This week at SAPPHIRE NOW, SAP discussed how the intelligent suite forms the new strategy for how its product portfolio interconnects to drive intelligent and data-fueled decisions.

One part of this suite is SAP C/4HANA, a dedicated customer experience suite designed to revolutionize customer relationship management (CRM) as we currently know it.

As the CMO of the newly minted SAP Customer Experience division, I’d like to reflect on this announcement through a marketing lens: What is the branding change? Why did SAP make this shift? And, why now?

C is for Customer

SAP Hybris is now SAP Customer Experience, which is represented as a product suite called SAP C/4HANA. The “C” is for customer and “4” stands for fourth-generation CRM. And the suite runs on the digital core, SAP S/4HANA. Follow this formula and, voilà, you have SAP C/4HANA.

Within this unified suite, we have also simplified the former SAP Hybris product offerings and acquired companies into:

  • SAP Commerce Cloud: Evolved from hybris’ flagship on-premise offering to its recent launch on Microsoft Azure
  • SAP Marketing Cloud: Now integrates to SAP Commerce Cloud and is open to partnerships
  • SAP Sales Cloud: Unites former SAP Hybris Cloud for Customers with SAP Revenue Cloud, the on-premise SAP Hybris Billing solution, and the acquired CallidusCloud solutions
  • SAP Service Cloud: Enables both field service and next generation, multi-channel customer engagement and support
  • SAP Customer Data Cloud: Incorporates the acquired Gigya solutions, which include consent, profile, and identity features

But Also for Clarity

From the analyst community to customers to the industry at large, we’ve heard you loud and clear that our naming conventions might not always be the most straightforward. We took that advice to heart and are keeping things simple to hopefully bring clarity to the conversation.

You may have seen the recent Overstock.com ads that poke fun at its name, trying to clear up confusion that it doesn’t sell overstocked goods. Hybris has always had a strong brand recognition, but some still affiliate the name only with commerce — which is certainly an important aspect of what we do, though it’s not the only thing. Commerce cloud is one piece within the more comprehensive SAP C/4HANA suite.

At the same time, SAP Customer Experience is part of SAP and runs on SAP’s digital core. By mirroring the SAP S/4HANA branding, we’re making it known that SAP C/4HANA is built on SAP Cloud Platform, demonstrating the end-to-end connection the intelligent suite provides.

It’s Time to Modernize CRM

Beyond making it easier for everyone to understand what customer experience solutions from SAP are and how they fit into the broader SAP ecosystem, it was important that we strike when the iron was hot, which is now. CRM is now the single largest enterprise applications market and customer experience is a top priority in boardrooms across the globe. However, today’s CRM systems are siloed and centered around sales. With an emphasis on customer-centricity, a consistent experience, and trusted data, SAP is uniquely positioned to modernize legacy CRM solutions.

We’re ready for the fourth generation of customers — the consumers who think in terms of “Me2B,” not B2B or B2C. They’re in the driver’s seat and enterprises must get on board and understand that customer relationships can’t be managed — they must be developed and fostered, not ending once a sale has closed.

Making connections with customers is easy, but making it a lifelong relationship is what matters.

Kevin Cochrane is chief marketing officer for SAP Customer Experience.