1 2 3 6 Previous Next

SAP CRM: Web Channel

81 Posts

     The Dealers use the C&R application to place their returns online. The normal process is the dealer to select the return type, enter a product number and quantity for return for each item.  As the return which the dealer wants to enter manually can also be pretty big (>50 items) we shall give him the option to enter such data into a Excel spread sheet upfront, create a CSV-file out of it and upload the same in return screen. Here we shall see how to implement the solution in C& R  application.


The logical flow for the implementation is as follows

CSV file upload.gif

Steps for the above implementation

1) Add a upload button in the Create new return screen.

2) On click of the button call the action class and redirect to the newly created action class. the newly created action class will read the csv file and load the values in the return document

3) The code to add the line item to return document is as follows


ComplaintData complaint = (ComplaintData)getComplaintFromDocHandler(userSessionData, complaintBom);


The above code will get the Return document from the Document Handler (the class is common for both Complaint & Return)

Once the instance for return is instantiated we can use the same for manipulating the document. Here is a snippet for  adding the line item to return document.

The below loop will run for number of line items

while ((lineItem = br.readLine()) != null) {




  String item[] = lineItem.split(";");




  ComplaintItemData complaintItem = (ComplaintItemData)complaint.createItemBase();








Dear Community Members,


Does your business feel like it needs a little extra push lately? Constantly struggling with the time-consuming processes of order taking in the field, notifying customers about delivery dates, checking on inventory, back orders, sales order errors, and more?


Best-in-class wholesalers mobilize their processes

Best-in-class wholesalers improve their sales operation efficiency by mobilizing their order taking and management processes.


Wholesalers that embrace the mobile sales force increase sales, while improving the sales experience for both the consumer and the sales reps.


Top-4 challenges in order taking

Wholesalers must overcome multiple hurdles in order taking:

  1. Re-keying in of paper-based orders taken in the field
  2. Orders not being “visible” until they’ve reached the ERP
  3. Hassles in dealing with paper catalogs
  4. Presenting the company’s brand in the most professional way.


Mobile sales force automation

With the introduction of cloud computing and SaaS, sales apps on mobile devices are increasingly affordable and flexible.  Leading mobile sales force automation (MSFA) solutions offer free trials with no risk or commitment, which means only-gain-zero-pain for you, the wholesaler.


MSFA solutions enable you to conduct sales activities, engage customers, fulfill and process orders anytime and anywhere.  These solutions enable you to present your brand via interactive e-catalogs with real-time visibility into inventory, so your sell only what you have in stock. As a sales manager, sales activity planning and management provide you full control into which customers your reps visit and when, which products your team promotes to your customers, what activities they perform, customer satisfaction, stock levels at the retailers, and more.  


Moreover, MSFA solutions take advantage of the mobile device by providing location-based services, presenting your customers by type on a map, enabling you to easily schedule customer visits; allowing sales reps to take pictures of the customer store to capture how their products are being showcased; and to leverage bar-code scanning for quick ordering at trade shows or stocktaking at the store.




Mobility also introduces technological challenges

With the addition of mobile technologies come some imposed challenges:

  1. Internet access is not always available, so MSFA solutions must be capable of working in off-line mode and to synch automatically and efficiently when back online.
  2. Businesses need to support multiple device operating systems- iPad, Android, and Windows 8, in support of BYOD initiatives.
  3. Presenting catalogs and inventories, taking orders, and more, requires bi-directional integration between the MSFA solution and your ERP. Moreover, the MSFA solution must be configurable to support the workflows that you have customized in your ERP to support your industry-specific needs.


The benefits are clear

Sales process will be streamlined, and should expect an increase in field sales. When dealing with a customer, your sales reps will be a lot more self-sufficient in accessing the financial data relevant to their customers, without having to interact with your back-office. Win-win for you and your customers. 


A case in point

A successful mobile sales automation implementation to learn from is Spanish company Escorpion. Escorpion is a world renowned manufacturer and distributor of women’s fashion knitwear. Their global sales team was able to incorporate mobility into their entire sales process. They saw a significant branding enhancement, representatives were granted instant access to data and graphics about clients and products, and all of the order confirmations were sent directly to the customer by email. “It has been very positively received by both our sales network and clients due to the image quality, ease of operation, and the range of management features available.”  The new MFSA solution is seamlessly integrated with Escorpion’s SAP ECC 6.0 system for product, customer, inventory, and invoice information. 


Jump on the bandwagon, now!

According to the National Association of Wholesaler Distributors (NAW) 40% of the business in this industry will deploy new technology, including mobility by 2015.  If you aren’t already planning on extending your order taking processing with mobility, chances are that your competition is speeding past you.


We would love to hear about your case studies, how the switch over to mobility for processing orders has improved your business as well.

