SAP Insists CRM Is A ‘Tired Acronym’ — It’s Time For Reinvention

Remember when SAP used to be an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) company? No hang on. Remember when SAP used to be a data platform (SAP HANA), mobile (it bought Sybase), Business Intelligence (it bought Business Objects) and then a cloud and developer company? Yes we know; it keeps reengineering itself in an exacting Germanic fashion — if not a wholly organic one. Now SAP is a Customer Relationship Management(CRM) company. At least that’s what the latest reinvention is designed to tell us.


The problem CRM faces was explained by SAP customer engagement and commerce leader for Europe at IBM, Mukul Dixit when speaking at an event in London this morning. Dixit broke down the traditional commercial IT structure of old as follows:

  • Ecommerce (with finance underneath it to serve it)
  • Marketing (with merchandising, public relations, advertising etc.)
  • Sales & Service (with all the mechanics of hands-on customer interaction)

From Tweet to receipt

The suggestion is that these three practices have always existed as silos up until now. In fairness, we do have different names for each. The technology proposition from SAP is one that claims to be able to span all three disciplines and connect customers (brace yourself for a cheesy line) in terms of engagement ‘from the point of Tweet to receipt’.

Senior VP of marketing for SAP hybris Jamie Anderson explained the position and claimed that, “CRM is a tired acronym today, so some reinvention is justified.”

SAP asserts that legacy cloud-based CRM technologies (yes, you can guess which firm is being referenced here) create business complexity because their foundations predate the rise of social media and mobility.

The firm is now releasing a portfolio of its hybris brand software tools that perform functions in customer profiling, digital commerce and community development.

CRM Is A ‘Tired Acronym’

“The customer journey is no longer a linear process — look at the way online, social and things like brand advocacy interplay today,” said SAP’s Anderson. “Some people even say that there will be no salespeople in 20-years time. The point is, a massive percentage of customer journeys start with Google — and estimates suggest that somewhere around 50-60% of the customer decision [in any scenario] is completed before any customer’s first interaction with sales. In so many cases, CRM has become Customer Records Management i.e. it simply becomes a case of process/admin Management to complete orders — there’s no Relationship and the Customer has become forgotten.”

The firm thinks it has an answer to put the R (and the C) back into CRM and one that will span the commercial silos we called out above. This involves connecting the front office and back office in real time — linking people, inventory, supply chain, pricing and customers together. This means that the new front office must go beyond the traditional marketing, sales and service automation functions and include integrated, real-time personalization, web and mobile commerce, social customer service etc.

The SAP hybris Profile solution is essentially a piece of software designed to capture all interactions, contexts and behaviors to create a continually evolving and dynamic profile of the customer. It is designed to ‘surface actions’ (or highlight tasks, if you prefer) for real-time one-to-one engagement with every customer across all touchpoints. Specifically, SAP hybris Profile is planned to be the omni-channel delivery capability of the future, offering a visual contextualization of the customer’s experience.

Intended to become the modular business microservices layer for the planned SAP hybris front office on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP hybris as-a-Service is envisioned to help customers by providing community, autonomy and simplicity i.e. the three terms we really want to describe the way we buy things now.

Planned features include an ecosystem of solution providers to help innovate (with low cost and low barriers to implementation) — and microservices to administrate functionalities. It all comes with a cloud delivery model for cost-efficient consumption of functionality.

Source (forbes):

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