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Crazy people @ CRM!

As I’ve started at SAP I’ve learned that there is no way to survive unless I learn some very specific acronym (usually with 3 characters …).
Later I’ve learned that there are some specific terms which are still used, although these terms don’t have any real meaning today. One good example is the F4-Help in Web-UI.There is no Search-Help in CRM Web-UI you can open if you press the F4-key.
However my absolute favorite expressions in CRM are “Breadcrumb-Navigation” and “L-Shape”.

If you talk with people at CRM you will hear these expressions very often.
L-Shape is the term we use for the Navigation-Area on the left part of the Screen.
As there is also a navigation-frame on top of the screen someone obviously thought, that this has the shape of the letter “L”. That’s really the case … if you turn your screen 90° to the left.
I like the L-Shape navigation as it is much more intuitive to use and faster in comparison to the Navigation in PC-UI, but I will not turn my screen 90° to the left.

Do you have any Idea, what “Breadcrumb-Navigation” means and why we use this term?
Breadcrumb NavigationWell, the Breadcrumb-Navigation officially has the name “Page History Menu” and is used to navigate to Overview-Pages and Search-Pages the user already has used.
This is a very useful Framework-Feature. In order to be really consistent you will only navigate in the display-mode of the object.

But why we use the Term “Breadcrumb-Navigation”?
Well, the origin of this is the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel”.
Hansel has used the Breadcrumb to find the way home. That’s a very nice analogy.
BUT if you think about this fairy tale you probably can remember that this was not really successful.
The birds have taken all pieces of bread and Hansel and Gretel were lost in a dark forest.

However, Breadcrumb-Navigation in CRM really works and you will find your way “home” – even with some shortcuts. But you will not find the evil witch.
This is probably disappointing, because Hansel and Gretel finally also found the way home, but with a lot of Gold …

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  • One favorite term

    In the webUI
    “Assignment blocks” – Describe an area of data either in table or “form” format on an overview screen.

    The most confusing or questioned for folks coming from SD/ERP.

    “Business Transaction” – Always get strange looks from people when explaining the one order concept for the first time.  ERP folks always wonder why we don’t have separate tables for everything.

    “Business Partner” – You mean a customer, vendor, employee, competitor, contact person are all stored in the same place?

    “Product master” – Yep we don’t have have materials in CRM, we have “products”.

    “CRM middleware” – so like XI/PI/tibco or other eai tool? Instead it’s an “code” plugin on both CRM & ERP.

    My other favorite is try to explain to someone how groupware integration technically works.

    Take care,


    • Hi Stephen!
      Yes, these are good examples.
      However, it’s really not easy to find good terms. Here we want to use terms which are understandable in the right context but than, this term has to work in all other areas as well.
      Business Partner is a good example. We use this rather as the term for the Object. If we want to describe how this works in CRM we rather use terms like “Account”, “Contact Person”, “Employee”.
      However this get’s mixed as well or we can state “everything is possible”. A Contact Person can also be an Account. The Account can have every role (Partner, Competitor, Prospect, Customer, etc.) and the Contact Person is not a real Contact Person if he has not a relation ship to an organization …
      The next nightmare is to define terms for enterprise services.
      Best regards
  • Ask why any problem occurs in CRM and a reflex answer comes – “oh, it is a framework issue”. Except that there is no clear definition on what framework they are talking about. It could mean “CGPL or Oneorder framework etc”, or “UI framework” etc.
      • LOL -Arno. I have lost count of the number of arguments I have had over “Works as designed”. This is pretty hard in integration areas where no one really knows what the design is. So each team does their thing – and final solution might not have any synergy. Although it was  frustrating at the time, when you now brought it up – I had a good laugh. Thanks buddy
  • I just started working in the CRM Development team and I was wondering why do we have “breadcrumbs” in a software application!!! But this blog helped me clear that doubt. In the rare case of the breadcrumbs not working, we can always blame the hungry birds 🙂
    • Hmm, I’m not sure if we can really blame the hungry birds, if customers have issues with the Breadcrumb-Navigation 😉
      I know that navigation is still an area where some users have issues and some are not aware of all features.
      If users have issues with Breadcrumb-Navigation than the issues are mostly rather related to inconsistent data entered and the user uses the Breadcrumb to escape.
      In general I would assume that Hansel and Gretel would have no issues working with the Breadcrumb-Navigation …