Reflections on the SAP C/4HANA strategy for the intelligent enterprise

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To enable the Intelligent Enterprise, beyond developing tools and solutions for real-time informed decisions, you need the right people and business drivers in place.

Albert Einstein said, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ To provide a superior CX, an understanding of human performance is critical.

Rewind 20 years, and in 1999 the behemoths of SAP, Oracle, IBM, and HP were untouchable in the world of enterprise computing. Market leadership was theirs to lose, and we all witnessed the changing dynamics over the next two decades. So, it’s no surprise that at SAPPHIRE NOW 2018, SAP responded with a challenger named SAP C/4HANA to their CRM nemesis who was busy clocking in a $3billion quarterly run-rate (that’s Salesforce, by the way).

The vision of enabling the intelligent enterprise needed a fresh approach, thought process, and strategy. SAP did just that. As I get ready for SAPPHIRE 2019 (amidst massive changes within SAP), I thought it might be pertinent to look at how the integration of systems influence the intelligent enterprise. This includes (the erstwhile names) Hybris, Abakus, Gigya, CallidusCloud, and Coresystems, covering the modular cloud offerings of customer data analytics, marketing, sales, digital commerce, and services, along with the Open Data Initiative (with Adobe and Microsoft) – all influencing the intelligent enterprise SAP pitch.

SAP is orchestrating the bundling of customer relationship management (CRM) services with all the back-office (finance, supply chain, etc.) solutions in its portfolio. The business drivers are clear for this move. In today’s dynamic ecosystem, a holistic solution for all front-office functions leads to an efficient demand chain that directly fuels the behaviors of the supply chain.

This two-step process achieves:

  1. The creation of a unified data model eliminating data silos allowing analytics on customer data
  2. An architecture adding extension frameworks through a microservices-based ecosystem (rather than complicating the core with expensive future-limiting bespoke changes).

SAP’s strategy of using HANA as the underpinning denominator to its SaaS applications, rather than as a standalone database technology, signals the new “intelligent core” value proposition of a consolidated architecture, product roadmap and position within the customer experience (CX) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) space.

The Qualtrics acquisition is significant to the intelligent enterprise roadmap from SAP. Qualtrics maintains data through direct, indirect and inferred customer feedback. This is the experience data (All data explaining: why things happen). It forms the core to improve customer and employee experience and engagement. It’s opening possibilities outside the core CRM market and justifying the hefty acquisition price. This experience data, combined with operational data (CRM, HCM, SCM, ERP data explaining: what is happening), automatically opens doors for SAP in the rapidly growing CRM market.

The Capgemini SAP Innovation Center is bridging these new offerings on customers’ current business systems and landscapes to a structured, agile way to support digital transformation journeys. Our Digital Customer Experience Customer 360 offering, under the joint Capgemini–SAP Fast Digital 4 Discreet industries (FD4DI) initiative, provides a comprehensive solution for seamless front-office functions. We have built this solution accelerator with new experiences across the sales, service, and  field services phases of customer journeys. Our portfolio and offering bring together architects, digital, consulting, line of business, technologies, sectors, and innovation interplay. We are building new microservices on top of the SAP Cloud Platform (open to third parties and running on AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud) to access open API services which then connect to the RESTful APIs of our solutions. Our customers can now leverage these microservices to pursue technology-driven business growth.

Meet us at the Expert Bar Capgemini Booth 721 from May 6–9 in Orlando during SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG 2019 to learn more how to enhance your Digital Core and provide a seamless customer experience to your customers.

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