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Which SAP C/4HANA deployment options create great customer experience?

Companies looking to SAP to help them create great customer experience should understand C/4HANA deployment options and which is best for them.

Formerly known as SAP Hybris, SAP Customer Experience -- also branded as SAP C/4HANA -- is a HANA-powered, cloud-based B2B and B2C CRM software catering to a diverse range of industries.

In the announcement from Sapphire Now 2018, SAP CMO of Customer Experience Kevin Cochrane wrote, "SAP Hybris is now SAP Customer Experience, which is represented as a product suite called SAP C/4HANA." The latter is the dominant term, but companies should understand they may hear both terms and should speak with SAP representatives as they become interested in the software to see what changes arise.

C/4HANA consists of the following five components:

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

CIOs planning an SAP C/4HANA, or SAP Customer Experience, implementation will need to make decisions about which components they want, which deployment choices are right for them and the specific implementation tools they'll use.

To help guide those decisions, here's advice on those three critical areas and what helps to make a C/4HANA deployment successful.

Choose the right SAP C/4HANA components

The right mix of C/4HANA components can help ensure that a company achieves a faster return on their customer experience investment. To that end, here are the five components and the business functions they serve:

  1. SAP Commerce Cloud (formerly SAP Hybris Commerce) gives companies the ability to create products and services catalogs from which customers can choose.
  2. SAP Marketing Cloud (formerly SAP Hybris Marketing) enables companies to integrate their various marketing initiatives -- such as advertisements in print, electronic or social media -- and, through analytics, gives them the ability to track which marketing efforts are converting into sales.
  3. SAP Sales Cloud (formerly SAP Hybris Sales) empowers the sales team throughout the selling cycle. It gives customers an easy way to find information on a company's product or service, and in addition, it captures information about the customer for the sales team. The component offers features such as quote creation and submission, order tracking, billing and automatic payment enablement.
  4. SAP Service Cloud (formerly SAP Hybris Services) enables customers to request a return, replacement or refund for the delivered products or services with a hassle-free experience, which, in turn, boosts the likelihood that customers will recommend the company to others.
  5. SAP Customer Data Cloud gathers data of known and unknown visitors to a company's website. This data is then evaluated to ensure more proactive engagements with visitors, as well as gaining insights on the kinds of products and services visitors are interested in, inquire about or search for. It also assists companies in ensuring GDPR.

Choose SAP deployment options to boost customer experience

Choosing the right deployment options ... primarily depends on which Customer Experience components a company chooses to implement.

Choosing the right deployment options, whether public cloud, private cloud or on premises, primarily depends on which C/4HANA components a company chooses to implement and how well they integrate with a company's existing infrastructure. For example, Sales Cloud and Service Cloud are only available in public cloud; there's no on-premises deployment available. Commerce Cloud is not only available on premises but also in private cloud. Marketing Cloud is available in all three deployment options -- public cloud, private cloud and on premises -- and can also be integrated with SAP CRM or even SAP ERP Central Component (ECC). But an integration prerequisite is that the on-premises CRM or ECC needs to run on a HANA database.

Choosing among public or private cloud and on premises largely depends on a company's internal security policies, as well as budget considerations. It is far less expensive to implement SAP C/4HANA components in a public cloud than in a private cloud or even on premises. Another advantage of using public cloud is that there's a routine and scheduled maintenance upgrade that enables the companies to always use the latest version of C/4HANA. Other advantages of the public cloud are that it takes much less time to deploy and the bar for the skills required for specific C/4HANA components is set relatively low.

The downsides of using a public cloud are that there aren't many customization options available, and companies also have to follow the maintenance upgrade schedule of SAP. In contrast to public cloud, companies have complete freedom and flexibility to choose their own maintenance and upgrade schedule in a private cloud or for on-premises deployment options. They also have a number of configuration and customization options to meet a company's business needs.

Choose SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions or SAP Best Practices

There are several Rapid Deployment Solutions (RDS) available that are specific to implementing different components of C/4HANA. An RDS is a fixed-scope, fixed-deliverable and fixed-fee engagement service offered by SAP professional services. Companies that want C/4HANA for specific or unique business requirements will need to engage SAP partners for their implementation.

In contrast to SAP RDS, SAP Best Practices for C/4HANA implementation entail following a step-by-step approach. SAP Best Practices are available for Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud and also Service Cloud.

This was last published in August 2018

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What are some SAP Customer Experience implementation choices your company is considering?
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