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Turning Cloud Innovation into Business Value with SAP Cloud for Customer

by Johann Wrede | SAPinsider, Volume 15, Issue 1

January 2, 2014

How do you turn cloud innovation into business value? Combine it with the rich customer data and business processes of your on-premise systems. Learn how you can leverage the power of SAP’s Cloud for Customer solutions to deliver rich customer insights, flawless business process execution, and amazing customer experiences. 


When it comes to business applications, the word “cloud” is synonymous with innovation. With short lead times, no capital cost, and little ongoing maintenance, cloud apps have quickly become the go-to option for CIOs seeking to scale their capabilities and provide innovation to their counterparts in the business. The challenge, however, is that more often than not, a cloud customer relationship management (CRM) app delivers only part of what marketers, salespeople, and customer support teams need.

To win — and keep — customers, companies need ways to engage customers along their journey, from awareness and education, through purchase, to hopefully becoming a brand advocate.

Given the increasing empowerment of today’s tech-savvy customer, the old CRM model of trying to create more efficiency merely through automation is no longer producing results.

Customer-facing teams are now looking for ways to engage customers along their journey, from awareness and education, through purchase, to hopefully becoming a brand advocate.

Reaching the goal of customer engagement requires:

  • Deep customer insights to personalize every interaction for an individual customer, not just for a demographic
  • Flawless execution of business processes across departmental boundaries, with seamless handoffs from marketing, to sales, to shipping, to accounting, to customer service
  • Delivering a customer experience — whether online or in person — that is convenient, relevant, and delightful

Understanding that customer engagement is the path to value for companies, SAP has developed a cloud CRM portfolio, SAP Cloud for Customer, that integrates with the rest of the enterprise to help companies win — and keep — customers.

Pinpoint Customer Sentiment with Social Media Analysis

Social media has made sharing opinions and experiences with others easier than ever before. On Facebook, Twitter, and countless other forums, customers are talking with friends and strangers alike, publicly sharing their attitudes, preferences, and buying habits. Tapping into these conversations is a critical first step in the path to customer engagement.

The SAP Social Media Analytics application by NetBase helps companies take that step by extracting public perceptions from terabytes of social media buzz in real time and presenting them in interactive dashboards (see Figure 1). The product can extract sentiment (like, dislike) and passion intensity (strength of expressed sentiment), as well as emotion, behavior, and related keywords. With visibility into current and potential customers’ views on any topic, companies can better understand how consumers feel about their brands, categories, products, and services, while staying tuned in to market issues and trends. With this information, marketers have the opportunity to innovate and ensure that the themes of their marketing efforts will connect with their target audience.

Figure 1 — Turn social media buzz into insight on preferences, feelings, attitudes, and behaviors with SAP Social Media Analytics by NetBase

One key, differentiating feature of SAP Social Media Analytics is its native Natural Language Processing engine. Rather than using keywords to try to determine how people feel about a topic, this engine processes conversations the way a human does. This capability allows it to correctly identify positive or negative comments based on subtle differences. For example,“this” changes a negative statement (“service has never been good”) to a positive one (“service has never been this good”). The result is highly accurate information on customer opinion that companies can use as a solid foundation for business decisions.

To view a video demo of SAP Social Media Analytics, see

Facilitate More Informed, Accelerated Sales

Before you can take an order, you need to win the customer’s business. And selling today is more complex than ever, with more products and services to sell, more team members to orchestrate, and more competition in the marketplace. This is further complicated by the fact that customers are better informed about the goods and services they purchase and have higher expectations than ever. This makes growing revenues and running a profitable sales organization quite difficult.

The SAP Cloud for Sales solution (see Figure 2) addresses these challenges by giving salespeople the tools and agility to find answers, engage in meaningful customer conversations, and deliver the right impact every time. With integration into SAP ERP or SAP CRM on premise for customer-specific pricing and order management, a clean user interface, and features like collaboration, social selling, account intelligence, mobile apps, and Microsoft Outlook integration, salespeople and managers are quickly seeing real results with SAP Cloud for Sales.


Figure 2 — SAP Cloud for Sales offers sales teams rich customer insights and a compelling user experience

As an added benefit for IT departments, SAP Cloud for Sales supports both stand-alone and integrated deployment models. Customers can elect to run a hybrid model with SAP CRM on premise or in a private cloud, or, like SAP customer Rieber, integrate with SAP ERP to enable their salespeople to access customer-specific pricing and take orders right on their iPads. Keep in mind that integration is not required to derive value from the  solution — SAP customer Nespresso takes advantage of industry-specific functionality in SAP Cloud for Sales to drive better sales execution, for instance.

Improve Customer Service

The customer experience doesn’t end with a closed deal; in fact, some might argue that the most important part of the customer journey takes place after the order is in. Whether by phone, web, email, chat, or social media, customers expect great service at every touch point.

SAP Cloud for Service helps companies keep pace with changing customer needs by accelerating the deployment of new service technologies and channels. The solution enables customer service representatives to manage multiple service channels — including real-time channels like voice and chat — and provides agents with easy access to complete, contextual information about the customer with whom they are working. The solution also equips service managers with real-time insight into call center performance so they can make adjustments as needed.

Make Social Engagement a Priority

In addition to the more traditional interaction channels, social media is quickly becoming a go-to channel for customers to ask questions and share experiences. With the volume of posts on Twitter and Facebook alone, companies are challenged to be responsive and to scale effectively to engage in the personal and relevant way that social media users expect. Even with a dedicated social media team, many businesses still miss thousands of opportunities to engage with their customers every day.

SAP Cloud for Social Engagement integrates social media into a company’s existing service and support channels, and leverages the power of automation and context to achieve scale. The solution constantly monitors multiple Facebook and Twitter channels in real time, capturing and analyzing relevant conversations and assigning them based on the rules defined for a variety of attributes, including message source, customer, product, and expressed sentiment.

The solution also tracks response-time service-level agreements (SLAs), enables cross-team collaboration to quickly source answers, and helps drive appropriate responses based on details about a post’s author — including his or her social media history, Klout score, followers, and relevant details from SAP ERP or SAP CRM if he or she is identified as a customer.

By using the cloud for social customer engagement, companies can quickly ramp up a specialized team of social media experts to handle customer inquiries and complaints, as well as encourage customer advocacy by responding to positive comments.

To quickly offer a seamless customer service experience on the web, companies can pair SAP Cloud for Service with the cloud support site available through SAP HANA Cloud Portal. This cost-effective self-service option enables customers to view and create tickets, access a knowledge base, and interact with service agents at any time.

The Customer Journey and the Cloud

Leveraging SAP HANA Cloud Platform,1 SAP developed the SAP Cloud for Customer portfolio of solutions together, ensuring that the marketing, sales, and customer service departmental boundaries that threaten to disrupt the customer’s experience are bridged. This means that customer insights are complete and always up to date, that business processes are executed seamlessly across teams regardless of whether they are working in the cloud or in an on-premise solution, and that the customer has the best possible experience with every interaction. 

For more information, visit


1 For more information on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, visit [back]

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Johann Wrede, SAP
Johann Wrede

Senior Director,
Global Marketing for Customer Engagement and Commerce

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