In some cases the attribute context can’t be selected in the Mail Forms. Reason is usually that the Business configuration set (Business function) is not completely or correct activated. In such cases please do the following:


  1. Check via TA scpr3 if the Switch BC-set is available

Activate the Switch BC set with  utitlities -> user settings and mark “Allow Selection of Switch BC Sets”

   2.  Click on new BC Set Selection -> Selection by Switch BC Sets and search for “CRMV_DYNAM_ATTR_WEB_CHANNEL”


=> If the value is missing then please import the Switch BC Set.


=> If you find the Switch BC Set then do the following:

  1. Implement note 1824727.
  2. Run report “SCPR_ACTIVATE_SBCSETS” with option “Ignore Previous Activation”.


Best regards,


Nicola Nola

SAP WCEM Development

Steps in product upload process :

1. Upload image links or files to MDM repository.

2. Update mapping file with the product GUID & image file name .

3. Upload mapping file using import manager .

4. Map values in import manager .

5. Import the mapped records.


  • Upload image to MDM repository

08-Jan-14 12-32-04 PM.png

Choose Data group in which image has to be added .

        Upload from a folder

Choose link to original file only (If you dont want the file to be uploaded to MDM repository)

08-Jan-14 12-34-41 PM.png

  • File structure:


GUIDDefault Image


  • File import to MDM import manager .

08-Jan-14 12-09-38 PM.png

  • Mapping in import manager .

08-Jan-14 12-21-15 PM.png

  • Map GUID and Default Image (Source field -> Destination fields ).


  • Choose update the records option in match records tab .

Hi community,


If an user try to logon to the web shop with a language which is not supported in the connected backend, the logon fails. To avoid this situation you can set the standard language for the connection. To do this you set the language for the connection in the eai-config.xml file. You have to set for each <connectionDefinition> the following parameter. Here an example for english:


<param name="jco.client.lang" value="en" savevalue="" />


Best regards,


Nicola Nola

SAP WCEM Development

In the Web Channel backend customizing you have the possibility to maintain country groups. In the Web Channel Builder configuration of the user module you can select afterwards the country group, for which the application will be valid.


If in the backend more than twenty country groups are maintained, not all results are shown in the Web Channel Builder configuration. The root cause is, that in the standard implementation of the helpvalues-config.xml in the user module the maximum of values to be selected from backend is set to twenty entries.


<helpValuesSearch name="CountryGroup" type="simple" description="Country Group" maxRow="20">


To get all entries (if there are more than twenty) the user module has to be extended. Replace the helpvalues-config.xml with your file and change the ‘maxRow’ value according to your needs.

Dear community member,


if you have done a sorting inside a generic search result list view the default behaviour is that the page will not changed. But if you want to change this behaviour you have an easy possibility to switch back for example to the first page.




  1. Extend the view component handler of the generic search (AdvSearchVCHandler.java)
  2. Extend the public method with the name sortResultList()
  3. Add the following line: setIndexOfFirstResultPage(0); after execution of the default functionality


The number between the round braces is the index of the result list row. If you have 10 rows per page the first index of the third page is 20; for the second page the index is 10 and for the first page the index is 0.


I hope I could help you with this information!


Best regards,


Rene Schwarz

SAP WCEM Development

I must admit that we've never been successful in convincing manufacturers to invest in their very first B2B eCommerce project.  In our early days, we would spend inordinate amounts of time trying to get some companies to see the light.


Cost savings.  Increased Revenue.  Better customer service.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.


It mostly ended in the same place..."We don't need no stinkin' website"...or some thinly disguised variation thereof.  (I published that post almost exactly 5 years ago to the day. Wow!) None of those conversations turned into business for us at the time***.  Eventually I came to the realization that as much as I'd like to educate the industry about how great B2B eCommerce is and help those "on the fence" companies get into the game...I really can't afford to do that.


That simply can't be my job.


It turns out that my job is to make heroes out of those CIOs of SAP Manufacturers who have already decided that they need an SAP integrated B2B eCommerce website and are overwhelmed by the complexity and cost of implementing and supporting a workable solution.


I simply help them get it done.


With that said, if the B2B eCommerce market is really going to grow to Forrester Research's predictions of world domination, someone has got to educate the market and help them build the case to get on the web!  That's why I was delighted to see SAP hybris step up to the plate last week and issue a white paper entitled "A Guide to Creating an ROI Model to Assess the Effectiveness of E-commerce Platform".  You can see their YouTube announcement here and download a copy of the white paper hereAnd yes, I have an unbelievable amount of marketing budget envy!

Overall, it's definitely worth getting a copy.


Of course I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't offer a few comments about it :-).


First of all, I was quite impressed with how close their eCommerce cost savings projections matched our actual experiences.


For illustration purposes, they assumed a $100M manufacturer converting 50% of their business to the web (that conversion rate seems a bit high).  They would process 74K orders with an average order value of $667 (those are indeed typical numbers for a manufacturer with a dealer channel).  The hybris model predicts that that organization will realize a $2.1M labor savings in servicing those orders...keying them into the system and responding to customers about errors, delivery status etc.


By comparison, based on our November transaction data, one of our clients has an annualized eCommerce turnover of $86M (about 30% of their overall turnover) that is produced by 96K orders at an average value of $896 each.  A little larger than the hybris model, but pretty close.




