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C/4 Hana, SAP’s new CRM package – can SAP catch up with Salesforce?



As we rreported briefly as news yesterday, SAP announced a new program package for customer relationship management (CRM) at the Sapphire conference in Orlando. C/4 Hana – a program that focuses on the buyer and not on sales. This is reported by Alex Atzberger, head of the customer management division at SAP, in an interview with the Handelsblatt. The major difference to his competitor Salesforce is said to be the link to the supply chain and accounting.

In another Handelsblatt article “SAP wants to compete with Salesforce with a new program package”, the program is briefly described.

C/4 Hana is not a new product

The new program for CRM, C/4 Hana, includes various solutions that are grouped under this name. It is reported that all solutions will have a unified interface, working with a unified database. SAP has made several acquisitions for this purpose.

The question for us is whether SAP will be able to combine the individual acquisitions and components of this program into a uniform solution.

According to Gartner market researchers, the CRM software market is an enormously growing and increasingly important area. “According to Gartner, the CRM market will grow to $39.5 billion (33.75 billion euros) in 2017. This already exceeds sales of business management software (ERP), where SAP is the leader”. (Source:, 06.06.2018) According to our observations, the ERP market has been stagnating for years or is only growing in small rates. The CRM market, on the other hand, lives from an extreme pent-up demand – i.e. new business.

Acquisitions united in one program

Like its competitors, SAP began making acquisitions in the CRM area some time ago.

One example is Business Objects, for the area of business intelligence, which was acquired by SAP in 2008. Hybris, a company with software for multi-channel sales, was added in 2013. But also the travel expense specialist Concur, Callidus, manufacturer of software for managing customer relationships, and Coresystems, a Swiss start-up with platforms for customer service, are on the acquisition list.

Does this represent added value for SAP customers?

Of course, the majority of the acquisitions make sense. Due to the very different positions or service modules within the value-added processes of SAP customers, it will be difficult to bring them into a functioning all-in-one solution.

The goal must be to ensure that the software offers its users, i.e., SAP users, significantly greater added value than best-of-breed third-party solutions purchased from and added to SAP. Will SAP be able to harmoniously combine these many acquisitions in one software package? We also wonder whether the software provides enough flexibility to meet the processes of the various companies. Not everyone needs a travel expense report or a web shop from Hybris because they already have one.

For a successful installation of an all-in-one solution, e.g. from SAP, which perfectly supports all important customer management processes (from sales, marketing to quotations, web shop and service to logistics and complaints), we believe it is important that companies are also prepared to reorganize themselves. In many companies there is still a coexistence instead of a cooperation of single or isolated divisions. Especially with an all-in-one solution the processes must run without breaks or silos. If this is not the case, it is clear that the planned SAP solution brings hardly any added value compared to the certainly considerable investment.

It remains exciting for you and for us to see whether SAP will succeed in the hunt for number one in CRM that has been going on for over ten years. Is SAP (market share of almost 9%) finally approaching the top dog Salesforce (over 18% market share) or is SAP Salesforce and other competitors losing market share? Will the many acquisitions pay off for SAP?

We continue to observe and keep you up to date.

Note: This is a machine translation. It is neither 100% complete nor 100% correct. We can therefore not guarantee the result.


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