I've been asked several times recently about the benefits of upgrading to SAP CRM 7.0 so here are a few thoughts on what it can bring from both a technology and business perspective.
What does the technology offer?
One of the key features of SAP CRM 7.0 is the flexibility that it offers in terms of integration with your other business systems. With SOA enablement and pre-built web-services out of the box, it is a lot easier to leverage SAP CRM data and functionality including mobile and social media solutions, which are probably the two capabilities most discussed in the last 6 months.
SAP CRM 7.0 is now fully supported until 2020 with innovations and functionality delivered on top of the current platform via Enhancement Packs. This means that upgrade costs are much reduced over the coming years, with less business testing required to implement Enhancement Pack releases. Support costs are also reduced as the technology has been rationalised and simplified, rapid application development tools have been included and extended configuration options are available.
What functional benefits are there?
There are also benefits to the business including better adoption with the new Web UI , improvements in Sales, Service and Marketing processes and a raft of new functionality, including:
Real Time Offer Management (RTOM)
Fully integrated Multi-Channel Support via BCM
Improved Web Shop Functionality
Enhanced Trade Promotion Management Functionality
Shared Service Centre
Data Quality Management
What are the challenges?
There are a number of common challenges when upgrading to SAP CRM 7.0 from earlier releases the major challenge being the upgrade from SAP CRM 5.0 or lower as the user base will be moving from the SAP GUI and PCUI screens to the new SAP Web UI screens. Even if you are currently using the Web Client in SAP CRM 4.0 or 5.0, there is no direct upgrade path to SAP CRM 7.0 and therefore the screens will change and some re-work is required.
The good news here is that there is the chance to revert back to standard with the new Web UI screen flows that are much easier to customise and can be altered without enhancement. Add to this the rapid application development and mash-up tools from Enhancement Pack 1 onwards, and the implementation time for screen changes in SAP CRM 7.0 is significantly reduced.
The authorisation concept has also changed with the new Web UI with the concept of Business Roles that help segregate the responsibilities of different areas of the business by restricting navigation through the system in addition to standard SAP authorisations. Thus there will need to be a mapping exercise here from old to new.
How to succeed
Besides the technical considerations of any Upgrade project such as sizing, the key to succeeding in a SAP CRM Upgrade, and in general for SAP CRM projects, is ensuring that the business is fully engaged in the process. A proof of concept can help ensure that business have early visibility of the new look system and therefore can be fully involved in design decisions around the new UI and screen sequences. With the new UI being easy to configure and personalise the super users can get involved in some of the build, giving some additional buy-in and up-skilling.