In that same November time period, our b2b2dot0 service was able to defray $169K in Customer Service costs for an annualized savings of ~$2.0M.  Our Google Analytics Goal Data (in the accompanying graph) sums up all of the customer services costs in real time (order entry, status checking, document reprints etc.).  Which brings up a whole other point...does anyone ever go back an audit their cost justification numbers?  We do.  In real time.


Compared to our data, the hybris cost savings projections are a bit optimistic (maybe they need to be in order to support their higher price :-)), but they aren't too far from the truth.


A few other notable observations to be made about the hybris ROI white paper:


"In most B2B firms, order costs may range from $50 to $150 per order without an e-commerce system.  This can drop to $25 or less with a best of breed platform integrated with back office systems."  85% of our clients pay less than $2.62 per order for their eCommerce orders.

"A 100 page product catalog mailed to thousands of customers can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to produce and distribute".  That might be true, but for many Industrial Manufacturers that's going to be an unbelievable difficult habit to break.

"Implementing a leading e-commerce platform can render a variety of legacy systems obsolete-including systems like order entry and fulfillment".  Seriously?  Hey SAP!  Are you prepared for a name change to "SAP a hybris company"? :-)

"E-Commerce platforms increase revenues for B2B sellers by helping them take quicker advantage of new product launches".  See my comment about breaking the paper catalog addiction.

"...it's important to remember that speed-to-market with an ecommerce platform can act as a multiplier of these benefits." Amen!

Well done hybris.




*** We are about to start a project with one client who has been mulling over the ROI of replacing their SAP Internet Sales application since our first conversation with them in 2008.  Turns out that a new CEO provided the clarity they needed. :-)

Dear SCN community,


the handling of supplier products without a material master in ERP SD and MM order processes is becoming increasingly important, especially in the Retail and Wholesale Distribution space. In Retail and DIY home improvement businesses the handling of supplier products is also called "Long Tail business".


Amazon and Thalia are known key players in in the Long Tail business and offer customers a wide variety of alternative products to choose from.


In my new blog which I published in the SCN ERP SD Sales Community I propose concepts to realize a Long Tail scenario in various business scenarios, and also in a web shop, either hybris or WCEM/InternetSales.


I hope you find the proposed concepts useful and I am looking forward to a fruitful discussion to bust the myth about the complexity to realize it.



Best regards,

Ingo Woesner




Dr. Ingo Woesner

Product Manager - Multi Channel

Suite Development Application Innovation


Dear community,


today I became aware of an upcoming event where the great ERP Product Catalog extension CatMan Suite is presented. Unfortunately it is held in German only.


A blog about CatMan Suite in SCN as well as recordings are available here:



The CatMan Day event (German language only) is on January 22, 2014 in Walldorf/Germany and is offered free of charge by SAP Consulting Germany.


On January 21 and on January 23, a 1-day (German) CatMan training is offered. You can register here.


Key contact is Helmut Back / SAP Germany.


Please find the details of the CatMan Suite Day below..


Best regards,


Ingo Woesner

Product Manager - Multi Channel







Dear community members,


On Oct 21, 2013, WCEM 3.0 SP01 was released, providing new functionality and improvements:


  • Standard Web services and Web service functions that are based on Open Data Protocol (OData) allowing to create applications, for example, mobile applications
  • Plug-Ins in SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio (NWDS)
    • Module Wizard
    • Web Service Wizard
    • Web Services functions wizard
  • The user interface now uses JavaServer Faces™ 2 (JSF), version 2.1.10 (see SAP Note 1859344)
  • Business event capturing captures actions of Web shop customers by means of predefined business events, such as logon, view product, add to cart, and place order
  • Enhancements with Product Variants
  • Improved response time of the catalog by caching prices and asynchronous pricing
  • Display of invoices in PDF format from the Order Details
  • Extended User Interface (optional)
    • Displaying price columns "unit price" and "total price"
    • Price Analysis at item level
    • Improved display about product availability and product delivery
    • Web shop customers can change product units
    • Quick order entry - Web shop customers can enter product IDs directly for each item (line item or row)



You find all related information, documentation and guides about WCEM 3.0 SP01 here.







Dr. Ingo Woesner

Product Manager

SAP Web Channel Experience Management - Rollout

Suite Development - Application Innovation



User is creating a shopping cart order in e-commerce site.

For particular partner number, we would like to show credit card payment mode as only payment method when user clicks at checkout in e-commerce site.



Technical CRM / ABAP Consultant



This document show complete solution approach to achieve the requirement mention in introduction section.





Technical Process steps

  1. Implement BADI in SE19 as ZCRM_RISK_MGMT_BADI.
  2. Implement method GET_PAYMENTTYPES.
  3. Use function Module 'CRM_ORDER_READ' to get partner number attached to order.
  4. If particular Partner number found in partner internal table, keep CT_ALLOWED_PAYMENT_TYPES as ZERO, and delete rest of allowed payment types.



