Now that SAP's acquisition of Swiss e-commerce vendor hybris has been made official and the integration of hybris technology with SAP's CRM toolset has begun, SearchSAP spoke with Volker Hildebrand, global vice president of CRM solutions at SAP, about the vendor's plans for SAP hybris and how customers will be affected.
SAP has made it clear that hybris will be its go-to e-commerce platform going forward, over its own Web Channel Experience Managementplatform. If it's that great, what took you so long to purchase the company?
Volker Hildebrand: [Chuckles.] That's a good question. I think it only took a little bit longer because we did have an e-commerce solution. The question was, continue to build, or buy? If there was a complete gap in [SAP's] software portfolio, it would have been an easier decision.
What do you tell those that have already purchased Web Channel Experience Management? How are you going to handle the licensing? Can they switch?
Hildebrand: Each customer is going to be different. We've already begun to reach out to our customers. Every situation will be different and there will be individual recommendations depending on the customer's situation. The same goes for the financial side. Of course, if everything's up and running [and working well with SAP Web Channel Experience Management], there may be no reason to migrate.
What about continuing support for Web Channel Experience Management?
Hildebrand: We are fully committed to maintaining the Web Channel Experience Management solution. From a maintenance perspective, there shouldn't be any concerns for these customers.
What does the SAP hybris combination give customers that they can't get with some of your other competitors, like IBM, Oracle and Endeca?
Hildebrand: SAP is very serious about the CRM [and] e-commerce market, and not ceding anything to our competitors. It really is a very unique combination of a market-leading commerce platform … in combination with other technologies like HANA.
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Other products originated in the early 1990s, and the underlying technologies haven't changed that much. You could almost say there are a lot of outdated technologies out there.
What do you mean by outdated technologies?
Hildebrand: It's not necessarily specific functionality. These are things that can be coded and implemented fairly quickly. It's the flexibility of the solution. [For example, hybris customer] W.W. Grainger Inc. has like one million products [and] thousands of price changes. There's constant change. There's flexibility in order to adapt to these things quickly. There's also the flexibility when it comes to channels. That's a key advantage.
How does this fit together with the rest of SAP's software portfolio?
Hildebrand: We're working with hybris on integration with SAP back-end systems. We're going to productize this as much as possible so SAP customers basically have the advantage of out-of-the-box integration when it comes to things like master data, customer data, the order management process, etc.; things like available-to-promise, integration with supply chain systems.
These are things we're looking at on the integration with [the] ERP back-end side of things. There's also the way that hybris can be used on the sell side with the Ariba Network.
This was first published in August 2013