SAP is pushing forward integration – something customers have been waiting for

While the topic of experience management took center stage at this year's SAPPHIRE NOW conference, for me the proposed integration schemes for the various products developed or acquired by SAP over the last few years (e.g. SAP S/4HANA, SuccessFactors) were of particular interest.

At the event, SAP was eager to spread the word about the capacities of the experience management platform of newly acquired company Qualtrics and explain how it fits into its overall portfolio. SAP intends to bring together solutions managing operational data with the Qualtrics technology for collecting and analyzing feedback. Simply said, a manufacturer of consumer products can control production and logistics processes with SAP’s ERP system and related applications, while the Qualtrics platform provides insights into whether and how the products resonate with the customer.

In our view, this is a highly relevant proposition and if SAP does things right, the vendor has a fair chance to expand its market reach into the field of experience management. However, we also believe that there is a bunch of other things SAP needs to do, i.e. work on achieving better integration of the various products developed or acquired in the past. It is certainly something customers expect; besides, only if the various solutions are properly integrated will it be possible for companies to manage business processes end to end. Otherwise, SAP’s products will not achieve a competitive edge.

SAP is already offering some insights into its current integration work: One example is the integration of SAP S/4HANA Finance and SuccessFactors, the vendor’s human capital management suite to manage the employee life cycle from "hire to retire". The SAP Cloud Platform is acting as the integration framework here to bring these two solutions together. What is slightly odd, however, is that even though the acquisition of SuccessFactors took place in 2012, the described integration possibility will not be available before the end of 2019!

More such integration examples will follow, for example the integration of SAP S/4HANA with customer experience management suite SAP C/4HANA. The sooner this integration work will be finished, the sooner companies can consider combining these products in their solution architectures.