If you have yet to watch the Keynote, let me explain the point I am going to touch on. Mike told a story of how when holding an interview with an executive of a large corporation in the states, the executive mentioned something along the lines of: “I want SAP CRM 2007 to work like iGoogle”. Having seen SAP CRM 2007, and having often thought to myself that it looked like somewhat like iGoogle everything started to make sense to me… kind of.
The story of taking a customer’s suggestion and building a software package around it is a great one, scratch that, it is a fantastically great one! But, can we credit this interview with shaping the CRM 2007 GUI we see today? Did this one executive’s comment create a team-wide watershed moment where the direction of the project was altered? I am sure that this story is true, but I push forward the idea that the CRM 2007 solution would look just as Web 2.0 as iGoogle does even if this interview never took place.
The CRM 2007 GUI looks a lot like iGoogle, because all (good) web portals are starting to look like iGoogle. To be frank, I would have been more surprised if SAP evolved into something that didn’t look like iGoogle, it would be going against the trends in the public setting and SAP’s competitors (at the time) stronger product lines.
First, let’s look at the trends in the public sector:
The concept of an easily configurable dashboard filled with modifiable, addable, and creatable widgets is very Web 2.0. I use a dashboard like this when I check my news at bbc.co.uk, I see one when I log into facebook, and now I will see one when I log into SAP CRM. It is successful in the ‘public space’ for a reason, and I am glad to now have similar functionalities in my work life. Although Web 2.0 has more to do with functionalities than aesthetics, a clean simple layout is a characteristic of the Web 2.0 movement. The SAP CRM Solution mimics these aesthetics in a way that is pleasing to the eye.
SAP Competitor’s had a solution that worked like this as well. I hate to use the ‘SF’ word, but in another life I used the SalesForce CRM. The clients that I supported the system for really liked the ‘Web 2.0’ish features, the pretty interface, the pretty web GUI, and overall having a lot of control over the type of data pushed to them!
The SAP CRM 2007 solution took what competitors were doing, what the public sector was doing, made it really pretty, and came out with a solution that if a company uses SAP in other areas of their business, it should be an easy decision to purchase the SAP package for their CRM. If you are dealing with a client that is still on the fence, make sure to bring up the fact that we are the only system with PacMan integration.
I wish all of SAP looked like SAP CRM 2007, I have spent the past week supporting a Client’s go-live, and the major complaints I received about the SAP package had to do with aesthetics and being able to find things properly. If instead of that little ‘Favourites’ list we have all become so accustomed to on the left-hand side of our SAP screens, I had a CRMish interface I am confident that life would have been much smoother (and I could have blogged again sooner).
If you want to blame me for my lack of updates feel free to do so, but who am I blaming? You guessed it, the old SAP interface.
I predict that all of SAP will eventually have a similar look and feel as SAP CRM 2007 has, it has to! It is how systems are progressing! All we need is for that same customer who made the iGoogle suggestion at the CRM meeting to attend brainstorming sessions for FI,SD, HR, and MM.