Now that I’m back from CX LIVE 2018, I’ve taken the time to pause, gather my thoughts, and reflect on my time in Barcelona. Before the event, I shared my thoughts on the SAP C/4HANA journey so far and contemplated how the coming together of the SAP C/4HANA Suite adds much more beyond the individual products. CX LIVE 2018 validated my thoughts – it was a great event and it was heart-warming to see plenty of content across the SAP C/4HANA product suite. I was equally as pleased with the level of enthusiasm in the keynotes addressing the coherence of the products. This was all tempered with a realisation that being ahead of the crowd is not enough – there is still more to do.

There was a good even mix of new stuff and ensuring people were up to date with developments, whereas last year, the event seemed to be commerce focussed (in keeping with the then recent rebranding of everything as Hybris). This year there was probably less “new stuff” presented from commerce, even though there are changes to talk about, but there was a great variety of talks to attend.

The most over-subscribed session I attended was a theatre presentation reviewing the new Commerce Integration Objects (the OData integration approach, replacing DataHub). While on the subject of DataHub – it does seem a crying shame that SAP has two completely different products, with almost identical names: one called Data Hub, and one called DataHub (did you notice the space between the two words). I strongly suggest that some tidying up of the naming for both would be a positive step forward.

My particular focus this year was Marketing Cloud so I was delighted to see some first-rate sessions that gazed deeper into the technical details, especially around the changes arising from the shift to the cloud product. It’s a sign that the product is maturing as there were more discussions about how to achieve specific outcomes than more general chat on high-level features.

The split between Service and Sales for C4C seems pretty complete from this event, and although there was a good range of Sales coverage, the messaging for Service was still disrupted by the recent acquisition of Core Systems, and the new developments around Customer Engagement Centre. The former is mature and now needs to settle into its place in the overall picture, whereas the latter needs to sort out what its place will be as it evolves into a stand-alone product.

I’d like to have seen more focus on the integration aspects, as this probably needs to be an area of focus over the next year or so, but that is more difficult to present with the show floor (and the many sessions) divided between the separate products. Maybe next year, the middle of the room can just be about integration.

From a Keytree perspective, we focussed on our Keytree In-store Technology (KIT) product, which was an overwhelming success. We had many people visit the stand, and it’s nice to have a story to tell about a product which most people can engage with – even if the product is not directly for them. Across the broader stands, I did notice that (apart from finding people I knew), the most interesting were ones with a fairly narrow message, as it made for a more specific conversation.

I’m usually less excited about the keynotes at events like this, but the speakers were generally engaging and had something to say. It’s always a good start to get a brewer on stage for an event like this, but when they have something real to say about both the use of SAP and what they are trying to do in the world, so much the better (although I never did get to try the Bavaria beer ice cream).