Lighter solution in a cloud or a more advanced on on premise?
The CRM term (Customer Relationship Management) has a very broad meaning. It includes contractor service tools, appropriate sales strategy and procedures as well as sales strategy effects reporting. Regardless of the business model forming factors it should be considered a long-term process, not as separate activities.
Long-term customer relationships and creating brand loyalty with clients has become particularly important, especially given the condition of contemporary B2C and B2B markets. Why? A multitude of similar offers, the role of the Internet in the search and comparison of service providers’ prices and the nature of business’ multi-channel environment related to that make both business contractors and individual consumers abandon brand loyalty and modify their preferences depending on the given offer.
Sale-support tools like personalised offers, loyalty programmes or promotional offers are crucial in systematic customer service as well as building strong and persistent customer relations. Advanced IT management support tools are an essential part of an ever increasing amount of sales processes data management.
Depending on their business model companies can use simple mechanisms like spreadsheets or choose advanced CRM systems. In medium-to-large companies the need to organise these activities (especially taking data exchange between various areas into account) is being realised by the company’s central ERP management system. The ability to integrate tools even if implemented by numerous providers allows for a wide spectrum of sales processes efficiency estimations.
The largest ERP market share belongs to SAP AG. You can find two CRM solutions in the Walldorf head-quartered company’s portfolio: the well-established SAP CRM module and a new product – SAP Cloud For Customers (C4C). Although theoretically similar, at a closer look they prove to be slightly different tools covering the needs of most business models.
The basic difference lies in the form of the CRM data storage. The standard SAP module operates on an on-premise principle; C4C on the other hand works in the computing cloud, which in terms of the company makes it faster to implement, cheaper to maintain and it does not require server architecture maintenance.
It is worth taking a closer look at the particular CRM and C4C functionalities with regards to a given set of company requirements. Taking into account all sales processes and variables one can choose the ideal solution to organise and simplify this essential area.
CRM vs C4C: which solution for whom?
SAP CRM is HTML-based, with a great deal of ABAP programming language involved. C4C, as a next generation product, is HTML5-powered. This results in obvious differences: Cloud 4 Customers greets the user with an aesthetic and intuitive interface; SAP CRM offers a slightly less ergonomic and slightly simpler desktop look and feel. It is possible, however, to implement SAP Fiori in several areas, which thanks to the interface designed in accordance with User Experience standards improves work process comfort.
There are three particular areas that are worth comparing: price lists management, work-flow and reporting. C4C offers the possibility to create simple price lists with a few variables; SAP CRM has a complex creation module based on numerous variables: ranging from the type of product to specific customer-dedicated price lists. The latter solution will prove especially useful in companies offering a wide range of products, while executing a great deal of personalised transactions. C4C on the other hand will fully satisfy the needs of companies with less dynamic sales systems.
SAP’s cloud CRM has been equipped with a very complex prediction analysis system, enabling companies to create advanced (both amount- and time-based) sales prognoses and to share them within the company’s structure, which allows the report data to be utilised to a greater extent.
Reports and configuration
Work results reporting, one of the main salesman’s tasks, supported by CRM systems allows for easier target achievement, employee’s work results assessment and constant access to numerous variables. SAP CRM supports most popular report types: operational and sales funnel. If we require much greater capabilities, C4C provides an ability to manually design reports, with an option of creating sets of indicators most interesting to us.
From a purely technical point of view it is worth noting the quick configuration of C4C and it being a cloud-based solution. Both the implementation and maintenance of Cloud 4 Customers generates lower costs than standard SAP CRM implementation, which might be of special relevance to smaller organisations.
It’s impossible to clearly identify the winner; C4C was not supposed to be and is not SAP CRM successor. While designing the tool used to deal with the same processes SAP took a different philosophy to its construction, betting on the lightweight interface, easy implementation and advanced reporting. To choose a proper solution for the company one needs to carefully analyse its needs and estimate the path, aim and shape of sales. In principle these solutions constitute a natural extension of the sales process; organising and improving it. Therefore, the choice of appropriate solution is of utmost importance.