The SAP world is in a state of upheaval. Since the Walldorf-based company ushered in a completely new era for its applications in 2015 with SAP S/4HANA, the successor to its previous core product, many companies have been faced with the question of how and, above all, when to make the switch to the new technology.

A core application of SAP ERP is the CRM component, and this will only be supported in its current version 7.0 until 2027. In the optional extended maintenance until 2030. But at the latest then the question arises for today’s users: what to do with the SAP CRM?

In our three-part blog series, Michael Stump, Managing Director and SAP CRM expert at itmX GmbH, will show you the pros and cons of SAP’s own CRM solution and at the same time inform you about alternatives.

SAP integrates CRM processes in S/4 Core

SAP CRM on Premise in SAP Business Suite version 7 is still one of the most widely used CRM systems in the SAP universe.

Most companies use it mainly to cover sales processes such as opportunity management, visit reporting and quoting. However, the system can also be used in marketing. Using the so-called segment screens, it is possible to plan and handle marketing campaigns.

In recent years, however, SAP has pursued few if any further developments of the classic SAP CRM on Premise. This is because SAP’s future lies in S/4HANA Customer Management – an add-on that builds on S/4HANA and whose greatest advantage is integration without middleware.

One reason for this is the cloud-first strategy that SAP has heralded with S/4HANA. On the other hand, this is also due to the fact that modern CRM requirements, such as the use of collaboration tools for internal collaboration, the integration of social media or smart mobile clients cannot be implemented with SAP CRM.

Nevertheless, many customers have decided to continue operating the system for the time being. Of course, this is also due to the fact that expensive and complex interfaces have been developed over the years to dock with SAP ECC, but also to the fact that SAP has long announced an integrated version of SAP CRM under SAP S/4.

S/4 HANA Customer Management delivers added value for system managers – but also for users?

SAP CRM is now really to be found in the core of S/4, under the name S/4 HANA Customer Management. With this development, SAP is pursuing the path that once made SAP so successful: it delivers a system that maps integrated processes. In this case, SAP offers the customer a process that starts with lead generation, integrates opportunity management, and maps the process through quotation and order management, consistently through to billing.

For this, SAP combines the best of two worlds under the Business Partner.

SAP S/4 HANA Customer Management

SAP S/4HANA for customer management has dedicated business applications and its own business object and generic interaction layers

With the installation of Customer Management on S/4 HANA, all information and processes that have relevance in customer relationship management become part of the HANA database schema and the duplicate data management that once existed between ERP and CRM becomes obsolete.

For the system managers, this represents a huge added value. When switching to S/4, the SAP CRM data is not only relatively easy to migrate. The infrastructure also becomes much simpler, as the interface between the systems is eliminated.

But what does that mean for users? We’ll address this very topic in the next part of our three-part blog series. Stay tuned for that.

Michael Stump
Michael StumpManaging Director itmX
Michael gehört zum Geschäftsführungstrio der itmX und weiß mit seiner langjährigen Projekterfahrung immer, wo den Kunden der Schuh drückt. Bereits seit Mitte der 90-er Jahre ist er im SAP-Business tätig und zeichnet sich hier als Experte für die Themenbereiche Marketing, Sales und E-Commerce aus. Mit seiner Expertise unterstützt er unsere Kunden bei der Umsetzung ihrer Digitalisierungsstrategien.

Read also the other parts of our blog series