SAP C/4HANA - why, what and when?

March 13, 2019 Posted by: Nico Dhaene
cloud CRM

SAP C/4HANA is the name of the new generation CRM system that SAP has launched last year.

After a couple of years of re-branding the cloud and front-office solutions to Hybris, SAP has decided to return to the brand name SAP, which is, according to market research, more trustworthy and familiar than Hybris. 

In SAP C/4HANA, the “C” stands for “Customer” and “4” for the 4th CRM generation and of course everything runs HANA. The similarity with S/4HANA will have been a nice coincidence 😉.

1.     Why - a new-generation CRM is required

The expectations of the customer towards your company is changing. Customers expect the same customer-oriented approach and experience during all aspects of their customer journey (information, pre-sales, after-sales) and regardless of the channels they are contacting your company by (phone, e-mail, apps, website, social media, store, …)

The traditional CRM was designed along a predefined, linear customer lifecycle, from awareness, to consideration, to purchase, to service. The new CRM must support iterative customer journeys that vary from one customer to the next and where the early stages of the engagement are bypassed altogether once a customer has established a strong bond with the brand.

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The traditional CRM was designed along a simple, product sales business model. The new CRM must support a variety of business models aiming at offering exceptional services to lifetime customers. For this reasons previous CRM systems were designed around the sales opportunity. The core of the new CRM is the customer profile in which nowadays explicit permission from customers is required to use their data.

The new CRM generation has to be designed as a set of microservices that can support rapid business transformation, for a world of big data and a new level of sophistication via machine learning and artificial intelligence, and assuming an everchanging, heterogenous IT landscape.

2.     What is the strategy of SAP to achieve this customer experience?

SAP C/4HANA is intended to revolutionize the CRM market by combining front-office CRM and marketing applications with back-end transactional ERP systems and business applications, including SAP S/4HANA. These applications are integrated via SAP Cloud Platform and embedded with technology like machine learning and AI via SAP Leonardo.

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SAP C/4HANA is an integrated offering designed to modernize the sales-only focus of legacy CRM solutions. The recently acquisitions of market leaders like Hybris, Gigya, CallidusCloud and Coresystems will be introduced in the already existing solutions (Hybris Sales and Service, Commerce, …) to support all front-office functions, such as consumer data protection, marketing, commerce, sales, and customer service.

The SAP C/4HANA solution will exist out of 5 functional pillars

  • SAP Marketing Cloud
    • Formerly known as Hybris Marketing
    • Marketing, Customer attribution and Loyaly
  • SAP Commerce Cloud
    • Formerly known as Hybris Commerce
  • SAP Sales Cloud
    • The formerly known Hybris Sales Cloud solution will be extended with the CallidusCloud functionality to close the gaps with regards to CPQ (Configure Price Quote), automate the proposal process, Contract Lifecycle management and Sales Commissions
  • SAP Service Cloud
    • The formerly known Hybris Service Cloud solution which supported customer and field service will now also incorporate field management technology from Coresystems as well as chatbots
  • SAP Customer Data Cloud (new)
    • This is the Gigya solution around Customer Identity Management that will be integrated within the C/4HANA solutions which gathers data of known and unknown visitors to a company's website. This data is then evaluated to ensure more proactive engagements with visitors, as well as gaining insights on the kinds of products and services visitors are interested in, inquire about or search for. It also assists companies in ensuring GDPR.

The SAP C/4HANA strategy is a good step in the right direction by SAP as customers expect from SAP that

  • SAP solutions are closely integrated with each other, which will be improved by each release as the functionalities are now considered as part of 1 solution, the C/4HANA suite
  • Complete the product offering and the end-to-end process (product configurator, quote generator, sales performance management, crowd service, chatbots, …) and overcome the existing gaps
  • Add additional functionalities to the solutions, which the customers require, due to market and legal evolutions (customer data cloud for data protection and GDPR)
3.     When will all of this be available?

These new functionalities will be introduced into the SAP C/4HANA solutions within the next releases

For the SAP Sales Cloud functionalities from Callidus that will be integrated, there is not much information available for the moment but in the 1092 release, for SAP Service Cloud solution, in Field Service Management, the following functionalities, which come from CoreSystems, have been added:

  • Planning and Dispatching Improvements
  • Customer Self-Service
  • Crowd Workforce
  • Field Service Execution

To summarize, SAP C/4HANA is a new branding of existing solutions and integration of new functionalities of recently acquired entreprises. SAP C/4HANA is a package with its full suite of front-end products in one offering, while weaving in innovative technologies like machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) functionality, and then optimizing it all for the cloud.

It seems like a good strategy from SAP but a lot will depend on the integration of the different products and acquisitions into 1 platform as Commerce is based on Java, C4C on Javascript and Marketing on ABAP for the OP solution. The future will tell us how SAP will be able to integrate these different technologies into one platform … and of course our next Expertum blogs!

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Nico Dhaene