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Eclipse Aviation goes live with SAP CRM 2007

Our CRM History

Eclipse has been live on one version or another of SAP CRM 3.0 – CRM 4.0, since 2003.  We rolled out the SAP GUI based Interaction Center for Sales, and Customer Service in order to track prospects and customers and all associated activities.  We also rolled out Campaign management early on in order to send out email blasts to our account base and to replace a less than reliable ACT! system.

All of the SAP CRM system releases have been functional, but never well accepted or particularly liked. Out of the 80+ users we have in the system, there were only about 10 users that could comfortably navigate within – it basically had become “shelfware”.

It is and was always about the User Interface…

In late 2007, the sales management team asking for a better “sales” solution tool. They had seen and proposed going to a solution because it was instantly understood and management could better view what leads they were actively pursuing.


The ROI was simple, if we could increase usability to  help sell  just one more aircraft -it would pay for itself!


Reviewing it was apparent that the usability would be high, but the integration already established with SAP (HR org structure, material master, customer master, equipment records, Adobe forms integration) would have to be developed or dropped. Moving away from SAP did not make sense from a data or integration perspective.

The Eclipse Aviation internal SAP team had seen the SAP on-demand product and instantly saw usability improvements.  We asked our SAP account representative about what version supported the new User Interface (UI). We were told that it was an interim release version that was currently in Ramp-up: CRM 2006s.  We applied for ramp up immediately. (We have participated in Ramp-up projects in the past and are comfortable with the process and the risks associated.

In January 2008, CRM 2007 came into ramp-up and we switched our request to that version.  We finally received the software in mid January and had a Sandbox loaded for testing late in January.

The Project
We called it a Technical Upgrade +:
  • Functionality the users had in the CRM 4.0 would remain the same with almost no deviation.
  • The UI and the way the data is accessed would be different. 
  • This was going to be a short implementation, the sales team was driving hard for a better interface ASAP and the budget was not unlimited
  • Our system was ideal for a short implementation: very few custom developments. We had a small but strong Functional and Technical team in place and were enthused about the upgrade. 
The Rollout and reactions
We went live March 24th 2008 with the following functionality:
UI Enhancements

We did redo some of the UI enhancements to rename a few fields, take some fields away, and make some mandatory.  No programming was required to accomplish this – it was all done using standard configuration using the Component Workbench. Early on, we realized that this was going to be the case that is why we planned for an SAP UI person to help with the project.

Sales Professional Business Role UI


  • Customized Home page including live RSS feeds
  • Prospect account creation
  • Lead and Opportunity management
  • Activity creation and tracking
  • Transaction Launcher in the Sales UI to launch web pages used by sales team
  • Created custom skins: we did not want the user to get instantly ‘biased’ against CRM with the word SAP in the default skins – created our own and made it default 
  • Outlook email integration
Customer Care Web Interaction Center Business Role UI


  • Account tracking
  • Activity creation
  • Document attachment to account
  • Document search
  • Outlook email integration
  • Transaction Launcher for important ERP transactions
  • Used the default skin and manually replaced the SAP logo with ours in the backend using a REPAIR -(Not exactly standard, but this was poorly documented by SAP)
Marketing Business Role UI


  • Account tracking
  • Campaign management including: account segmentation, Web based email forms, and Automated campaigns
  • The Sales and Marketing business roles share the same skin

Also, we retained previous functionality of having offline Adobe Interactive forms for Prospect capturing for our sales people.

The reaction:
An immediate and overwhelmingly positive response! 

We met the goal of retaining the features and the integration of SAP CRM while providing the users with a UI they liked and are comfortable with.

Some real internal user reactions:

“This is nice and long overdue” -sales representative

“Wow…that is really cool;  I didn’t know SAP could do that.” Director commenting on the ease of sending an email campaign.

Some Favorite features:
  • Easy output to Excel of generated searches of account or transactions
  • Web based mail forms – no need to learn Smartforms
  • One web based complete overview of the account – no need to use tabs
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  • Congratulations on your upgrade to CRM 2007. Your system design looks very appealing based on your screenshots.  I only have a few questions:

    - How large was your implementation team?
    - Have your users found any parts of the system to be "quirky" or not so obivous?
    - What has been your biggest pain point with your users so far? 
    - Any special tuning/performance considerations for your system that you needed to make post golive? 

    Take care,


    • Thanks for the kind words Stephen.

      Here are the answers to your questions:

      -How large was your implementation team?
      The team was pretty small.
      *Myself for management/architect/testing
      *Our Basis contractor who was very, very good
      *Our functional/middleware lead
      *A Functional Consultant to fill in the gaps and help with IC web
      *A UI Consultant from SAP for UI setup/configuration
      Also a small amount of internal support from our ABAP, BASIS and HR team.

      - Have your users found any parts of the system to be "quirky" or not so obvivous?
      Not really.  I have dealt with 'quirky' SAP UIs most of my career.  This one is very different-very friendly and non-"SAP"ish if you would like.

      - What has been your biggest pain point with your users so far? 
      The biggest pain point I believe would be that you can do so much more with the new UI, so the users don't fully get it the first round. Even though the UI is simpler, it allows you to do more.  Our users versed in the old 4.0 system were used to not being able to have all the data close at hand.  That, plus we have one user that insists is better and will always be. 😉

      - Any special tuning/performance considerations for your system that you needed to make post golive? 
      A few.  We extended to timeout from 10 minutes to 30 minutes and we made a change to a server memory setting that improved performance in the UI indexing - the "wait spinner" did not spin as long.  We were a little worried about the UI performance, but this has proven not to be a hindrance.

      Thanks for the questions.



      • Mike,

        It sounds like there have not been any drawbacks to your upgrade.  I agree with you about the comment, as we have some "ACT" users who say the same thing.

        Do you mind sharing the sever memory setting that improved your UI performance?  It would be helpful for those of us planning to go to CRM 2007 down the road.

        Thank you,


        • Sorry for the delay, I had to talk to the Basis guy who reviewed the parameter changes that were made in Production. Here are his words:
          These parameters were related to the standard buffer settings based on our usage patterns.

          Types of buffers increased, all by about 50%:
          Program buffer
          CUA buffer
          Export/Import buffer
          Generic Key buffer

          None of which was technically a UI specific setting.

          Things to consider for performance of the UI could be the caching of content and compression of content. This would have to be evaluated in the context of network bandwidth, static nature of the content, source of the content (e.g. Portal or CRM server,etc.). All of which we did not need to evaluate.

          Hope this can help.



  • Hi Mike,

    It's good to see that SAP has taken a step forward to create user friendly UI with smooth customization.

    CRM 2007 UI is really good compare to PCUI of CRM 5.0.

    I want to understand the "How to show weather telecast on homepage".
    This detail will help me out to acheive similar requirement.


  • Greetings! Great blog on your experiences.

    I've found the groupware connector to Outlook rather quirky and sometimes unreliable. Has the Outlook integration improved in CRM2007?

    Thanks, Nick

    • Hi Nick.

      The Outlook Integration was relatively painless for us.   It has been reliable except when the rare user has more than one Exchange account.  The email connector for CRM does not know which account to go to.

      Hope this helps,