Given that SAP Cloud for Customer (C4C) is still a relatively new product, it’s perhaps inevitable that I’m hearing as many groans of dissatisfaction from SAP C4C customers as screams of delight. So, what’s going on and how can we convert those groans into screams?
Without oversimplifying things too much, most of the issues appear to be not with the solution but with the way the solution is sold and subsequently the way in which the implementation project is set-up and run.
While SAP is looking to win net new names for SAP C4C the most obvious and easiest customers to convert are those that already run SAP software. The problem is that existing SAP customers have expectations about what they can or cannot do with SAP software and quite naturally automatically apply these expectations to SAP C4C.
They assume for example, that SAP C4C is simply SAP CRM in the cloud. It’s not. SAP CRM is at this stage significantly more flexible, more configurable and more extensible than SAP C4C. In a previous blog I compared SAP CRM with an ocean and SAP C4C as a lake. Admittedly, a forced analogy but nonetheless it indicates a big difference between the two products.
So, customer expectations need to be clearly set during the sales process. Customers need to understand (a) that they are buying into SAP’s vision of sales, service and social engagement best practice when they sign up for the solution and (b) that although the solution can be configured and extended the scope of changes are limited.
I’m also seeing that SAP’s cloud methodology is not being used and that traditional approaches to SAP project delivery are still being used. Why is this? Follow the SAP cloud implementation approach – it works – and maximize your chance of a successful project delivery.
Finally, SAP CRM consultants are being re-badged as SAP C4C consultants without the necessary training. Yes, there are of course lots of similarities between the two products but there are more differences than similarities. It is very easy – and dangerous – for an SAP CRM consultant to assume that capability exists in SAP C4C based on their knowledge of SAP CRM. This is a recipe for disaster. Following the SAP cloud methodology will mitigate against some of this but if you are running solution design workshops without adequate knowledge of the product you are going to make potentially costly errors
So, to ensure project success and customer satisfaction, I would like to recommend that you consider the following:
Stop treating SAP C4C like traditional SAP software. It is different.
Stop making assumptions about SAP C4C functionality and capability. With SAP Business Suite solutions we have almost infinite capacity to adapt and extend the standard SAP solution. With SAP C4C we don’t.
Stop running blue sky workshops after you have chosen C4C. In the on premise world I’ve seen plenty of fingers get burned by taking this approach. In the cloud world you will lose your hands altogether. Blue sky post product selection with SAP CRM almost inevitably preceded a project with a significant custom development component. Blue sky post product selection with SAP C4C also precedes a project with a significant custom development component but because C4C is not as extensible as SAP CRM it also precedes a project where the customer has to make compromises about how they would like to use the software. This may require developments outside of C4C or off-system or manual processes which will feel like a giant step back rather than a leap forward.
Start managing customer expectations from the outset. SAP C4C is still a young but rapidly developing solution.
Start educating your SAP consultants. An SAP CRM consultant does not become a SAP C4C consultant overnight. Over the last 12 months I’ve trained a lot of SI consultants in SAP C4C but nowhere as many as I trained when SAP CRM was at the same stage 15 years ago. SAP C4C customers should also invest. For one, it will allow you IT team to have sensible conversations with the SI during the project but it will also give you confidence in your ability to do things for yourselves post implementation. The SAP C4C training schedule is available here. If the available dates don’t work for you then check out our offering.
Start using the SAP cloud implementation methodology – it works.
Continue promoting and selling SAP C4C. It’s the most exciting thing to happen to CRM in years.
Continue educating your sales teams in the solution. I’m hearing a lot of woeful stories of the sales team selling SAP C4C capability that doesn’t exist in the solution and may never exist in the solution. Inevitably the poor old delivery team is left to face the wrath of the customer when the promised capability cannot be delivered.