SAP WCEM (Web Channel Experience Management) offered a great solution for organizations doing B2B eCommerce. It was a great step up from SAP Internet Sales, with excellent B2B functionality and a reduced dependence on IT resources for configuration and UI changes.
While WCEM was sunsetted in 2013 after SAP’s acquisition of hybris, many organizations still depend on it for their B2B channel. As these companies plan their migrations to S/4HANA, the challenge of replacing WCEM comes to the foreground. How do you define a B2B solution that at least replicates what you had before?
And while you’re at it, how do you surpass the functionality and value that you got from WCEM?
Whether you’re migrating to S/4HANA or not, here are three keys to finding a great replacement for SAP WCEM.
1. Determine the depth of SAP integration you need in your WCEM replacement
If you were using WCEM in a B2B scenario, you’ll need some degree of SAP ERP integration in your replacement platform. But what SAP-integrated features are essential to the future of your B2B eCommerce program?
Ask yourself if your B2B customers need any of these capabilities.
- Personalized catalogs and picklists driven by SAP ERP data
- Real-time product availability (including customer-personalized ATP, or available-to-promise, if you use these calculations)
- Dynamic pricing based on contract rules in SAP ERP, cart quantities and bundled products
- Intelligent error messaging so customers can fix orders that don’t conform to SAP ERP business rules
- Error-free order posting to SAP ERP (so you can reduce the burden of callbacks for your customer service team)
- Self-service order tracking, status checks and order history (again, to reduce customer service workload)
- Self-service invoice tracking, real-time credit status and online invoice payments
- Dynamic SAP reports in the B2B eCommerce portal
Each of these features is heavily dependent on SAP data, logic or both. To deliver them in your WCEM replacement, you’ll need comprehensive SAP ERP integration. In many cases, that integration will need to work in real time (rather than depending on batch synchronization).
Keep this in mind as you’re evaluating your options for integration architecture. If you can avoid batch-based architecture, you should. This is the thinking behind the Corevist Platform.
2. Don’t create more work for IT when you replace SAP WCEM
Unlike SAP Internet Sales, WCEM allowed non-technical admins to make some changes to the configuration and UI of the web store experience. This was a great asset — particularly for manufacturers who couldn’t justify adding FTEs in the IT department just to support B2B eCommerce.
Here’s where things get tough in replacing WCEM. Today’s B2B eCommerce platforms weren’t built to put SAP ERP at the center of your universe. These platforms want to own your business data and logic. To get them to work hand-in-glove with SAP ERP, you’ll need an integration platform sitting between the two systems — which requires duplication and synchronization of all relevant data and logic.
For many organizations, that’s a significant burden, both in the project phase and in ongoing support. You’ll have to maintain business rules in three places (SAP, integration platform, B2B eCommerce) rather than just one place (SAP). Outsourcing this workload can reduce your hiring burden, but it doesn’t deal with the real problem, which is unnecessary complexity.
In the worst cases, this complexity can actually lead to a broken SAP integration. When that happens, your B2B portal is dead in the water.
So how do you replace WCEM without creating more work for IT?
- Look for a solution that includes prebuilt, configurable SAP ERP integration. This prevents you from reinventing the wheel with a complex, custom architecture. It allows your IT team to focus on their core responsibility — maintaining SAP ERP.
- Look for a managed solution provider. When coupled with prebuilt integration, this allows your IT team to maintain SAP ERP as the “one true truth” for business data and logic while a dedicated partner supports and upgrades the B2B eCommerce solution. It allows you to replace WCEM without creating additional workload for IT.
3. Define your timeline for replacing WCEM
This is especially critical if you’re migrating off ECC onto S/4HANA. That migration is a huge project. Once you make the cutover, you’ll lose any integration between ECC and WCEM.
Clearly, you need to launch a separate project to replace WCEM while you work out the S/4HANA migration. (Again, constrained IT resources really make this difficult.)
Unfortunately, many organizations come to an impasse here. How can they possibly scope a new B2B eCommerce solution, integrated to S/4HANA, while also getting their ducks in a row for the S/4HANA migration itself?
The key is to replace WCEM early — before you complete the S/4HANA migration.
In fact, with a solution like the Corevist Platform, you can launch now on ECC, then transition your Corevist investment to S/4HANA when you’re ready. The best part? Corevist’s deep SAP integration follows you from ECC to S/4HANA with minimal heavy lifting. Check out this post for more: Should We Wait For Our S/4HANA Migration To Launch The Corevist Platform?