June 5, 2018

SAP updates CRM platform for product customization, data privacy

Firm also launches data management suite for handling "sprawl" of information generated from diverse sources.

By Ben Ames

German software giant SAP SE today released the latest update to its customer relationship management (CRM) business suite—called C/4HANA—that it said will help users to serve and retain their customers by balancing the competing demands of product customization and data privacy.

SAP also announced its HANA Data Management Suite, a product that is designed to help companies handle the "data sprawl" that can occur when information is generated at a wide variety of sources, from people to platforms to machines, SAP CEO Bill McDermott said in a keynote talk at the firm's annual user conference, the Sapphire show in Orlando.

SAP's updated CRM will help companies protect sensitive consumer data in an era when privacy concerns have driven the creation of new industry data management standards like the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), McDermott said.

GDPR, which took effect May 25, is designed to unify data privacy requirements by standardizing rules and giving consumers greater control over their data that companies collect. The law triggered a wave of data-handling updates by logistics organizations including MHI, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), Descartes Systems Group Inc., The Interroll Group, Ivanti Software Inc., and others.

"Customers want personalization, but not at the cost of their privacy," Alex Atzberger, president of SAP customer experience, said in the keynote. "They don't want emails they never asked for. Customers are done with 'creepy.' So don't be creepy; without consent, don't personalize."

In SAP's second announcement today, the company said its Data Management Suite will allow enterprise users to generate useable knowledge from large pools of unstructured, widely distributed data. The suite leverages integrations with SAP's CRM platform, its Leonardo machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) platform, and its enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform—known as S/4HANA—that includes the SAP warehouse management and transportation management modules.

The Data Management Suite combines information from those disparate points by creating a single, cloud-based source of data that is shared by multiple applications instead of exchanged between them, the company said. Using one shared source of cloud-based data could be a huge advantage for such applications as order integration and transportation management because it will enable companies to avoid the complex challenge of integrating data from various sources, Geoff Milsom, a senior director at supply chain consultancy EnVista, said in an interview.

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

More articles by Ben Ames

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