing of the past. Not only do multiple technology solutions tend to overlap, but reporting is haphazard, leaving organizations with a customer journey puzzle that needs to be pieced together.

We need a single view of the customer. C/4HANA not only marries CRM, commerce, marketing, services, sales and data, but it is also centralized around the customer experience. This puts customers at the heart of the organization, while the business simultaneously better understands the customer journey.

2. Today’s Customer is Tomorrow’s Customer

Lifelong customers are created with trust, great solutions, and consultative sales. SAP C/4HANA helps create lifelong customers versus single transactions. Instead of looking at the customer journey disparately, this technology provides insight into the entire lifecycle, allowing businesses to provide solutions (both products and services) for any customer challenge.

Simply put, C/4HANA allows companies to provide customer value at all times.

3. We Need to Protect our Customers’ Data

Collecting data is a catch-22. On the one hand, we need it to deliver personalized and customer-centric experiences; on the other, we’re expecting customers to trust us with private information. Access to customer data is a privilege and not a right. GDPR, breaches, cyber attacks, identity theft – some of many risks in collecting customer information.

SAP C/4HANA Data Management enables companies to gain visibility and control over highly distributed data. Businesses and customers alike have transparency over data collection, privacy, security and compliance, helping to build trust in this digital economy.

4. Let’s Give Customers a Holistic Experience

Is your organization keeping pace with its customers and responding to their needs? Connecting the front and back office, C/4HANA enables businesses to bring consumer-driven innovation to market faster via microservices. This, coupled with Zaelab’s continuous innovation methodology, quickly transforms organizations into customer-centric businesses.

Are there other key impacts from the C/4HANA announcement? Is customer experience a priority for your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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