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SAP CRM - Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Back in February I argued that SAP does not exhibit a real strategy in the CRM world and is leaving on premise customers out in the cold with all the talk focusing on HANA, having Hybris, Cloud for Customer, doing lots of (often good) stuff for on-demand solutions while minimising investments into their powerful, yet somewhat outdated, on premise products.
And this without a migration path. 
While it was clear that Hybris is to become the leading entity - after all "Customer Engagement and Commerce" was organised around Hybris there have been a number of products and solutions with overlapping scope, mainly in a still emergent state - yes, I am talking about the C4C suite of products.
 It was, and likely still is, not really clear  to customers whether there is a better transition than re-implementation for them and how it could work. 
  • Along came Hybris marketing, maybe initially a re-branding of the marketing cloud but nowadays more and more integrated into Hybris itself; although based on HANA whereas Hybris Commerce still can be run without. And then came more B2B functionalities and YaaS - Hybris as a Service. This at least shows a pathway for companies that are willing to adopt SAP cloud "CRM". Along with the existing service capabilities of Hybris we are starting to see a positive trend emerging. Hybris might become it, albeit we are still seeing a lot of toolkit character.
But still, what about existing customers?
Hybris release 5.7, after a long time, gives the hint of an answer to this question: 
  • Master Data Integration, including customers, contact persons, products, installed base
  • integrated order management (asynchronous/synchronous), pricing
  • service requests and contracts
While SAP chose a cumbersome way for these integrations: IDocs via CRM Middleware - a recipe for hard work - we now see a glimpse into a migration future as opposed to a re-implementation future. Finally there is an out-of-the-box possibility to consistently use and later migrate a company's most valuable asset - customer data - into SAP's hybrid world that that comes before getting complete on premise processes into the cloud.
So far we need to be aware that the data model of SAP CRM is far more powerful than the one of Hybris, so there are still a lot of hard questions to be answered.
But there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

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