DATA: lt_headerguid_tab       TYPE crmt_object_guid_tab,




IT_HEADER_GUID                     lt_headerguid_tab


ET_PARTNER                        = lt_partner.

* Implement suitable error handling here

loop at lt_partner into w_part_tmp
where PARTNER_NO = '3273'.

    delete CT_ALLOWED_PAYMENT_TYPES where TYPES <> '0'.







Demo Information


Search item and add to cart and click in checkout.

Before BADI activation payment method invoice is coming.





After badi Activation, Payment method had been changed.




We can achieve result the by implementing the BADI CRM_RISK_MGMT_BADI. There are other payment methods also available like cash on Delivery. Here we have hard coded Partner number, but we can also have logic to first find the partner numbers (as example, search all customers who have exhausted credit limit) then show only cash on delivery for such partners.

I have noticed some WCEM shops live in the internet with security problems and settings that have a negative impact on the performance of these shops. Also missing SEO settings for title and meta description are often recognized. Most of these problems can be avoided and/or changed easily. The following basic checks should be done before going live:




1. Check: Can the Web Channel Builder (WCB) be reached from the internet?

This should not be the case. Even though WCB requires a logon it is not a good idea to expose it to the world and giving hackers the chance for brute force attacks.


Solution: Adjust the reverse proxy/network settings so that WCB cannot be reached from outside. The same should be the case for the Java AS itself.


2. Check: Are stack traces exposed in the browser window?

Exposing stack traces in the browser window is a good feature for developers during development. In a productive system they can give hackers hints how to attack the site. Stack traces can contain program names, pathes on the server as well as internal server names. WCEM offers the ProjectStage setting to switch between the Development and Production stage. When this is set to Production, no stack traces are displayed.


Solution: Switch the ProjectStage to Production. See below for details how to switch it.




1. Check: Is ProjectStage set to Production?

If not, the shop runs not in a performance optimized manner. There are additional logs, files are not cached and read again and again from the disk, additional checks are performed in the runtime...


You can check the current setting by adding the url parameter "&wec-debug=true" to a WCEM url in the shop. If this has no effect, ProjectStage is set to Production and all is ok. If all views are framed with red dotted borders and view names are displayed there, the setting is wrong and should be changed.


Solution: Switch the ProjectStage to Production. In the generic part of the development and extension guide you find in chapter 5.3.2 the ways to change it (context parameter in web descriptor or JNDI setting over telnet).




1. Check Titel und Meta Description

For search engines, it is important that pages have a meaningfull title and meta description. The default texts WCEM is delivering have to be changed to avoid that e.g. google search result shows all pages as "SAP Web Channel Experience Management" instead of a shop specific text.


Solution: See Blog http://scn.sap.com/community/crm/web-channel/blog/2013/07/09/how-to-change-the-default-browser-title-and-the-default-meta-description



  • Check in NetWeaver Administrator, that the trace level is set to "warning" or "error", not to "debug" (Performance).


Please let me know, if there are further important checks. I will incorporate them into this post.

The Early Logon property is a setting provided by the User Module of a WCEM shop configuration. The setting is available for Contact and Consumer scenario and enables the Web Shop administrator to decide if the shop user needs to logon before browsing the shop content. The feature is also described in the blog Web Channel Experience Management 3.0: Early Logon from Arno Meyer.




Nevertheless a guest user or not yet logged in user can be granted to enter specific shop pages e.g. 'Contact us' or 'Terms'. Those pages can be excluded from the Early Logon rule by listing them in the '


Such excluded pages may also contain content that should not be shown to those users. To dynamically hide/show such content there is a Facelet Function that can be used in your page or view component. You need to encapsulate the content by a JSP 'if' tag:


<c:if test="#{wec:isEarlyLogonShopAndUserNotLoggedIn() == false}">




Don't forget to define the Java Standard and the WEC tag library at the beginning of the xhtml file.





Like the fall of the Berlin wall, the assassination of John Lennon or the day Neil Armstrong took his giant leap for mankind, Wednesday 5th June 2013 will enter the annuls of history as SAP’s where were you when moment…


Ok, maybe a little melodramatic, one might even say a poor attempt at some tabloid style headline rhetoric, but whatever you feel about the first few lines of this blog, if, like us, you’ve been investing heavily in SAP’s flag ship Web Channel Experience Management (WCEM) juggernaut, the announcement probably left you wondering if all the wheels hadn’t just fallen off your multi-channel car.


To say this announcement came as a shock, would be to underestimate the furore that it has generated, both in the community groups and the internet at large.  The weeks since have been awash with near endless speculation and rumour as to the merits and motivation for this acquisition, with opinion ranging from excited anticipation to frustrated consternation, and generous helpings of plain old dazed and bemused in between. However, regardless to which camp you have currently hitched your wagon, the same burning question still exists… to which basket should I currently be stashing my proverbial e-commerce eggs?


