Although the focus of this blog is on SAP’s solutions for the Employee Interaction Center – the topic of Shared Services deserves some attention. This topic is fast becoming mainstream within organizations as they strive to deliver shared services across their business in a cost effective, high quality and timely manner. Business areas such as HR, Financials, IT and Facilities Management are primary candidates for shared service capabilities. SAP is aligning with this market need and intends to further expand its existing capabilities by enabling a framework that will provide a platform for multifunctional shared service functionality.
SAP’s current Shared Service Center offering focuses on the following topics enabling a multifunctional setting via SAP CRM:
- IT Help Desk
- Accounting Interaction Center (AIC)
- Employee Interaction Center (EIC)
- Deployment option with ERP 6.0.
- Deployment options with CRM 2005 and greater
Now let’s turn our focus to the Employee Interaction Center, as indicated in the above list SAP provides flexible deployment options, allowing customers to determine which option is best suited for their needs from a functional and technical perspective. As there have been questions around the functional variance between Enhancement Pack 4 for SAP ERP 6.0 and SAP CRM 7.0 this blog’s content is written with the current version in mind (for considerations between ERP 6.0 and CRM 5.0 please see the blog reference below).
There is no single answer as to what the best deployment option is. This is customer specific and depends on the functional needs, technical landscape and future considerations of your shared service offering. With this in mind, here are some questions & answers to consider in guiding your decision:
What are the necessary business processes & functional scope/needs of your EIC?
If the focus is on native HR functionality requiring process depth within your EIC service offering, then the ERP option is recommended.
Relevant functionalities not yet available with the SAP CRM EIC deployment option include the handling of concurrent employment scenarios employee authentication integration to HR processes and forms.
The SAP CRM solution provides greater depth of Interaction Center related functionality that is not available within the ERP solution.
These functionalities include:
- Campaign management
- Case management
- Multi-tenancy capabilities enabling client switch & BPO environments
- Standard help desk processing methodology including service request handling (see references below for related blog) & problem management
- Intent driven interaction
- Billing and charging for delivered services
- User interface flexibility and personalization
Is CRM already in place, planned or a potential future need/consideration?
If not, from a technical standpoint – why take on the overhead of CRM?
The ERP based solution is geared towards implementations involving a central HCM system running on ERP 6.0 and customers who want a HR specific call center solution to support HCM Service Delivery.
If so, it is likely that the EIC will ultimately be realized within the context of the SAP CRM Interaction Center. Consideration should also be given to note 1256691 indicating that “the functions provided in Enhancement Package 4 for SAP ERP 6.0 for the Employee Interaction Center component (PA-EIC) constitute the final range of functions.” As noted above, SAP’s direction is to establish one common shared services platform based on CRM technology and other SAP Business Suite components to offer functions following the latest business trends such as multi-functional shared services. The CRM technology will thereby be further leveraged to build this shared services platform in additional to providing functional enhancements for comprehensive scenario coverage across shared service center topics.
Are there any future plans for enabling a multifunctional shared service center or expanding the functionality of EIC to include interaction center specific capabilities?
If EIC is a first phase of a multifunctional shared service center platform, the CRM EIC deployment is recommended. This is also the case if future plans include more IC related functionality.
Are there multiple HR back end clients or BPO environment?
Only the CRM solution provides multi-tenancy capabilities. If you’re a business process outsourcer or have multiple HR clients within your landscape possibly due to mergers/acquisitions, then the CRM deployment option is recommended.
In summary how to decide on one of the EIC deployment options is dependent on the scale and functional range of the planned, present and future shared services project, as well as technical landscape objectives of your organization.
Please also reference these relevant resources:
- ERP/CRM EIC comparison web blog: Employee Interaction Center (EIC) Deployment Options.
- CRM Service Request Details web blog: SAP CRM 7.0 Service Tickets and Service Requests: Frequently Asked Questions
- ERP EIC Direction: Note 1256691