S/4 vs. C/4 – Is SAP finally getting CRM right?

S/4 vs. C/4 – Is SAP finally getting CRM right?

It has been a while since I last mused about things S/4HANA and C/4HANA (or Customer Experience Suite) at SAP. So, it is time to have a look at what happened since. Last year I concluded that “the differentiation between the old world transactional systems and the systems of engagement is more and more being sorted out” and that the “modularization of the various clouds into ‘Micro’-Services would allow for a seamless recombination of systems that allow for the definition of functional scope according to customer needs as opposed to only offering pre-packaged systems”. Has there been any change, since? Let’s go along the questions that I asked in my previous post. How reliable is the roadmap, or rather, are the roadmaps? At the end of the day there is the eternal dilemma between flexibility and stability. How to go ahead with multiple back end systems? How are engines and industry solutions dealt with? How is the differentiation between S4 including customer management and the C4 offerings? All these questions continue to be relevant, as they are touching the core of SAP’s strategy. What is the current answer to them? Let me give my take on them, as I see it evolving. Just to be sure, this is my observation and me listening to customers, not an official word of SAP. Just my interpretation. After all I am not on the distribution list of SAP’s internal strategy discussions. Being a CRM guy and a suite guy, for me the last question is the elephant in the room. The answer to where SAP sees the boundary between S4 and C4...
Salesforce Einstein Search – The Formula for Customer Success?

Salesforce Einstein Search – The Formula for Customer Success?

The News Last week Salesforce announced Einstein Search, an enhancement of the search mechanisms that are already available in its applications. As usual you can read the announcement online or below. Salesforce wants to release three main issues with Einstein Search:     The diverse interests and objective of users of enterprise search make it hard to be as good as a consumer search as delivered by Google or Bing, or the other consumer search engines, especially if in an ecommerce environment. In an enterprise setting, objectives can vary between closing a deal or solving a case, or creating new campaigns. This creates hidden complexities. There are no safe assumptions. Data is residing in different silos and frequently not linked. Further, there is no one size fits it all as Salesforce as an application normally is customized to suit an individual customer’s needs Third, the data simply does not belong to Salesforce, with the consequence that Salesforce cannot look into the data, even not with the objective of improving search. This makes it impossible to use traditional machine learning approaches. As per now Einstein Search is in a private beta stadium with only a few customers using it. General availability is planned for 2020 but limited to customers on Unlimited, Enterprise, or Performance Edition plans with 150 or more active licenses for the Sales or Service Cloud. So far the implementation of Einstein Search covers the top 5 searched objects: accounts, opportunities, contacts, cases and leads, but is intended to support further objects. According to Will Breetz, VP of product management for Einstein Search at Salesforce, Einstein Search is...
SugarCRM – A Vendor getting its mojo back?

SugarCRM – A Vendor getting its mojo back?

Anno Domini 2019 SugarCRM seems to be on its way to getting its mojo back. I remember Sugar as a well renowned brand in the sales force automation arena with roots in the open source community. If memory serves right, the company lost a lot of momentum when switching from a freemium model to a paid model by essentially discontinuing the community edition. Since then I need to admit that the vendor somewhat vanished from my personal radar. This happened around 2014 or 2015. SugarCRM had lost its mojo for me, which is somewhat sad. I knew it existed but it somehow faded away with the exception of news about the intensified partnership with IBM and then the company being acquired by a venture capitalist last year. Is it only me? Not quite. This fading away is also mirrored by Google Trends. On the other hand it is entirely possible that I did not appear on SugarCRM’s analyst relationships radar. Fast forward to today, and SugarCRM consistently rates pretty well in the Gartner Magic Quadrants for sales force automation. The company ranks as a visionary at least since 2017 and is close to the threshold of becoming a leader. The Gartner Group finds it suitable for organizations of all sizes with a focus on mid-sized to large organizations. Forrester research also speaks favourably of the company. Sugar Sell (formerly known as SugarCRM) ranks well on G2Crowd, where it is placed amongst the leaders. SugarCRM also over time belted a few awards. My interest was piqued again by Bob Thompson of CustomerThink who asked me for a comment when he...
The Demo, the 7P of Planning, and Customer Experience

The Demo, the 7P of Planning, and Customer Experience

Being a consultant being called into or asked to do a product demo is inevitable. A demo is one of the most powerful tools that product/solution vendors and their partners have in their arsenal to convince prospects. The demo is a key part of the customer journey that the buyer of enterprise software takes. A good experience in this step will establish the trust that is necessary to go any further with a vendor and/or implementation partner. A great demo can make an underdog a winner while a poor demo can make the frontrunner an outright loser. Well, and sometimes the underdog’s killer demo scores them only the second place in a winner-takes-it-all world. I have seen and done that on both sides of the table, given good and bad demos, sat as a customer or trusted adviser, attending bad to great demos. And it is always amazing to see and participate. One thing is for sure: If you get into the make or break position of a competitive demo in a short list, you better remember The 7 P of Planning Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Know thy customer; and know her well. Who is part of the buying center? Who decides? Who influences who? Who has the money? What are their likes and dislikes? What are their interests? What do they want to achieve? What do they expect to see? How can I surprise/wow them? Who is my friend? These are only some of the more important questions that you need to get answers for before the demo. Other ones include answering how important this...
Salesforce goes SMB – again

Salesforce goes SMB – again

The News Last week, on July 24, 2019 Salesforce announced adding conversation channels to its Salesforce Essentials offering with the goal of giving small businesses more personalized ways to interact with their customers. As usual, you can read the press release below or directly on the Salesforce web site. In a nutshell, Salesforce adds the ability to have conversations with Facebook Messenger, to get notifications when customers comment to posts and videos on Instagram or Youtube, and native phone support. All this can get set up with the help of simple guided walkthroughs. The overall goals are to speed up the setup and to offer a path for growth. The latter being offered by the fact that Salesforce Essentials is built on the same platform as Salesforce’s enterprise applications and is essentially an entry tier for small businesses. Still, talking to Melissa Meli, Director of Product Marketing for Salesforce Essentials, the emphasis is on easy.   Salesforce Adds New Conversation Channels to Salesforce Essentials, Giving Small Businesses Personalized Ways to Interact with Customers    With Salesforce Essentials, small businesses can easily adopt the world’s #1 CRM platform— designed to scale and grow with them   New social, chat and phone capabilities in Salesforce Essentials empower small businesses to communicate with customers on their preferred channels—and can be deployed in just minutes    Customers like G Photography, Mission.org and PepTalkHer rely on Salesforce Essentials to reimagine and grow their business   SAN FRANCISCO—JULY 24, 2019—Salesforce [NYSE: CRM], the global leader in CRM, today delivered new conversation channels in Salesforce Essentials, the all-in-one CRM solution built specifically for small businesses. Salesforce Essentials empowers every small...