Before we get going on the meat and potatoes of this blog, I think now would be a good time to reflect on the history of SAP’s e-Commerce solutions and consider how this has motivated the recent announcements.  Whilst the thrust of this article is not a SAP E-Commerce history lesson (Ingo Woesner has already done a great blog on the Evolution of SAP's E-Commerce solutions), we believe that this does provide some interesting information for framing the story so far.


- The History -


The evolution of SAP’s e-Commerce platform has been a long and sometimes frustrating journey. From those tentative first steps with the ITS, to the launch of their much loved, but often maligned ISA solution, right through to today’s state of the art WCEM platform (and recently announced Hybris acquisition) there has often been much to debate.


For us, ISA was their first serious move into the e-Commerce market, it’s obvious advantages of tight integration and generally competitive functionality offered a compelling argument for many customers (large and small) who saw adopting this platform as a coherent and complementary strategy for their e-Commerce aspirations.  With some attention to detail, a reasonable budget and a little time and effort, ISA could be fashioned into a product that provided a pretty good customer experience, yet allowed the IT department to leverage their core investment in SAP skills to support.


However, this was the era of the internet bubble, before long SAP faced some stiff competition in the market place, as the pace of development picked up, their resolve seemed to falter and they took their foot of the gas.  Their original promise of tight integration (particularly for SAP CRM customers) still rang true, but could no longer be counted as the compelling argument it once was, other vendors stole a march.


To think that SAP made no notable extension to ISA would be inaccurate; CRM 4.0 saw the completion of “e” commerce holy trinity - sales, service and marketing.  CRM 5.0 brought us further enhancements to e-Service with complaints and spare parts, with e-Commerce gaining campaign integration and newsletter subscription.  However, by this time SAP was under increasing pressure, their slow pace of development, coupled with a seemingly lack lustre program of product investment, vision and strategy saw them lose significant market share to their competitors. Despite further changes in CRM 6.0 and 7.0, with the notable inclusion of loyalty management, the image conscious B2C crowd was already moving to pastures greener.  SAP’s competitors could claim to have all this, and more, packaged in an environment which was more appealing to the marketing and sales departments of any business.


Whilst selling the tightly coupled integration benefits of the SAP solution were easy for SAP IT departments, the end user and key influencers could not readily buy into this. To them the other products out there looked better, claimed to cover the full feature list and all had stories to support their SAP integration claims via various tools. It was only until the implementation that the true complexities enabling scenarios such as product configuration or true closed loop marketing across the channels became clear. By this time the investments were made and compromises taken to implement the chosen solution.


The last remaining bastion of SAP’s ISA product then became the B2B space, here, the lower focus on image, the greater propensity for tight back office integration, and the use of the SAP Enterprise Portal to deliver additional content seemed to balance the equation in favour of ISA.  Without notable exception, the vast majority of the higher release implementations we worked on over the next few years were overwhelmingly focused in this direction.  Then, in 2011, along came the new WCEM upstart from SAP, a new contender to the e-Commerce throne. Although, this was a product that had been completely re-designed from the ground up, it somehow felt familiar, for many, and certainly for us, it looked like we had finally turned a corner and emerged with a solution that addressed prior ISA acceptance issues, this was surely a turning point in the fortunes of SAP’s e-Commerce offering!


Although WCEM 1.0, being a brand new product, had some limitations and was focusing on B2C functionality, it did not feel hastily put together, in fact, when you looked under the hood, the architecture felt like a master stroke of design, a real thoroughbred in the SAP stable. As systems integrators and web channel consultants, we were enthused and genuinely excited by the prospects for this new product. From our perspective, WCEM had all the bells and whistles (JSF, CMS etc…); those key features that could really make the difference in a sale to a customer, not only that, for once it really looked pretty good out of the box! Furthermore, SAP had made commitments to a real development roadmap and strategy for this product; we were going to see continued and sustained investment in new features and its initial B2C focus was soon to be complemented by additional B2B functionality leveraging the renowned and robust back office processes available in the SAP CRM and ECC offering.


Tight integration, state of the art functionality, usability and look and feel, were now words that could finally be in the same sentence.  Customers were going to be able to leverage real and tangible benefits from implementing their B2B and B2C processes across a single, tightly integrated SAP platform, the world looked like a better place. However, the story told by the market did not seem to match our expectations, there was talk of the cloud and the lack of functionality provided for the dominant B2C retail space; were we wrong, was it really that far behind its competitors?


We did some research to understand where exactly this impression was coming from and how WCEM was being perceived by the SAP customer base and a few themes began to emerge:


  1. The years of missed opportunities and believed lack of investment with ISA were starting to take their toll; WCEM had inherited an image problem plain and simple. Many customers were unconvinced that the leopard could change its spots, and questioned the rational of backing the WCEM horse over a more established non-SAP solution, despite the obvious integration investments required.
  2. The buzz in the market was now all about the Cloud, SaaS and all that comes with it, particularly within the SMB space. Here, in unfamiliar territory for SAP, they were finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the likes of SalesForce.com.
  3. Although WCEM has the capability to work with alternate backend environments other than SAP ECC or CRM it is seen as exclusive to these systems. This places some limits on its reach into other customer groups where this is not always desirable, such as the retail channel and especially for emerging start-up companies.


