Hybris, SeeWhy, CRM, cloud: How SAP is pulling it all together

SAP is pushing its Customer Engagement and Commerce suite as a way firms can take advantage of technologies for sales and marketing across all their digital channels.

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After buying e-commerce firm Hybris last year and targeted sales specialist SeeWhy in May , SAP has now brought all its CRM and marketing products into an integrated suite.

The enterprise software giant says the new suite, branded Customer Engagement and Commerce, is designed to offer businesses an integrated approach to delivering real-time experiences to customers across all digital channels.

"We're going to make it even easier for an SAP customer to take advantage of Hybris in addition to their ERP and CRM investments," Hybris chief strategy officer Brian Walker said.

"We're also, of course, still very much focused on the non-SAP customer being able to take advantage of Hybris as well and integrate it into any environment."

Walker said customers will be able to exchange information, such as customer data, between a variety of systems to produce a single view of the customer.

"The digital channels as well as sales, service and marketing are now utilising a consistent data store for customer data and inventory and supply-chain data and a consistent set of business processes — from how a consumer or a B2B or telecoms customer is going to discover, research and buy and, of course, how the order gets processed," he said.

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Along with Hybris and HANA in-memory computing, SAP products included in Customer Engagement and Commerce include SAP Cloud for Sales, SAP Cloud for Service, SAP Cloud for Marketing and SAP Cloud for Social Engagement.

Walker said those offerings have already been used together by a number of customers but now SAP is presenting them as a product with improved integration to speed up deployment.

According to Hybris UK VP of product strategy Stefan Schmidt, the important difference now is the availability of an API to run across software products that before existed separately.

"If you want to know something about a customer and what orders he placed or what kinds of engagement in terms of what emails you've sent to him, it's not important anymore whether that data come from Hybris, from the CRM system, or from the customer-service module," Schmidt said.

"That data is all coming through that single layer, which gives customers the ability to develop mobile applications much faster, online applications, build integration into their fixed devices, build integration into any kind of other platform that they might want to use.

"By harmonising those things under one single API, those kinds of integration points become much easier, and obviously we are adding more features that we couldn't do before."

Schmidt said a business that wants to deliver an attractive contextual offer to a customer needs not just historical data from the traditional CRM system, and orders in Hybris, but also fleeting data such as current browsing and email activity

"I need to understand your context so that I hopefully tell the right story. We bring different signals and information together. Before, that was always a big project. It was longer term. It was possible but it was harder work. Now we're bringing it together and delivering it as a product," he said.

Hybris' Brian Walker said SAP's offering also addresses practical issues such as presenting consistent pricing and inventory view, something with which many companies still struggle.

"Whether it's a customer calling the contact centre or looking online or on a mobile device, it's consistent pricing, it's consistent inventory data, and obviously we have a consistent understanding of who you are as customer so that we can serve you appropriately," he said.

SAP will continue to provide the various elements of Customer Engagement and Commerce as standalone products.

"You'll have customers who'll say, 'I just want that bit or that bit'. But what we also need to realise is that many customers are going to be implementing these capabilities over time," Walker said.

"What they're looking for is a solution that they can build from. It might be replacing functionality or technology they have today with a better solution that ties together in a suite. It may also be about leveraging some of the assets that they already have in place and extending that.

"You're binding all this together. You've got this strong comprehensive enterprise capability but you're enabling a high level agility at the front end. So customers who want to explore what a wearable device like Google Glass means to them can do that very quickly on top of Hybris, which is the front end for much of the Customer Engagement and Commerce solution."

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