Last year, SAP CEO Bill McDermott promised customers a new CRM experience. SAP executive board member Hasso Plattner was even gushing about its name: C/4, as a symbol for the end-to-end CRM customer experience.
C/4 was SAP’s attempt at a continuous process from the first click in an online shop to production and delivery. E-commerce, pricing, online shop, CRM, supply chain, and logistics – everything was supposed to fit together beautifully.
However, Bill McDermott’s vision cannot be executed. C/4 is history already, even before one single prototype was developed.
At last year’s Sapphire in Orlando, everything seemed just fine. And Bill McDermott is right: a successful B2C strategy can only be realized with a CRM suite, a continuous E2E process. However, that does not mean that C/4 Hana is certainly going to be a success – far from it, actually.
That’s simply because SAP is too late. On the one hand, SAP customers realized a long time ago they would need a continuous CRM suite, and made one themselves out of Hybris, SAP CRM, Adobe, and many more IT tools. On the other hand, Adobe has had the same epiphany as SAP – only years earlier. For this very reason, it acquired the marketing automation specialist Marketo and the e-commerce expert Magento. Adobe is probably combining those acquisitions with its own software and cloud solutions as we speak – developing a CRM suite Bill McDermott could only dream of.
SAP CEO Bill McDermott realized that, too. At Microsoft’s Ignite last year, he announced a partnership with Microsoft and Adobe. That must have been hard for him, considering how much time he spent praising C/4 Hana to the highest heavens at Sapphire.
And it’s not going to get easier. Adobe will not just hand over their certain victory in CRM; there is just too much at stake. It’s highly likely that it is going to be the other way around. Bill McDermott practically invited it in, so why shouldn’t Adobe find its footing in the SAP community? Some SAP customers use Adobe software for marketing purposes; so why should they not exchange their expensive SAP Hybris for Magento/Marketo?
The situation with Microsoft is very similar. SAP tried to force it out of the ERP database market with Hana, and it nearly succeeded. But with its cloud and Suse Linux, Microsoft is back with a vengeance – and it’s not going to be shut out a second time.
The Microsoft-Adobe-SAP alliance was supposed to be an effective attack against CRM champion Salesforce. However, it was nothing more than SAP admitting defeat. Even if SAP C/4 Hana is ever completely finished, Salesforce and Adobe are just too far ahead by now. SAP CEO Bill McDermott interpreted the sign of the times correctly, he’s just way too late.