Associate Director Marc Pfeifer sat down for an interview to explain how SAP CRM and SAP C/4HANA help companies optimize their customer relationship management.
Mr. Pfeifer, you are an expert for SAP CRM and the SAP C/4HANA suite. Where does your expertise come into play?
A major challenge facing many companies is that their customer data is not standardized and is spread across a variety of different systems. In the best-case scenario, the systems are connected in some way, but in other cases they cannot communicate with one another at all. In the case of the latter, the marketing team will not be working with the same data as sales in situations such as determining the right client contact. What’s more, sales will not know whether marketing is also in contact with the customer, and communications will not be in sync. Worse still, the company itself doesn’t have a clear overview of its data. SAP C/4HANA is there to prevent all this from happening.
What are your tasks in this regard?
Intelligent companies need ways of using their data effectively. Data silos have to be removed, and replaced with synchronized accuracy. This is where I help companies, for example by transferring customer data from various legacy systems into a single new system or ensuring the integrity of customer data between different systems. I also help companies create their own SAP strategy, as SAP is discontinuing its support for SAP CRM in 2025. That’s why companies should already be drawing up plans as to when they will be replacing their SAP CRM system with SAP C/4HANA. Lots of companies have not yet taken that step.
What sets SAP C/4HANA apart from other providers’ solutions and what distinguishes C/4HANA from the classic SAP CRM system?
The classic SAP CRM system is an on-premise system in the SAP Business Suite and usually contains functions for sales, customer service and marketing that are not fully integrated. So far this has been sufficient for customers’ business processes in most cases, or, if not, interfaces have enabled integration. However, the requirements when it comes to customer relationship management have shifted considerably over the past few years. Optimal mapping of business processes requires a variety of system functions to be queried at the same time. A complete integration of CRM software components is necessary for mapping business processes optimally.
And SAP C/4HANA offers that?
Precisely. The SAP C/4HANA suite, also known as the SAP Customer Experience Suite, consists of five clouds that are fully interconnected, but which the companies are able to use separately as needed. That’s why SAP C/4 HANA offers a solution that is able to serve customers across the whole process chain (e.g. from first contact to sales) while avoiding changes in medium. Another strength of the C/4 HANA Suite is its integration with S/4 HANA for finance processes or also integration with the SAP Cloud Platform to use business services.
“In my job, it’s useful to have a good understanding of business processes.”Marc Pfeifer, Associate Director
It’s quite clear that you are well-versed in the SAP product portfolio. Why did you decide to specialize in SAP?
SAP has always been hugely important in my line of work. I started at Lufthansa Industry Solutions almost 20 years ago and my work here still brings me a lot of joy. One of the reasons for that is the variety that characterizes my job – every client and every project is different. As a consultant, I continuously have to adapt to new requirements and understand the client’s needs and processes so as to be able to map them optimally in the IT architecture. That is why it’s useful in my job to be able to bring a certain business analyst skillset to the table, for example, a good understanding of business processes.
What other challenges do you face in your day-to-day work as an IT consultant?
The SAP product portfolio has seen a lot of change in recent years and SAP has developed a wide range of new solutions, including SAP S/4HANA and SAP C/4HANA. Nothing ever remains stationary. That puts me in the comfortable position of being able to constantly expand my knowledge and build up know-how alongside the daily project business. Work is guaranteed to never get boring, and that’s not something you can say about every job.
About Marc Pfeifer
Following his education and training as an industrial clerk, Marc Pfeifer moved into software development before joining Lufthansa Industry Solutions in Raunheim in 2000 as an IT consultant in Customer Relationship Management. Since September 2019, he has been responsible for the SAP Cloud Software Products business area as Associate Director.