Then came WCEM 2.0, where among other things, many in-store processes were introduced. SAP’s retail market expectations were high, but the general acceptance by their retail installed was modest, few made the jump to WCEM even with the promise of support for retail specific article types.  The main reasons for the hesitation were:


  1. SAP’s failure to engage with the Marketing departments effectively, they continued to be seen as a technology provider, hence too focused on talking to IT.
  2. The tightly integrated processes connecting the Web Shop with the physical store (introduced in WCEM 2.0), required the implementation of SAP CRM and MDM, but the adoption of these solutions remained limited within the SAP retail customer base.


As a consequence, despite the comprehensive retail store functionality and obvious integration benefits, only a few retailers signed up for WCEM.   


More recently, with the introduction of WCEM 3.0, things were really starting to come together. The proposition started to become easier to sell, and all the initial promise of ISA was becoming a reality, customers were starting to believe in the product, it looked like we were destined for success.


- The Acquisition -


Whaam! (as goes the famous painting of Roy Lichtenstein by the same name) along came SAP’s announcement, it was to purchase Hybris. The bottom literally fell out of our WCEM world overnight.  After the shaky start, all that subsequent effort, and just when we were all starting to make headway, had SAP just managed to kill WCEM!?!


Well, the good news is we don’t think so!


During the rest of this blog, we hope to show you just why WCEM is here to stay, and how bright this future will be.  But first, let us spend just a little time considering the motives for this acquisition. 


As we have alluded to before, SAP has really faced some stiff competition in the Cloud computing market and received criticism for their product portfolio and strategy. This is of particular relevance when you consider the context of this acquisition, SAP’s major focus in recent times (aside for HANA) has been the SME, their Business ByDesign software solution has been specifically developed to target this market, but in recent times, it would seem that they have struggled to get much traction when going head-to-head with the likes of SalesForce.com.


There is however, no doubt that SAP has committed heavily to continue its e-business strategy even more so that it did in the past and truly has potential to dominate this space. The potential for SAP lies in its ability to bring to bear the fully integrated components of a business application suite to meet the demands of a multitude of business scenarios for small, mid and large scale enterprises. To our knowledge, no other product has the breadth and depth of integration provided by SAP, yet they still lack credibility to be able to go the final few yards. Enter Hybris, with this product, SAP has found the missing ingredient, they now have all the tools necessary to complete their Cloud offering, and has gained instant industry credibility to boot. In our humble opinion, it is now not a matter of if, but when, SAP will make their mark in this space.


So what, I hear you say, I thought this was a blog about WCEM?  Well, hang on, there is method in our madness.   At present, the only clear message to come from the annals of SAP HQ in Walldorf has been the Cloud computing mantra, but is this really surprising if you stop to think about it for a while. The process of legal and regulatory approval takes time; it’s feasible that this deal my still fall through and if we recall for a minute SAP’s targeted acquisition of Retek in 2005 (Forbes, 2005; CNET News, 2005; CNET News, 2005) the parallels are obvious.  On this occasion, SAP once again  wished to assume a dominate presence in the retail sector, they made commitments and investments to the market, only to have the rug pulled out from under them by Oracle.  Like the child touching the hot stove, you learn from your mistakes.  As is normal in these situations, SAP will likely have instructed its staff to keep Hybris at arm’s length and refrain from speculation, therefore, pushing SAP for more details is unlikely to bear fruit and we must wait to see how this unfolds once the ink is dry. Thus, it is left to the likes of us, having lived and breathed SAP for decades to attempt to illuminate the paths SAP will likely tread.


So, are we any further forward with our tale, well yes and no is the answer to that! For now, I think we have established some of the ground work, now we need to think a little harder as to how this might all fit into our bigger picture.  Let’s take some time to explore the respective strengths, weaknesses and features of both products so that we might make some informed speculation on how things might shake out in the future.


- The Clients -


Drawing on our previous comments, it’s interesting to compare how the respective client portfolios stack up, and how this may affect and influence the future direction of both solutions.  SAP has already clearly articulated that Hybris will continue to be run as a separate company under the control and direction of its current management.  One can obviously debate at length the strategic and long term viability of this statement, and if SAP acquisition history really points in this direction. One thing is clear. Hybris does have an existing installed base (especially non-SAP clients), which SAP will be keen to retain, grow, and potentially convert to their Cloud based service offering as well as a Web Channel solution.


Figure 1 Customer Groups


Of the estimated 500 worldwide Hybris implementations, roughly 20% are current SAP suite users (Patrick Finn VP of Channels, Hybris US, Vantageb2b, 2013).  We also know that 50 to 60% of the Hybris customers fall into the retail sector from which approximately less than 60 would be SAP suite users – we know retail to be a target growth area for SAP. The question is why these customers would have chosen Hybris over a more tightly integrated scenario with WCEM. Maybe some of the reasoning behind their decision has been highlighted earlier in this blog. Certainly for these customers the prospect of a tighter SAP supported integration between their customer experience platform and SAP suite must be a very welcome prospect. Whilst for SAP having the immediate opportunity to penetrate further into the retail sector gives them a boost to execute on this.

