This blog entry was inspired by comments from Vijay Vijayasankar and SAP Consultant on my recent Order Management Trends on Order Management Trends. They are interested in understanding how SAP is responding to the current and emerging trends in the Order Management space.
Due to competitive and other reasons, I am unable to comment on SAP functionality that is yet to be released. However, the current SAP offering includes several capabilities that address many of the requirements related to the business trends discussed in my previous blog entry, which I am happy to discuss here.
Multichannel Experience – SAP provides very good coverage to satisfy the requirements for this business trend. Sales Orders in SAP, irrespective of whether they are captured in SAP CRM or SAP ERP, offer multi-channel support. The SAP E-Commerce solution makes it possible to offer sales through the internet. Orders can be easily captured and managed via EDI, internet, contact center, direct sales and channel partners. There is a centralized repository of order data insuring consistency across all channels. So, pricing and product configuration is the same irrespective of channel. Furthermore, changes made using one channel are immediately visible in other channels. With the increasing popularity of smart phones, it will be interesting to see what new scenarios unfold, especially in the B2C space.
Web 2.0 – SAP is doing some great innovations around Web 2.0 technologies. A good example is the ability to mine user reviews and comments at various websites and social networks to gauge the underlying sentiment (e.g. positive, neutral and negative), and to correlate this with number of service tickets or other internal data. Please see Paul Greenberg’s comments on this functionality under section SAP Twitter Services in his blog. The same can be easily realized for sales orders. The CRM UI makes it possible to build mashups, so it is very easy to build sales applications that combine internet content with internal company data (e.g. displaying the average user rating for a product in a product catalog).
In my opinion, several potential benefits and applications of social media are yet to be discovered (or validated!). As new uses are uncovered, SAP will continue to address them.
Business Transformation – The following are the key requirements related to this business trend: flexibility, scalability, integration, product bundling, solution selling and distributed order management (DOM). The large (and growing list) of enterprise services now offered by SAP applications address the requirements for flexibility and integration. Furthermore, flexibility (through customization) and scalability are inherent capabilities of SAP solutions. CRM 2007 offers several features that address the requirements for product bundling and solution selling. SAP has fair coverage for DOM. However, order orchestration and brokering is yet to be fully addressed.
Inbound Marketing – SAP provides very good coverage for the requirements of this business trend. The Product Proposal capability in CRM 2007 allows product suggestions to be made based on an existing order basket, marketing campaigns, customer’s order history, etc. This capability is available across all channels. In addition, the SAP Real-Time Offer Management (RTOM), a real time decision support framework, can be deployed in the contact center to provide intelligent recommendation of products and next-best-actions during customer interactions. With CRM 7.0, it is possible to request product proposals for orders captured directly in SAP ERP.
Internet – Again SAP has very good coverage to support the requirements related to this trend. As stated earlier, the SAP E-Commerce solution is available and can be deployed with SAP CRM or SAP ERP, depending on where orders are to be captured. The solution also offers adequate functionality for customers to directly manage their orders using the internet.
Insight – The acquisition of Business Objects by SAP added a stellar list of products to the SAP portfolio. SAP has been aggressively working on integrating BOBJ acquired technologies into SAP products. For example, CRM 2007 includes dashboards based on Xcelcius 2008. On a side note, Xcelcius is one of the best products I have seen. Check out the demo and download website for Xcelcius to see first hand what is possible with this nifty tool. Stay tuned for more updates on improved analytics capabilities in SAP products.
I hope this gives you a sense of how SAP is addressing the business trends in Order Management. Feel free to request detailed information on CRM 2007 or CRM 7.0 capabilities.