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SAP Customer Experience Live 2018: SAP steps up C/4 Hana efforts

SAP has used its Customer Experience Live conference in Barcelona to flesh out its C/4 Hana offer

SAP has signalled increased tempo for its C/4 Hana efforts at its customer experience conference in Barcelona.

Alex Atzberger, president of SAP Customer Experience, told conference attendees that the supplier had intensified the C/4 Hana initiative announced at Sapphire Now in June.

The company had, he said, identified an “inflection point in the CRM” market, which has enabled it to “disrupt” that market through a two-pronged strategy of acquisition and partnering. SAP has Salesforce’s dominance of the customer relationship management (CRM) market in its sights with C/4.

The acquisitions of lead-to-cash software-as-a-service (SaaS) supplier Callidus Software and customer identity management platform provider Gigya were part of the drive to have more heft in the customer experience market.

And the Open Data Initiative – announced by Microsoft at its Ignite conference in Orlando last month – on which SAP, Adobe and Microsoft have joined forces demonstrates the openness that a fresh approach to CRM now requires, he said.

SAP’s acquisition of omni-channel commerce company Hybris in 2013 was part of the origin of the supplier’s turn to customer experience.

In his keynote address, Atzberger said an economy-wide drive for companies to improve their customer experience capabilities was emerging as a ground for getting beyond an opposition of “digital natives to incumbents”. He said the former had “data in their blood” but had been falling down on privacy, while older companies had been “getting smart about data and technology”.

SAP used the conference to announce its Upscale SaaS product, built on its cloud platform and designed for mid-sized retailers.

Atzberger also said the supplier was bringing forth an SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory for building enterprise applications and extending them across its C/4 Hana suite, which is made up of five functional clouds: SAP Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Customer Data Cloud. He said C/4 Hana now had 10,000 customers.

In a statement, Atzberger said: “Many mid-market companies want to be able to deploy smaller brands and pop-up stores in just a few days to test new products and markets. SAP Upscale Commerce offers just that – a complete solution that can be simply and quickly configured so it can go live in a very short time, and that allows customers to start small and ‘pay as they grow’.”

Upscale is available for early adopters in the US. It is said to “natively integrate artificial intelligence, allowing it to learn automatically what functions work best and to continuously show how to maximise channels that generate profits”.

Allied to an open source programme for cloud-native application development called Kyma, SAP’s Cloud Platform Extension Factory was said to “give users agile, open source tools to easily customise and extend API-enabled applications”. Availability of this is planned for 2019.

“By providing our customers with the openness and flexibility to develop new products in under an hour as opposed to months, we set them up for ongoing success in this always-on world. SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory is designed to benefit especially those businesses most impacted by digital transformation,” said Atzberger.

On stage, Christian Klein, chief operating officer of SAP, said it was using the whole range of its technology – acquired as well as home grown – in its own digital transformation to improve customer experience inside the company.

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