Companies embarking on digital frontiers often face several business and technology challenges. One of those challenges is choosing the right technology platform to execute the corporate vision with excellence. The platform must not only meet current needs but must also be scalable in order to foster future growth. Many successful companies have found the answer with SAP Hybris Commerce to expertly manage their B2B and B2C business scenarios and enable future growth.
SAP Hybris Commerce is a full featured platform that supports the diverse set of enterprise level B2B and B2C digital businesses. There are other SAP Hybris brand products such as SAP Hybris Marketing, SAP Hybris Billing, and C4C (Cloud for Customer) in the market, but the focus is on SAP Hybris Commerce. Gartner places SAP Hybris Commerce in the leader quadrant, because of its power to create a rich digital experience. This power can be overwhelming when you are trying to extract the benefits but are not harnessing the SAP Hybris Commerce power to the fullest, leading to a frustrating and unsatisfied experience. However, with thoughtful planning, this can become successful strategic decision and implementation that will revolutionize your B2B and B2C interactions and catapult your business to unprecedented growth.
Below are some critical things that the company should keep in mind to ensure rapid adoption of such a powerful platform.
#1 Platform Knowledge: Hybris Commerce is complex. Though there are out-of-the-box B2B and B2C accelerators for many verticals, trying to adapt to your business process may take longer because of the multiple tools and sophisticated technology stack.
Key Takeaway – Explore each feature of your business processes and find out all the details of what is required to adapt the platform to your needs. For example, if you have mail-in rebates, find out what it will take to make this happen.
#2 Business Data Model: Hybris makes use of the object-data-model of your business entities. An XML-based data model created during design time converts to object models at build and runtime. Since Hybris hides direct access to the database and only allows you to make database queries using its proprietary mechanism, a thorough understanding of its object-data-model (Type System) is pivotal in accomplishing your goals.
Key Takeaway – The key ingredient of your business process is the data model, spend time to model it to meet your specific needs and master the Hybris Type System.
#3 Data Access: Hybris uses a proprietary language and tool named IMPEX to import and export data. A strong command of this language is imperative to gain full functionality of the platform.
Key Takeaway – Learn IMPEX and flexible search
#4 Development: Hybris uses several open source Java frameworks— Apache SOLR for searching, Spring Core, Spring MVC, Spring Security, Ehcache, Tomcat, Apache Commons, JUnit etc.—with a proprietary object-data modeling mechanism.
Key Takeaway: Develop a deep understanding of the Hybris building blocks.
#5 Testing: JUnit is an integral part of testing with binding to Spring beans and a separate database tenant for a clear demarcation from actual data.
Key Takeaway: Learn Hybris testing and integration framework.
#6 Search: Hybris depends on Apache SOLR for searching and indexing its data and content. An out-of-the-box extension (module) provides functionality to configure indexes and facets. Customization for different business scenarios and specific searching requirements is not simple; it requires strong technical know-how of the Hybris module and Apache SOLR.
Key Takeaway: Learn Apache SOLR and identify the amount of data/content index and expected throughput early in the process. Your customers expect a highly reliable and responsive search engine while navigating your site, any shortcomings will hamper the customer experience.
#7 SEO: There are several facets to consider when implementing an effective search engine optimization (SEO). URL mapping, keywords, Meta tag, and sitemaps are few of them. SEO is one of the areas where Hybris support is weak. In order to enable all facets of SEO, the implementation team must keep it high on their agenda when discussing the design of categories and product pages.
Key Takeaway: Make SEO a priority early in the design phase.
#8 Product Information Management (PIM): Hybris supports the creation of multiple product catalogs. However, a live Hybris site (B2B/B2C) with the requirement of supporting multiple product catalogs requires thorough planning, design, and development.
Key Takeaway: Think about the need of multiple product catalogs in the planning stage and thoroughly design them to support multiple brands, suppliers, and banners.
#9 Content Management: Hybris has an integrated web content management system to support the dynamic development of websites, pages, templates, content slots, and components. Hybris calls this collection of objects a content catalog. It is proprietary and requires strict attention to detail when customizing your user interface design.
Key Takeaway: Design a content catalog during the early stages of development.
#10 Integration: Hybris can connect to any other system using standard integration protocols. However, any customization or direct interaction with the object-data-model from external sources requires a good amount of effort. There is no out-of-the-box support for an asynchronous mechanism. External tools such as Hybris Datahub are available, for an additional cost, which provides adapter-based plug-ability to connect disparate systems.
Key Takeaway: Think about your integration strategy
With technology evolving rapidly, the firms will continue to add new tools and investment styles to enable greater transparency and better return at a cheaper cost. They will readily adapt new technology and transform interactions and user experience to unprecedented heights. Admittedly, a knowledgeable SAP Partner can help you maximize your investment and reap the full benefits of your implementation.