Since SAP acquired Hybris just shy of four years ago, the two systems, SAP ERP and SAP Hybris, have grown into a high-performing duo. Companies that use SAP ERP are advised to thoroughly examine the benefits of Hybris as opposed to third-party systems when digitizing their distribution. Especially when it comes to B2B.
The B2B sector is far more complex than B2C. From custom pricing, availability to promise, and individual product design – keywords are “configure to order” (cto), “make to order” (mto) and “engineer to order”, to tracking the status of your order in the self-service section: B2B customers expect all-around online services that are not easily implemented using third-party systems.
The B2B industry is complex. Let’s take the following case as an example: Customer A has negotiated a quota; whereas customer B pays a higher price for the same product, but also has definite delivery commitments. Customer A, however, can decide whether he would like to source the product from a local plant and pay less in shipping costs, or procure it overseas for a surcharge. It is important that customers are ensured transparency across all channels; be it with the customer service center, in consultation appointments, or on the online shop. The online shop must, therefore, be integrated seamlessly into the ERP system. That works particularly well in the case of SAP ERP and SAP Hybris. In B2B scenarios, customers are given the opportunity to view their individual prices and agreements upon login. A high-performance ERP system is able to handle the additional online shop requests. In this scenario, companies need a plan B to cater to limited backend accessibility during maintenance, for example. Standard prices for the system to draw on, if needed should then be stored in Hybris. Once the order has been placed, the prices are compared to those as per the ERP system. The customer is informed of the price difference where necessary. The data can also be replicated asynchronously if the prices don’t differ greatly per customer. Customer prices are easily transferred to the online shop at regular intervals. That decreases pressure on the ERP system, an option certainly worth considering in the event of relatively stable pricing.
Inventory is also an important aspect of the B2B sector. Some customers always require a set quantity of supplies and, therefore, usually pay a higher price per item. On the other hand, there are others who can resort to making use of standard stock levels only. Customers expect stock levels to be detailed on the product information page. That is another reason why the online shop must be seamlessly integrated into the ERP system. If it is too complicated to copy this information, it can be displayed on the shopping cart page instead, e.g. if the warehouse is divided among several different plants. That reduces the number of requests. Hybris sends requests on available inventory and delivery dates to the ERP system in the shopping cart. That information is, therefore, displayed for the customer prior to placing the order. That reduces pressure on the ERP system and improves the speed at which the online shop system operates.
Many products in the B2B industry are custom-made. Products can be configured online as long as the online shop has been smoothly integrated into the ERP. That applies to SAP ERP and SAP Hybris. It is very easy for customers to configure their products according to ERP specifications. The system will not even show combinations that cannot be made. This means less labor for the customer service department and customers appreciate the valuable 24/7 service. “Engineer to order” is also supported. Special processes are used to allow combinations not yet stored in the ERP system.
The strengths of the marriage between SAP ERP and SAP Hybris are also evident after an order has been placed. Customers can view their order status in the online shop. They can launch a request in the online shop that will draw on data in the ERP system and reflect the information stored there. In this case, however, it is important that the data is made understandable for customers. This is because the ERP system contains several internal status descriptions that are neither relevant nor significant to the customer. Experts from the two firms have been developing the seamless integration of SAP ERP and Hybris for four years now and it shows; particularly for challenging processes associated with the B2B sector. What's one more tip on the road to success? Wherever possible, avoid duplicating data when setting up your new online shop. That causes laborious synchronization processes and conceals a risk greater than that of revising the technical connection between the two systems. You are better off drawing on systems with standard integration.