SAP Customer Experience (SAP CX) is SAP’s flagship customer relationship management (CRM) solution and successor to SAP CRM. It consists of a mixture of SAP-developed functionality and acquired solutions brought under the SAP umbrella from 2013-2018. It runs off the SAP HANA platform and utilizes the SAP Fiori user interface.
SAP began laying the foundation for SAP Customer Experience in 2013 when it acquired hybris, a leading provider of e-commerce software, and rebranded it to SAP Hybris. This solution would exist alongside the on-premise SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution.
With the arrival of SAP S/4HANA in 2015, however, SAP began moving existing lines of business to this new platform. While financials and logistics capabilities were SAP’s main transitional focus when launching SAP S/4HANA, SAP also focused on developing new products for all lines of business, including the successor to SAP CRM.
During this period of development, SAP acquired yet more third-party CRM software to add to its SAP CRM and SAP Hybris functionalities. Such acquisitions included the Coresystems, CallidusCloud, and Gigya products, giving SAP’s portfolio more robust field service, sales productivity, and data security capabilities.
SAP announced the SAP C/4HANA solution at the 2018 SAPPHIRE NOW technology conference in Orlando, Florida, following the successful completion of these acquisitions. During the event, it was announced that SAP C/4HANA would run on the SAP S/4HANA platform and consist of five key, cloud-based “pillars” that would encompass the entire CRM environment: commerce, marketing, revenue, sales, and service.
In late 2018, SAP acquired an experience management company named Qualtrics, which focuses on providing businesses with actionable insight gleaned from customer sentiment, and heavily promoted this new functionality during SAPPHIRE NOW 2019 as part of a new initiative dubbed SAP Customer Experience. The idea? To recognize that we’re seeing a “customer experience revolution” and putting the customer at the forefront of decision making. The Qualtrics suite would allow SAP C/4HANA customers to elicit feedback from all stakeholders and make better decisions.
In addition to these changes, SAP slightly adjusted its five-pillar strategy to consist of the following pillars: SAP Customer Data Cloud, SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP Commerce Cloud, SAP Sales Cloud, and SAP Service Cloud.
In June 2020, SAP rebranded SAP C/4HANA as SAP Customer Experience.
SAP Customer Experience is different from SAP S/4HANA Finance and the four logistics-related lines of business in SAP S/4HANA in that its key innovations aren’t necessarily tied to in-house development, but rather by bundling existing functionalities that had yet to coexist. The base of the SAP Customer Experience suite, for example, consists of hybris functionality, while customer data management functionality comes from the Gigya acquisition and its customer experience measurement functionality originated with Qualtrics.
That said, SAP is continuing to develop these pieces to further integrate them alongside newly developed tools and existing solutions such as SAP CRM, SAP S/4HANA, and non-SAP systems via API.
SAP Customer Experience consists of a set of five “pillar” cloud solutions, each of which cover a unique CRM area.
SAP Customer Data Cloud focuses on ethically collecting, keeping, and protecting customer information. It helps provide businesses with ways to securely gather information filled in via form, and allows customers to control their data in a way that is compliant with GDPR requirements.
SAP Marketing Cloud focuses on business activities aimed at earning and retaining customers. This solution takes a look at data from all marketing activities and evaluates the impact of each. With this data, businesses can make informed decisions on how to speak to customers.
SAP Commerce Cloud focuses on product content management, experience management, personalization, and order management. This solution provides users with out-of-the-box functionality to create and maintain an e-commerce presence.
SAP Sales Cloud serves the needs of a business’ sales team. The solution uses artificial intelligence to handle forecasting and other data collection and reporting, and provides employees with a 360-degree view of customers, ensuring nobody gets lost during the sales process.
SAP Service Cloud focuses on handling numerous different requests for service from customers. Whether that means a late-night Facebook message or an in-person chat during call center hours, this solution helps teams provide a seamless and consistent experience for customers asking for help.
As their names suggest, the five parts of the SAP Customer Experience suite are cloud-based, making deployment easier than it would be for an on-premise iteration. The more important consideration here is choosing the architecture that fits the organization’s needs; not all five clouds need to be implemented, and an organization can pick and choose those which make the most sense for its business.
For example, an architecture based on omnichannel commerce and contextual marketing would look like this:
SAP has published a set of best practices for cloud deployments that help customers deploying the solution make the most of their implementation. Options include best practices for SAP Cloud for Customer integration, SAP S/4HANA integration with SAP Commerce Cloud, and SAP Marketing Cloud implementation.
Additionally, SAP offers a handful of fixed-scope, fixed-deliverable, and fixed-fee services for customers looking for guidance on the initial implementation steps. These do not necessarily cover the full scope of setting up an SAP Customer Experience system.
SAP Commerce Cloud functionality is also available in on-premise form, although it is unknown how long SAP will offer it. Similarly, the marketing functionality was also once available on-premise but was discontinued by SAP in recent years.
SAP Customer Experience receives multiple updates each year, on a quarterly cycle. The naming conventions for SAP Customer Experience releases follows this four-digit format: year/month. For example, the 2002 release of SAP Customer Experience refers to the release that came out in the year 2020 (20), month of February (02).
In addition to the information laid out above, there are a handful of important SAP Customer Experience terms you should also be familiar with. Here are they are in list form:
Want to learn more about SAP Customer Experience? Additional information can be found in the blogs and books listed below.
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