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Business Suite 7.0 – Evolution of SAP CRM Sales features and expectations for future releases – Part II

Continuing from my previous BLOG, let us start with the following functions

1.       Sales Compensation – Maintain variable compensation related to productivity .

In CRM 7.0 there has been no additional features in sales compensation management. Core solution remains as in previous version.

Areas  where we may expect some movements in future:Ultimately the buzz word here is seamless integration. In a future compensation management package we should have the capability to look at the holistic performance of the sales employee. This holistic performance  should include not only direct commission earning sales opportunities as today, it should also include, for example, valuable times she might have spent in client negotiations etc.  Here the direction of solution should have service order concept  with pricing and cost of the service. CATS integration already provided by CRM may help to design the solution. 

2.       Telesales and call center management – While almost 75% of current customer facing activities are still happening through telephony, this trend will continue to grow. As more and more business will be run over telephone the agents will need more sophisticated tool and integrated access to the backend system.

·         Some of the new functions in CRM 7.0 are:

o   More business transactions can now be accessed by  IC agents making it a more mainstream UI. This reduces the restrictions of what an agent can do from IC Web client.

o   CRM product configurators,  product proposals and product catalogs can now be used with ERP sales orders from IC Webclient

o   Knowledge articles can now be used by the agents and used during interaction with customers.

o   Shared Services capability – IT service Desk (ITSM) function was a big gap for industry solutions. Now in ITSM has been delivered as part of Service solution. Naturally IC agents have got roles to execute relevant functions. Enhancements have been made for Employee Interaction Center.

o   Accounting Interaction Center – As of SAP CRM 7.0, basic support is offered to implement an accounting interaction center (AIC). We can use an AIC to enable financial shared services and handle accounting-related interactions with customers. We can, for example, access open vendor invoices or the accounting segments of customer master data, or create an asset master record.

o    Heart Beat profile – As of SAP CRM 7.0 you can manage how the system reacts when a communication failure occurs between a communication session, the communication management software (CMS), and the Web browser. For example, in an interaction center environment, the heartbeat profile could be configured to prevent calls from being forwarded to an agent’s desktop that is no longer responsive.

o   Integration with communication management software with new business roles help to control CTI/IVR functions.

In this section I would like to deviate from our structure of BLOG and discuss about how SAP BCM works.

        What is BCM – Just to reiterate BCM is a separately priced SAP product. It is a Multi-channel, IP communications platform with out-of-the box integration to SAP CRM Interaction Center. It does not come with SAP suite. SAP claims to have lots of clientele in this domain and Gartner  has rated the product as ‘Visionary’.  Interestingly, BCM in standalone can be used with Siebel and many other CRM solutions.

BCM is positioned in atraditional CTI environment as follows:

image” There are three main modes of BCM deployment. They are as shown:

Option 1- Hybrid mode of working with existing PSTN infrastructure:

imageFigure 1 – BCM Option 1

Option 2  – Parallel use of BCM



Figure 2 – BCM option 2

  Option 3 – Full IP PBX


imageFigure 3 – BCM option 3

o   How it may impact future CTI implementations

When we think of any CTI implementation the first thing which comes to any consultants mind is the integration challenges. With so many systems to talk to each other the dialog is often quarrelsome. Probably all of the experienced consultants in this domain remember sleepless nights to solve different parties’ conflicting messages on trouble shooting.

The BCM move is trying to address two fundamental things –

1.       Move from traditional PBX based telephony to VoIP based telephony (Hybrid option is provided though to provide a migration path for traditional users).  In long run, whether BCM will be adopted by users or not is also impacted by how VoIP scores over traditional telephony. 

2.       Extend SAP solution reach. At one hand it has the benefit of reducing integration challenges. On other hand it has a tendency to provide competition to its own certified partners.

SAP needs to clearly position BCM with other CTI/IVR solutions in the market to keep its portfolio consistency, reduce partner conflicts and help future clientele.

3.       E-Commerce and self services– In current economy where everywhere we are trying to cut cost and boost quality, importance of providing seamless self service capability to customers is paramount.

However, in this regard, SAP has just provided comparatively small progresses in CRM 7.0. Of these following are the most interesting ones to me –

§  Enterprise services for product catalog authoring

§  Web services enablement for product catalog publication

§  IC agents can use the same product catalog and help customers

§  Integrating basic Loyalty management with Web shop

§  Capability to create ERP sales order from Webshop

             But in projects we face more fundamental gaps – for example standard incompletion logs are   difficult to get to the customers while they create sales order through the web shops, non-availability of listing and exclusion in web shop, contract determination working from catalog only etc. Additionally ICSS is not showing much of movement. This is another area which now should be designed to exploit current comprehensiveness of CRM service.

SAP’s success in web based business model (B2B and B2C) will, I think, strongly control its future as a successful company. We should wait to see what happens in this domain in future.


4.       Billing processes – Providing correct billing is crucial for business in any situation. More so now. Companies cannot afford to have sub-optimum invoice processing.

CRM Billing engine is one of the under-used components which has a very good potential to be used. Starting from 3.0 SAP has made steady improvements in this product. Initially it was poised to be a separate product capable to cater to standalone implementations (e.g. for Telecom industry billing etc.). Still there are some crucial gaps remaining. Let us see where we stand in this

·         What is new in CRM 7.0

o   As of SAP CRM 7.0 you can retrieve planned costs from SAP ERP for services, service parts, tools, and sales products that have been replicated from SAP ERP. This function is supported as of SAP enhancement package 4 for SAP ERP 6.0.

§  We  can display costs from SAP ERP in the following business transactions:

·          Service order quotations

·          Service orders

·          Billing requests

·          Sales order quotations

·          Sales orders

§  We can also set up pricing in SAP CRM to calculate margins, based on the planned costs from SAP ERP.

§  We can do re-pricing to recalculate cost and profit margins.

This is a huge improvement. Earlier we had a much fractured report based process to take care of this requirement.

o   Billing of payment card transactions – This is another very welcome feature. Now we can use payment card for sales and service billings together with CRM billing engine. However, deliveries in ECC do not trigger yet a re-authorization of payment cards as it happens in ECC.

o   Additional there are some industry specific enhancements available now. Such as

§  Billing Plan details can now be exchanged with 3rd party for IPM business

§  Royalties can be split between multiple payees again applicable for IPM etc..

 ·         Related enterprise services bundle – Invoice processing as business function communicates with broadly four other process areas. As shown in Fig.7 for each of the interface areas there are service interfaces which can be used for integrating with 3rd party applications  



Figure 4 – CRM billing SOA compatibility


·         Areas of future movement

o   CRM billing vs. ECC billing – What is the future direction – delivery related billing in ECC, non-delivery (service) related billing in CRM. Credit card management for service billing is a welcome functionality

o   The comparison between ECC billing and CRM billing can be summarized as below. Naturally SAP should need to address the features not yet available in CRM Billing to make it a universal standalone billing solution – its original intention of billing engine. Also as we can see some scenarios not yet available in CRM billing needs to be enabled to make CRM a truly leading sales order processing system.

imageFigure 5 – CRM and ECC billing comparison

Let me know your comments on the above.

Next time we shall look at CRM service functions and how they are evolving.

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      Author's profile photo Gregor Wolf
      Gregor Wolf

      can you please add this Blog to the CRM Category.

      Best regards

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Good morning,

      I would like to know the main advantages of SAP BCM than a standard CTI.
      Integrating SAP BCM with SAP CRM provides adavantages in terms of costs (total costs of ownership). Anyway I would like to know if there are further functional advantages.

      Thanks in advance