As a Solution Manager working on SAP CRM, I’ve been in contact with many customers – all of them having different requirements concerning the Classification of Accounts. Described below are the different options, intentions and Use-Cases we support in CRM 2007:
Business Partner Roles
Every Account can be assigned with roles like Sold to Party, Competitor or Partner etc. It’s always possible to assign multiple roles at the same time and this is reflected in the Account as a whole. In principle the Account Overview-Page doesn’t look much different whatever role is assigned. However, the role can have an impact on the assignment-blocks displayed within the Account Overview-Page. One good example is the Role Competitor. If the Account is classified with the Role Competitor assignment-blocks like Competitor Products or Competitor Opportunities will be displayed.
The Account Life-Cycle is very similar to the usage of the Business Partner Roles, but here exclusively one Life-Cycle Stage can be assigned at one point in time. In addition the transition from one Stage to the other can be customized. This means it could be possible to change the Life-Cycle Stage e. g. from unqualified Address to active Customer but not in the other direction. The Account Life-Cycle can also be used to display different header-configuration. This makes sense if the Account is in a very early stage requiring only some attributes to be maintained, as well as, in a later stage where more fields are mandatory.
With Marketing Attributes we have a flexible instrument to classify Accounts with different attributes. It’s possible to classify Persons as well as Organizations and use different attribute-sets for each. Usually Marketing Attributes are not used to influence any processes or the User Interface.
With the Account Classification Assignment-Block we offer an option to classify Accounts dependent on several classification criteria. This is relevant for customers active in different regions with different Business Units. Here it makes sense not only to have a global role like Competitor, Sold-to-Party, or Partner, but to specify this a little bit more. It’s possible to classify the Account as Competitor in Sales Org A. for Country Germany, but as Partner in Sales Org B. for one of the emerging markets. The definition of the classification criteria is very flexible and up to 5 different criteria can be used in combination with different Attributes and Values.
All the above described different options to classify Account have one common function – all of them can be used to identify Account in the Account-Search.
Impact on User-Interface