A first step towards a cloud platform at a leading wholesaler

SAP C/4HANA Sales Cloud Implementation with connection to an on-premise ERP system

Set goal: Efficient customer management

As a company organisation, treading new paths is always linked to challenges and yet it can become necessary. If a company is unable to maintain customer information in a consistent, structured and transparent manner, significant sales potential, which can run into the millions, could be lost. Customers are not contacted although they have requested this, or the opposite happens: different employees contact a customer several times, independently of each other. Both cases can lead to existing customers being lost or potential customers being scared off – the trigger: dissatisfaction.

A basic prerequisite for avoiding the worst-case scenario of customers being frightened off is proper contact maintenance in a CRM system that is individually tailored to the company's requirements. Because of this, 4brands Reply set up an integrated CRM system for one of its clients in the wholesale sector based on a forward-looking cloud platform, which now has the character of a pilot project for the entire group.

To get an idea of the scale of the project, here is some general information:

  • Sector: Wholesale
  • Employees: ca. 7,000
  • Locations: 92
  • Turnover: over 2 billion Euros
  • Customers: 600,000

On the basis of this key data, one of the first requirements became clear: The data from around 600,000 customers plus the data of potential new customers required consistent maintenance – ideally across all locations.

SAP C4/HANA Sales Cloud

Another challenge was presented by the fact that the system was to be made available in a timely manner. 4brands Reply managed to deploy the solution within three months, even overcoming the hurdle that this was the customer's first contact with an integrated cloud system. With these circumstances in mind, 4brands Reply decided to follow an agile project approach, a key feature of which was regularly informing the customer about the project status, which in turn enabled it to track every project step and request changes as and when required.

Together with the customer, the decision was made to implement a SAP C/4HANA Sales Cloud with a connection to the on-premises ERP system, using the traditional SAP Process Integration as middleware. As a result of this, 4brands Reply was able to meet the need for an easy-to-maintain system together with the mapping of a traditional CRM process and a redesign of the new customer management process.


  • Lean and flexible system without any complex hardware, which is always available
  • Uniform view of the customer and the associated business transactions via the system that was provided
  • Real-time data exchange
  • Removal of data silos: Successive integration of further departments and user groups, such as sales and the call center as well as the connection to other systems
  • Increase of productivity throughout the company

Further development steps

4brands Reply was successful in relation to the productive utilization of the system as well as the successful implementation of the agile project methodology. What's more, another cloud product has already been implemented based on the SAP Cloud Portfolio, the Service Technician Cloud, which was chosen to meet another internal requirement. Further system integrations (such as the implementation of an Opportunity Management system) are now also being prepared.

Currently, other parts of the company, which are still working with the on-premises CRM solution, are also preparing to switch to the cloud platform.