The SAP Customer Experience portfolio covers every step in the process, from the first contact a customer has with a company through to when they choose to buy from it. SAP achieves this by integrating various solutions for marketing, sales, and customer relationship management.

Understand SAP Customer Experience in 10 questions with SAP’s Christopher Knörr, expert on customer experience (CX):

1. More and more companies are thinking about customer focus in terms of business models. How have their customer relationship management (CRM) strategies changed in recent years?

Having standalone marketing, sales, and e-commerce solutions used to be good enough for most purposes. Times have changed, and a simple customer inquiry is now likely to involve multiple departments. Here’s an example: A new customer registers on a website and searches for products. The customer services team has no idea about this, however, because the system in which the customer registers is not connected to theirs.

Another typical case is that of a customer who has agreed to their data being processed. They expect the company processing it to work as one. This means that as soon as the customer has signed up, marketing staff and the customer services team know they have a potential new customer and that they can tailor invitations to workshops and other offerings to the customer because they know what that person searched for.

Many customers today expect to receive the right content at the right time and through the right channel.

2. Launched in June 2018, SAP Customer Experience integrates various solutions for marketing, sales, retail, and CRM. What’s the strategy behind it?

In recent years, solutions for these business functions have gone under all sorts of guises, from hybris, SAP Hybris, and SAP S/4HANA Public Marketing Cloud to SAP C4C. Then acquisitions such as Gigya, Callidus Cloud, and Coresystems were added to the mix. The time had come for one integrated solution under one new name.

The Future of Customer Relationship Management

SAP Customer Experience is our front-end suite for SAP S/4HANA. That is why we also call it SAP C/4HANA in our conversations with CIOs and IT experts. All you need to remember, though, is that we have created a solution that businesses can use to offer their customers the best possible service throughout the entire engagement. This is the foundation for enthusiastic customers who remain so for a long time to come.

3. How is SAP Customer Experience different than classic CRM?

CRM mostly contains functions for sales, customer service, and maybe also marketing. Yet these modules are rarely integrated. We’ve changed that. Whenever marketing launches a new campaign, sales is notified automatically because the modules are integrated. We are also tapping into digital sales as a new customer channel. In practice, this means that a member of the sales team, say, can check that a product is available, its price, and the margin on it before the customer buys. The sales person can tailor the offer to the customer on the fly while knowing that the offer can be realized and is profitable. SAP Customer Experience gets the data it needs to do this from the ERP or SAP S/4HANA system. That is an end-to-end process. Sales staff are still our main customers, though. They want a solution that is intuitive and easy to use, and that gives them a 360-degree view of the customer.

4. What new services can businesses offer by connecting their front-end and back-end processes?

All our solutions are now in the SAP Customer Experience portfolio. As I mentioned earlier, sales staff can see straight away whether a product is available and find out how much the margin is for a certain discount. The solutions automatically pull this data from the back end. If the sales person changes their forecast for the next quarter, then this information is fed to the back-end system in real time.

For instance, increasing demand directly affects a CFO’s budgeting and procurement and manufacturing processes. Smart sensors report problems with products and machines — and whether repairs are needed — directly to SAP Service Cloud. The system then automatically checks service agreements with customers, creates a service ticket, and sends a technician with the right skills out to the customer. They are just some examples of how SAP Customer Experience has already made SAP’s vision of the Intelligent Enterprise a reality.

Benefits of Customer Experience Suite

5. There are plenty of martech solution providers supporting content marketing and customer experience. What makes SAP different?

Our competitors’ disadvantage is that their data has to be replicated. Customer data has to be created again in a sales solution and products captured in the ERP system. What makes SAP Customer Experience different is that it is an integrated system. For example, the latest trends aren’t just reflected in business forecasts in SAP Digital Boardroom. These forecasts flow from there to sales staff. Artificial intelligent (AI) is then used to forecast business for the entire year. Without an integrated environment, you can’t even think about having smart functions like these, let alone implement them.

6. Where does SAP Customer Experience really come into its own?

Let’s say a new customer has just registered on a B2C portal. That’s really easy on the new SAP Customer Data Cloud because if the customer has a social media profile, with just one click they are registered and a central customer profile is created. Every subsequent click on the website, every product the customer looks at, and every newsletter article they read are recorded in their personal history. This results in a dynamic customer profile to which data is added all the time, ultimately creating a “golden record.” In real time, the Web shop learns which categories, styles, and colors the user has clicked most and personalizes the content for the SAP Commerce page, for instance, when the customers logs on the next time, or for marketing newsletters.

The process is very similar in the business-to-business segment. Using the same approach, a bathroom appliance manufacturer would learn the wholesaler’s preferences so that they could offer them the right products and information — everything from flyers to product launch announcements. The SAP Customer Experience portfolio also builds up a record of the wholesaler that can be used to offer the right price and identify up-selling opportunities.

7. What do the latest acquisitions — Callidus Cloud, Coresystems, Gigya — do?

SAP acquired Callidus Software, a company based in California that specializes in sales performance management, in early 2018. Its Callidus Cloud solution is now part of SAP Sales Cloud. Its sales module enables sales teams to identify exactly how the discount they offer affects the commission they earn on the products they sell.

Field services functions from Swiss software company Coresystems extend the SAP Service Cloud functions from the SAP suite. When someone scans the barcode on a heat pump, the Coresystems Now application recognizes which item it is. A chatbot then takes over and asks what the problem is, knows the service level agreed with the customer, organizes the procurement of replacement parts, and arranges an appointment with the technician.

SAP acquired Gigya, a company founded in Israel and headquartered in California, in the fall of 2017. It specializes in identity management software. Today’s SAP Data Cloud enables customers to register on one portal simply by using their social media profile while also protecting their data privacy under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Customers decide for themselves whether they want their personal information used for sending them newsletters and announcements.

8. Specifically, how do customers use SAP Customer Experience?

First, it depends on which modules in the SAP Customer Experience portfolio the customer has chosen to deploy. Setting up and implementing all the components in the system takes a bit of preparation time. Many customers start off with a small number of modules and then add more during the project.

Roadmap for Customer Experience

One option is to start with SAP Commerce Cloud before moving to SAP Data Cloud and SAP Marketing Cloud. Alternatively, customers can start with SAP Sales Cloud and extend with SAP Commerce Cloud and SAP Service Cloud. If they can keep close to the standard cloud setup and do not need highly customized processes specific to their business, then it is possible for the first users to go live in nine to 12 weeks. SAP Sales Cloud extended with Callidus, SAP Service Cloud extended with Coresystems, and SAP Data Cloud enriched with Gigya, are pure cloud solutions, whereas the marketing and commerce solutions are available on premise as well.

The advantage of cloud solutions is how fast innovation can be delivered. Each quarter, release innovation is imported at the press of a button.

9. How does SAP help customers implement SAP Customer Experience?

SAP puts customers in touch with one of its customer engagement executives, who is their dedicated point of contact for advice on using each solution in the suite. The idea here is to ensure customers understand its value and to make sure that users get the most out of the solution and enjoy working with it. The more satisfied customers are with the SAP Customer Experience portfolio, and the more loyal they are, the more revenue we can generate in the medium and long term.

10. Is SAP Customer Experience for small and large companies?

Almost all companies are focusing on customer experience right now — there are small companies of up to 30 employees that are using our sales or service and commerce solutions. But customer experience matters to every business. Companies get the most out of SAP Customer Experience portfolio when they combine it with SAP ERP or ideally SAP S/4HANA.

Learn more about SAP Customer Experience