Companies can no longer afford to be product-oriented in their business. Instead, now is the time to genuinely focus on the customer. Introducing SAP C/4HANA.

Digital customer experience is a lot more than just providing your customer with an online store or website. Customer-orientation must be the name of the game from the get-go. Although customer-orientation has been emphasised for quite some time now, the change has been slow, particularly in the B2B sector. If they have not already done so, now is the time for B2B companies to wake up to the fact that they must invest in this aspect if they want to hold their own in international competition. The big operators already have a considerable head start.

Changes in your own business are naturally always a major issue for the whole organisation, and no one expects systems alone to solve it. Even so, in this blog, I’ll be focusing on the opportunities offered by technology, and especially SAP C/4HANA.

C/4HANA is SAP’s product portfolio which aims for better service to your customer and the optimisation of life cycle value. It is easy to combine with Bilot’s other services, such as the development of microservices, planning end-user experiences, analytics and, naturally, integration, which intertwines the services together in a way which ensures that they work as a seamless whole from the perspective of our customers and their customers.

Five products

C/4HANA is composed of five main products:

SAP Marketing Cloud is a versatile solution for marketing and after-sales services. Among other things, it allows you to carry out various campaigns which aim to collect more leads for marketing and sales or usher existing customers to buy more. Marketing Cloud also allows you to send personalised messages, enables personalised experiences, and facilitates the measurement of marketing results to a considerable degree.

SAP Sales Cloud is what we’ve traditionally known as a CRM system or a customer-relationship management system. Its primary purpose is to provide as comprehensive a view as possible to a customer account in such a way that when your sales team visits a customer, they have a clear idea on what has already been done with the customer and what you should offer at this stage.

Sales Cloud also gives you the possibility to construct a clear process for the management of the sales pipeline, so that everyone has a clear image of the sales situation and on the measures to emphasise next. In addition, Sales Cloud provides your sales team with versatile tools for the planning and implementation of activities and tenders and for updating customer data with a mobile app while you’re in the field.

SAP Commerce Cloud is an online store platform, but something more than that as well – it’s a display window and service centre of sorts for customers, or a hub which combines data from various systems in the customer’s direction. From your customer’s point of view, Commerce Cloud also harmonises your sales outlet network and online store.

Many companies want to build their online stores in such a way that they also sell other companies’ products, while others prefer to bypass distributors and sell directly to end customers. The flexible Commerce Cloud allows for supporting less traditional online stores of this kind. It also offers possibilities for automating and improving even complex sales processes, such as the targeted sale of spare parts and product packages. The planning of a process of this nature should account for the needs of all service users and good user experiences.

The basic idea behind SAP Customer Data Cloud is to provide a single, centralised location in which to store the customer’s data, regardless of the services provided to the customer. The user experience is seamless, and the customer can use a single set of user credentials to log in to all services. The CDC also allows for the management of a customer’s various permits and licences.

Now that the GDPR has taken effect, data anonymisation and erasure is a very important feature for many of us. You can start off very lightly: the customer may initially provide you with their email address and name alone. More data can then be collected bit by bit, during stages where the collection also makes sense to the customer.

SAP Service Cloud enables services throughout the entire sales process and brings effective management to maintenance on the field and customer services, for example. Service Cloud significantly facilitates the planning, implementation and monitoring of work that requires services. The work of field maintenance can be managed as efficiently as possible and the employees’ drives and customer service’s worklists, for instance, can be optimised.

C/4HANA also includes other useful tools, such as the Analytics Cloud, which enables the collection of data from Marketing Cloud for the purposes of reporting and analytics. Cloud Platform Integration, on the other hand, provides a platform with which these services can be integrated not only amongst each other, but with external services such as an ERP system.

All of the services mentioned above are connected to SAP’s Cloud Platform. With the help of Cloud Extension Factory, we can already build microservices and other extensions as well in connection to this. While it may currently be only a vision of the near future, it allows these services to be connected to, say, services related to machine learning and the enhanced management of shopping carts.

SAP has made substantial investments in C/4HANA and the aspect of customer experiences over the past few years, and expanded and deepened its product portfolio through corporate acquisitions. The most recent addition in this respect is Qualtrics, which relates to the management of experiences. We’ll get back to this further down below.

The benefits are many

C/4HANA’s biggest business advantages involve the maximisation of a customer’s life cycle value, the smooth integration of services, and an efficient lead-to-cash-to-after-sales process. You can get going rapidly, and produce the first releases which create added value to your business on top of ready base solutions.

How can you create value as fast as possible, given how rapidly the world is changing? By doing things in an agile way and by not trying to build an enormous system from scratch, only to come to the conclusion that the world changed while you were building it and that it’s no longer actually relevant.

In one of our cases, our customer’s sales, marketing and customer service no longer functioned together efficiently. Marketing worked hard, but never passed on any leads to sales. The topic could not even be discussed, because there was no data to discuss.

C/4HANA is an answer to precisely these kinds of issues. If your marketing team implements campaigns and activities in Marketing Cloud, they are doing so transparently – sales and customer service know the situation. You can separately define when marketing leads become sales leads and the criteria according to which the leads are qualified. Customer service can also pass on new leads and additional information to sales on the basis of customer communication. Analytics and reporting replace intuition and hunches.

The services can be licensed. While C/4HANA is a portfolio, nothing stops you from adopting only a part of it. The more parts you take into use, the greater the benefit, but individual services are also provided and even they can produce plenty of added value as advanced services. And you can always expand later.

A checklist for a renovator of digital services

Identify the pain points. What are the aspects of your current system which do not work well enough?

Clarify your vision. Which aspects are relevant for you and at which stage? Which will provide you with the greatest business advantage?

Divide it into stages. No matter how many cloud solutions you choose to adopt, aim for a concrete result in production that is as rapid as possible, so that you can create value as fast as possible. Start from what’s most important and expand as necessary.

Get your processes in shape. You won’t get far with mere system changes – what you’ll also need are large-scale business transformations. You need to adapt your own processes to the new systems, and change management must support this.