SAP needs channel to help transform the front office with Hybris

While is busy making news at its annual Dreamforce conference, competitor SAP SE is making news of its own with a vision for an integrated new set of SAP Hybris tools it promises will revolutionize customer relationship management (CRM) and change the relationships companies have with their customers.

SAP acquired Switzerland-based Hybris, developers of enterprise multichannel e-commerce and product content management software, in 2013, bolstering its business to consumer commerce portfolio after the earlier acquisitions of Ariba and Crossgate. The German vendor is now moving to bring these solutions together, announcing several new offerings designed to enable real-time customer profiling, digital commerce and community development.

According to SAP, its goal is to empower the front office to keep up with shifting customer needs by going beyond traditional CRM to a “digital” era of customer service and support.

“We’re changing the way businesses engage with customers, across all channels and touchpoints,” said Brian Walker, chief strategy officer for Hybris, in an interview. “Today’s businesses need integrated service delivery and digital tools for business and sales. They need to engage customers the way they want to engage.”

Walker said the new Hybris announcements “change the game from today’s reality” of using a lot of point solutions to get things done, by being able to use one integrated digital platform.

“With SAP Hybris we’re making it simple. It’s a new era of customer engagement,” said Walker.

Three new products have been launched under the SAP Hybris portfolio, designed to help businesses connect the front and back offices, going beyond traditional marketing, sales and service automation to add real-time personalization, web and mobile commerce and social customer service.

SAP Hybris Profile is, according to Walker, the customer-centric foundation of the integrated Hybris platform. It captures customer interactions, context and behavior to provide a dynamic profile of every customer that is constantly evolving, allowing businesses to deliver new customer experiences based on that data.

“This aggregates and synthesizes a real-time, dynamic view of the customer across all actions, which is really critical to enabling what we’re talking about,” said Walker.

SAP Hybris Customer Experience is an omnichannel delivery tool, offering visual contextualization of the customer experience, including an omnichannel content management system, the management and delivery of dynamic and targeted content, and a focus on cross-touchpoint real-time optimization and context.

“This enables next generation content management to drive all digital channels in a consistent way, unleashing the contextual ability to merchandise and market to customers in a personalized way,” said Walker.

The third new solution is SAP Hybris as a Service on SAP Hana, which SAP says will be the modular business microservices layer for the Hybris front office tools on its Hana cloud platform. This will allow for the cloud-based integration of different Hybris applications, and allow for the creation of an ecosystem of solution providers developing their own Hybris-based add-ons.

SAP’s solution providers and reseller partners will be a key part of the vendor’s go to market model with Hybris, said Walker.

“Hybris as a service will unveil a whole new opportunity for partners to build their extensions and the proprietary IP that many have already developed and are delivering to customers,” said Walker. “They’ll be able to do that in the cloud with our microservices platform. They can maintain their solution as proprietary or sell it in our marketplace. It’s an opportunity for partners to go beyond a traditional resale and implement scenario to being part of the value chain.”

The key in the vision for all these new solutions, said Walker, is usability for the average line of business user.

“They don’t need to know code. With the templates, from within the web site they can create menus and controls to manage the web site. What they see is what the customer will see,” said Walker. “They can define roles, and dial gross margins and inventory terms right in the interface.”

As far as competitors, Walker said he doesn’t see any vendor that can deliver the same set of simplified front office capabilities in the same way. He said Oracle has some of the same parts, but not the contemporary solutions or as a service innovations, or the integration of toolsets. has some of the automation capabilities, but Walker said that’s only one piece of the puzzle.

“Salesforce is a credible and competent competitor in CRM, but it provides a limited set of tools,” said Walker.

Walker sees the Hybris solutions scaling from the large enterprise down to a smaller business of a few hundred employees, and notes SAP already has a wide range of SMB customers. Flexible consumption and licensing options will be available, with customers being able to choose form perpetual license on premise or cloud-hosted subscription options.


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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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