This week is CRM focus week at SAP, dubbed “Rediscover SAP CRM” with a lot of internal and external activities around CRM.
If you like to learn more about “Rediscover SAP CRM” please check out today’s press release highlighting a number of SAP CRM 2007 customers as well as this week’s special CRM homepage on the official SAP Website with a lot of exciting material, information, and helpful links (including a link to BPX of course!).
I thought the CRM focus week would be a great opportunity to post a blog on BPX reflecting a bit about the recent CRM history and the momentum since we launched the redesigned SAP CRM 2007 and CRM @ BPX which we had started at the same time of the launch of the new release.
The “new” SAP CRM 2007
A couple of years ago, we really were at crossroads with CRM when feedback from customers and users clearly indicated that while they had acknowledged rich functionality and built-in integration to critical back-end systems such as ERP many of our customers and especially the business users weren’t really happy with the usability of the product. This became a big issue as adoption of CRM slowed down while CRM sales numbers continued to increase.
Hence, we decided to take action and completely redesign the user interface and introduce a Web 2.0-type UI that sets new standards in terms of ease of use as well as personalization capabilities to meet the specific needs of business users in the front office. With SAP CRM 2007 this new UI, which was designed in close collaboration with hundreds of customers and business users across sales, marketing and service, is now available to everyone and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
You may want to check out Eclipse Aviation goes live with SAP CRM 2007 about the CRM 2007 implementation at Eclipse Aviation or the Eclipse Aviation CRM 2007 Business Transformation Study that they completed just recently. Other early adopters across a variety of industries such as Eastman Chemicals, Statoil Hydro, MayoClinics, eBay, HomeShopping Europe, and Philips Electronics as well as analysts and thought leaders such as Paul Greenberg are full of praise. As of today, over 600 shipments of the new release have been made with hundreds of projects under way. We have asked some of these customers to also share their experience on BPX — so stay tuned for their postings and the opportunity to ask them questions.
Of course, there were some critical feedback, too, including some blogs and comments on BPX/SDN ranging from suggestions for further enhancements to concerns about SAP’s UI strategy not being synchronized across applications. This is kind of feedback is also very much appreciated because it it important to hear about ideas and concerns of what we do. Which leads me to the next topic I would like to cover:
CRM @ BPX
When we were about to launch SAP CRM 2007 we were thinking about what else we should be doing differently. We had asked ourselves: How can we actually engage with customers, partners, users in a different way and also get their feedback on a more regular basis. This was when we “discovered” BPX and immediately recognized that this would be an excellent platform to reach out to a broader CRM community, help grow this community, and leverage BPX not only as a communication channel but as an interaction channel, a support channel and last but not least a very valuable feedback channel.
When we (we = CRM Product Management) launched CRM @ BPX in December 2007 we took a phased approach with phase 1 focused on the communication side. We created a homepage, provided a lot of initial content such as business transformation studies, best practices, white papers…, updated and refreshed the homepage on a weekly basis with new featured content, started blogging, and created a series of well-received CRM 2007 video clips.
In March of 2008 we entered phase two with a stronger focus on collaboration with the community and a number of activities to actually increase awareness for CRM @ BPX. We started an internal program to get product managers more engaged in discussion forums and launched three new forums including a forum dedicated to SAP CRM 2007 release and the new UI framework. We presented BPX at SAP Insider’s CRM 2008 conference to create more awareness and covered the event on BPX with daily blogs, pictures, Q&A with presenters and an exclusive replay of the keynote so community members who were not able to participate could also benefit from the event.
I am proud to say that CRM@BPX with all your help and engagement has been a success story so far. By the end of Q1 we have tripled home page visits and today we have six vibrant discussion forums. The UI videoclips s posted on BPX have had over 40,000 views and the total number of CRM blogs has passed 150. Even more impressive is the fact that the total number of CRM forum contributions is approaching 100,000. This warrants a big thank you to the entire community.
And we will continue with more efforts on our side: For example, we have started to build a CRM community wiki on BPX and I am pleased to announce that the link to this wiki is now available. It’s still in its infancy and I encourage each and everyone in this great community to contribute and help build the wiki to increase the benefits for everyone. In Q3 and Q4 we are also planning to introduce new discussion forums for CRM Sales, CRM Marketing and CRM Service with moderators from product management.
Soon, we will enter Phase 3, which will be focused on community feedback and co-innovation. We are going to launch an idea and feedback platform on BPX for the community to provide feedback on CRM development items, suggest new functionality and enhancements and have the community vote on these items. Our internal CRM product council will run this and we will develop a process to get your voice into our product roadmap. So stay tuned to learn more about this exciting new venture which will mark the beginning of a new era of co-innovation.
We are definitely not there, yet. But I believe we have made significant progress in the past 6-8 months with CRM @ BPX. The entire CRM product management team is fully committed to BPX and we will increase our level of engagement going forward. It’s also a learning experience for us and a paradigm shift in the role of product managers.
Please provide your feedback with regards to what we have done and how we have done so far on BPX. What are the things you value most and where do you see only limited benefits. What do you like and what are things we can improve. Please let us also know your expectations as to how we can improve and help contribute to this community.