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The Customer Revolution – An Open Letter

By Alex Atzberger, President, SAP Customer Experience

Today marks an important day for enterprises and their customers. SAP is launching SAP C/4HANA, our new customer experience suite.

We are putting a stake in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) market because we believe the time is right for fourth-generation CRM. After client-server, point solutions, and cloud-based CRM systems, it is time for a new intelligent era in CRM. Today’s systems are fatigued and customers want choice.

Enterprises are obsessing about customer experience. The time when it was enough to build strong relationships with customers through great products and great service is long gone. They’re table stakes in a world where products are becoming services and the need for engaging customer experiences are formed by a series of moments before, during, and long after the purchase.

The desire for experience is fuelling the customer revolution

I call it a revolution because people, frustrated with disappointing customer experiences, are in revolt. They are taking charge of relationships with their favourite brands. They don’t think in terms of B2B or B2C. This is the “Me2B” world. What it means is simple: The customer dictates the relationship and determines how they want to interact. They can and do walk away. This applies to both consumers and business customers. Their expectations are impacting the way CRM software is built:

  1. Data privacy. People don’t want their data used without their knowledge. Artificial intelligence allows for powerful analytics of customer data. At the same time, this raises the stakes around data privacy. Once consumers lose faith that a business protects their sensitive data and handles it responsibly, that trust is gone.
  2. Treat people like people. Customers don’t want to be treated like a sales opportunity. They want businesses to know their preferences, anticipate their needs and act accordingly.
  3. Connected Experiences. Finally, given all the choices, channels and options, customers want a consistently great experience every time.

These trends are shaping customer experience. Next-generation CRM is not about automation and efficiency, it is about intelligent engagement and effectiveness. It’s about creating a series of moments which feel genuine and engender trust. Ultimately, it puts people at the center.

Introducing SAP C/4HANA

SAP C/4HANA is a modern integrated suite that enables a business to manage the full customer experience, from lead to fulfilment. It doesn’t just stop when your order is processed. It’s an offering designed to modernize the sales-only focus of legacy CRM solution.

The backbone of SAP C/4HANA is trusted customer data. SAP Customer Data Cloud acts as a central repository for customer data across your business but also empowers the customers themselves to see – and consent to – the data that businesses collect and use. Today, 1.3 billion identities are managed in the SAP Customer Data Cloud.

By using consistent customer data across the end-to-end process from lead to cash, customers can create a consistent and memorable experience for their customers, whether it’s running individualized campaigns with the SAP Marketing Cloud, delivering omnichannel buying experiences with our market leading SAP Commerce Cloud, personalizing sales engagements with the SAP Sales Cloud, or orchestrating the best possible customer service experiences with SAP Service Cloud.

With the acquisition of Coresystems, a Swiss-based pioneer in crowd service and a leading field service management platform, we are enriching the services aspect of our portfolio. Read more about the acquisition here.

Perhaps the best part of SAP C/4HANA is that it taps directly into the digital core of SAP S/4HANA in a way that no one else can. The strength of the front office is powered by the digital core.

I couldn’t be more excited about this launch. Our customer experience suite C/4HANA is designed for the emerging new business models rather than those of the past. It is built around the customer – and their data – rather than around process automation. Moreover, it acknowledges that storing and using that data is a privilege and should be done with integrity and the consent of the customer.

Connecting with customers is easy, making it a lifelong relationship is what matters. At SAP we earn your trust every day. We are excited to change the customer experience for your customers. Join the revolution with us!