So, what about all those SAP Web Channel implementations I here you say?  Well, again, here we find ourselves asking another interesting question.  Given this customer base, why would SAP choose to consciously make a move that would damage this revenue stream? 


Comparing the SAP WCEM and Hybris customer bases does not appear to show any major conflict between these two groups. For sure SAP has a strong interest to penetrate further into B2C retail, yet this does not justify the initial public assumptions that this deal will result in Hybris replacing SAP WCEM. From all of our investigation and analysis it is firmly our opinion that:


Hybris does not compete; it completes SAP’s solution.


We believe this statement to be true, both in terms of functionality and customer base. Whilst there is no denying that Hybris has an established foothold in the retail space, including customers utilising the SAP suite, the past few months have seen positive growth for WCEM sales which now exceeded those in the Hybris/SAP context.  With over 700 SAP Web Channel implementations (compared with 500 existing Hybris installations), the conclusion must therefore be, SAP’s e-Business investment will continue to grow, albeit, now positively influenced by intellectual property and capabilities of Hybris.


Quite obviously, many of these customers have selected WCEM based on the functionality offered, the tight integration provided and the published roadmap of development. Furthermore, while Hybris capabilities for the B2C scenario benefits from the more centralized / product driven maintenance functionalities with a Product Catalogue Management (PCM) which leads to the better back-office user-experience (e.g. for Marketing managers), the integration with additional components such as contracts, dynamic pricing, complaints and services makes staying with the WCEM solution a compelling proposition. In short, to force either set of customers to migrate their implementations to a new platform that may not provide all the functionality of the one they are currently utilising does not seem to make much sense. This would also be a dangerous strategy providing these customers cause to look outside of the SAP product family. The much more likely and beneficial solution would be to incorporate the best parts of each solution into future software releases, providing a clear and concise upgrade path to new features and functionality.


- The Features -

Much has been made in the press of the features available within the Hybris solution, particularly those in relation to product catalogue management and end user experience, especially from a retail perspective. But do these features really represent compelling reasons for abandoning the WCEM product?


Product catalogue management forms the cornerstone of each product, and in WCEM, is provided by leveraging the SAP Master Data Maintenance (MDM) solution (certain scenarios provide support for the legacy TREX solution). Hybris on the other hand, has its own purpose built Product Content Management (PCM) solution, which was designed exclusively for this purpose. In this area, we would conclude that Hybris PCM, based on the evidence is ahead. Criticisms from some quarters surrounding ulterior motives for MDM adoption do seem to have some merit, but equally such a technology would have been hard to discount given the initial requirements of WCEM solution. However, whatever your view, both solutions form stable and robust components of their respective architectures. If we look to the future, we feel that PCM probably has the edge; and a future integration scenario for WCEM does not seem beyond the realms of possibility.


Obviously one can point to the incredibly tight integration between the SAP CRM and ECC systems as one of the huge benefits that it brings to the table. Clearly this is an area where Hybris comes up short, with SAP integration provided only through 3rd party integration technologies.  There is no doubt that SAP will not leave this unaddressed, but the question remains how they will tackle it. Perhaps their move into upcoming ODATA services is highlighting the way.


Features strong on the WCEM side can typically be seen where this tight integration serves to benefit. Product configuration is a very good example of this. Hybris like most other multichannel products struggles when providing a product configuration function to its SAP backend customers. Although there are some partner products that aim to address this gap none can provide the seamless integration of the WCEM environment.


Similarly e-Marketing also benefits in this regard with integrated closed loop scenarios between the CRM marketing platform, the customer experience channel and the analytical components. Sure with a tool such as Hybris all of this is achievable to some degree with developments, partners and partner products. However, today the expectation is shifting to a more plug-and-play model. People are undertaking this effort to get products working together but it for sure is not what they want to be focusing on nor bearing the costs of.


For sure, there is a significant feature overlap between Hybris and WCEM, how SAP addresses this in the future will be interesting to observe, but in our opinion, as they stand today, neither is a clear leader as a candidate to replace the other. Instead, we prefer to look at the underlying technology as a basis for which product provides the most benefit to the on-going development of the products. Then we see a bolstering up of that environment into a new evolution of both WCEM and Hybris. Will there be a migration strategy for both? At this point in time maybe even SAP cannot answer that question. But it would be a risky strategy for SAP to face existing WCEM customers with the choice of a new implementation of SAP products thus opening the door to reviewing alternate products and an ensuing potential loss of customers.


So in the short term we believe SAP will include Hybris into the product line up in the areas it fits well today and where SAP needs to penetrate further such as the retail sector and cloud based solutions. No doubt they will continue to evolve Hybris in these areas but they can also not leave WCEM alone and will execute on the existing pipeline of product evolution already planned in that area. Of course they will have their eyes firmly on an end state of a complete feature suite with tight integration built on technology platform providing their customer with the basis to take advantage of the technology enablement functions anticipated from things such as HTML5.


- The Technology -


One aspect of the technology that is quite interesting are the opportunities presented with the Hybris PCM. Building upon our brief feature comparison, PCM, in our opinion represents a good candidate for HANA integration, and this may also be seen as a key driver for the future direction of the product catalog management in both solutions.


Other considerations must also be given to the general frontend architecture. Here, in our opinion, WCEM is the clear leader, Hybris, being the elder statesman of the two products is based upon the aging spring framework. By comparison, WCEM, the relative newcomer to the party, has been grounded in the latest technologies


Again, many comparisons can be drawn between the two products and this is really beyond the scope of this blog, but for those of you who are eager to hear more, an in-depth comparison will definitely be the bases of a later blog in this series.


- Conclusion -


In our opinion, SAP acquisition of Hybris can be seen as a strong market play, allowing it to make significant leaps forward in some sectors. They are also clearly well positioned in the all-important analyst competitive profiling, but if you are a WCEM customer this is not the only game in town.


What information SAP is happy to disclose regarding the Hybris play clearly indicates that this will be their go to market approach for the customer experience enablement in the Business ByDesign suite. Without doubt they will be working to underpin this with HANA and completing the triumvirate with the Hybris mobile capability they deliver on their theme; in the cloud, in memory and mobile.


When you look at it like this you can hardly fail to recognise the power play that SAP is making in the cloud CRM / customer experience world of business applications. Like other successful cloud solutions, we all knew that SAP would be the ones to lead us into the same paradigm shift for business suite applications. To be sure they are pulling no punches here, and we could well be seeing the beginning of the blow that finally sends the likes of SalesForce.com to the canvas.


So is that it? You want cloud you’ll be Hybris, you want on premise its WCEM? Well maybe this is how it will shake out, or so it would seem in the next few years. This however, is not the SAP we know, where constant innovation and striving for product excellence are touchstones. As we have tried to point out through this blog, in no way should WCEM be considered the less attractive cousin of SAP Customer Relationship Management, in fact the opposite is true. In WCEM, SAP has truly a next generation multi-channel platform, well architected, feature rich and ready to deliver on the hopes we all had of ISA many moons ago.


Whilst the jury may still be out on the Hybris acquisition, we firmly believe that this can only represent good news for WCEM; the lift in profile that we can expect will only serve to help WCEM break-free the residual stigma of ISA and allow it to be viewed as a complimentary part of a winning customer experience platform.


As for the future beyond, well this is hardly a winner–takes-all strategy, leaving those who backed the looser high and dry. In true SAP fashion, we expect to see a genetic engineering evolution of both platforms bringing together the best of both.


So should anyone invest in WCEM right now? Well, unless you’re an SMB looking for the ultimate cloud based business suite experience; all other on-premise SAP customers ought to be looking seriously hard at WCEM right now. Forget all that you have previously thought, WCEM’s reality is very much what you may immediately be lead to believe. Is there really anyone left that still believes they don’t need to refresh their customer experience on a 2/3 year cycle?


Thinking in these terms, and facing an upgrade from WCEM to the next evolution as it merges with Hybris, or being on any other vendor’s platform trying to make the jump back, we think it is clear which path is going to get your future customer experience ambitions to market quicker. In a shameless plug for our work, this blog represents the first in a series of posts that we will be writing over the coming weeks and months, if you enjoyed reading this, please stay tuned to this channel for more in-depth comparison and editorial opinion on the WCEM and Hybris solutions.



Jason Jones

SAP CRM Multi-Channel Architect & Managing Director of ecomize


Graham Hopkins

SAP CRM / ERP Solution Architect


Andreas Halbig

SAP Web-Channel Solution Architect


About us

Ecomize are an CRM E-business specialist consultancy focused on delivering market leading Customer Experience solutions based on the SAP Web-Channel  products. Our team, with an average of 10 years hands-on industry experience, is implementing innovative business solutions based on the SAP Web-Channel and Multi-Channel product portfolio to clients throughout Europe and the Americas.



Byrne, T. (2013 йил 3-6). Real Story Group.

From http://www.realstorygroup.com/Blog/2563-The-Case-Against-Adobe-CQ-WEM


CNET News. (2005 йил 22-3). Oracle outbids SAP for Retek.

From http://news.cnet.com/Oracle-outbids-SAP-for-Retek/2100-1014_3-5629280.html


Forbes. (2005 йил 18-3). Why Are Oracle And SAP Fighting Over Retek?

From http://www.forbes.com/2005/03/18/cx_ld_0318retek.html


Real Story Group. (2013). Web Content & Experience Management.

Retrieved from http://www.realstorygroup.com/Research/CMS


Vantageb2b. (2013 йил 16-05).

From http://www.vantageb2b.com/blog/sap-users-can-integrate-their-hybris-ecommerce-platform-with-their-erp-solution#.UdE-h-uuzYS


Filter Blog

By author:
By date:
By tag: