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Check out also part 2 of this Blog:       SAP Skills Conference 2009 – Breakout Sessions wrap-up

Journey

My journey to the SAP Skills Conference 2009 started from the Train Station in Rosenheim, Bavaria where I’ve the train to Stuttgart. This train was already 15 minutes behind schedule. Luckily I had 30 minutes to catch my train to Walldorf. The bad thing was that the air condition was defect in two wagons. But I’ve moved to a cool one.

SCN Meet up

As you might know I’ve invited the SAP Community to get together for a informal SCN meet up. Unfortunately nobody showed up. Now I can imagine how hard it is for our community evangelists like Marilyn Pratt, Craig Cmehil and Mark Finnern to get people to attend the community events. But I’ve enjoyed my time having a Flammkuchen and a good 3G connection.

SAP Skills Conference Day 1 – Keynotes

The SAP Skills Conference started in the SAP  University Building in St. Leon-Rot where I’ve been already one time in 2005 for the SDN meets Labs Event. The WiFi was working, so the SAP world could follow my tweets.

Welcome

Jochen Weiler

Jochen Weiler, Education Account Manager at SAP gave us a warm welcome. He pointed out the additional benefits included into the conference fee. All attendees get access for one month to all OKP’s (Online Knowledge Products) also known as Ramp-Up Knowledge Transfer Material. Also we can choose between one E-Learning of Choice with a value of up to 550 Euros or a SAP Certification up to 600 Euros.

SAP Business Suite 7 overview

Then Matthias Göhler from the SAP Executive Board Office and responsible for Business Solutions & Technology gave us an overview of the SAP Business Suite 7. He pointed out three areas where SAP wants to provide a solution Process Excellence, Cost Reduction and Capturing Opportunities. Topics on cost reduction where: Enhancement Packs, “Best-Run Now” Packages, Solution Manager and Harmonized UI.

He showed a slide with embedded analytics where I asked me: Will that help to make better decisions? I think it will. I’ve already seen a working example based on custom development which provides block prices, best price given and best price for this material for the subsidiary for every line item in a price inquiry and quotation. At the end Matthias Göhler defined an Enterprise Service as a Service who knows the related business processes.

Unfortunately the presentation of Matthias Göhler was more of a Management overview. I think that for the audience of mainly functional consultants at customers or consulting companies a detailed look into the features provided by the latest Enhancement Packs would have been more beneficial.

SAP BusinessObjects solution portfolio

After a short break Waldemar Adams who is the EMEA Director of Business Development in the BI/IM area served us a presentation on SAP BusinessObjects portfolio. He started with an overview of the intelligence platform which should serve as one semantic layer for multiple output channels. He used the German term “Eierlegendewollmilchsau”. Then he showed us the different BusinessObjects products starting with Xcelsius and Crystal Reports. Xcelsius allows embedding also into PowerPoint without loosing functionality. It seems that we all see Crystal Reports results when we receive i.e. our Credit Card invoice. Just recently I’ve listened to the Chaosradio Express Podcast on TeXwhich can be an open source alternative for high volume output creation. There is a reference project with …

Waldemar Adams

In the demo of BusinessObjects Web Intelligence we saw self service reporting. The new BusinessObjects Explorer product was launched at SAP Sapphire in May. It start’s with a Google like search which allows a user to explore and analyze enterprise data. The searched term is highlighted also in the first display of the opened report.

The next product Pioneer seems to be the next generation OLAP client. It will replace the BEx Browser. Planned Release Date for Pioneer is 2010. Pioneer Live Office will support direct embedding of reporting into PowerPoint.

Now Waldemar Adams switched from data visualisation to Information Management. With the topics: Data Integration, Quality and Federation. The Metadata Manager / Data Integrator visualizes where information comes from. The Data Integrator will support OpenHub with its 07/2009 release. The Data Quality Service Hub seems to be SAP’s solution for data cleansing and duplicate identification. The presented solution for Text Analysis could be very useful to parse support E-Mails in a CRM system and lookup automatically knowledge base articles in preparation for the support agent.

SAP CRM 7.0: Beyond Simple and Powerful

Alexander Schroeter, Director of CRM Business Development EMEA starts his Presentation on SAP CRM 7.0 with a slide about the power of customers. Mentioning Twitter and it’s role of spreading the news on the Iran election. As I read in the newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau it’s actually Twitters limitation to SMS size messages which make it’s success in developing countries around the world.

In the demo Alexander Schroeter showed us that every search result in SAP CRM can be displayed as a diagram i.e. pie or bar-chart. By selecting a piece of the pie the search result get’s filtered by the selected items. CRM 7.0 allows using Trex to do a full text search in 46 CRM Objects. When a search is done across all that Objects the results can range from matching customers, activities, leads and opportunities.

Then I’ve learned a new 4-letter-acronym: CEBP which stands for Communication Enabled Business Processes. A result in the CRM solution is the availability of the communication toolbar for all CRM users allowing them to set a presence status. That presence can be shown in the partner list of business transaction. That can help getting in contact with the right person when a customer requests a solution.

Another new feature in SAP CRM 7.0 is IT Service Management. But what is the target market for this? Isn’t SAP Solution Manager providing a ITIL certified tools for this? Will SAP Solution Manager which is currently based on SAP CRM 5.0 be upgraded to CRM 7.0 to take advantage of this new development?

One year after its presentation at SAP Sapphire 2008 in Berlin the BlackBerry® Sales Client for SAP CRM is now general available. The solution is available on no extra licensing costs for all CRM customers. As I found in this presentation it needs the following infrastructure:

  • BlackBerry smartphones (Version      1.0 supports Bold and Curve 8900)
  • BlackBerry Enterprise Server      4.1.5 or higher with MDS Services
  • NetWeaver Mobile 7.1 SP06 or      higher with Mobile Gateway 1.0 SP01 or higher
  • SAP CRM 2007 SP04 or SAP CRM      7.0 SP02or higher

But according to this page in the service marketplace, the Mobile Gateway 1.0 is in Ramp-Up until November 6, 2009. So the BlackBerry® Sales Client for SAP CRM can only be installed when you take part in the Ramp-Up.

SAP CRM Web UI

Alexander Schroeter showed us the SAP CRM 7.0 Web UI. He shows the Business Partner details and creation of an ERP Order as a follow up document of a CRM Opportunity. The CRM Web UI is used for rendering all the data retrieved from ERP via the Lean Order API. This allows a seamless integration into CRM UI. But a jump to the CRM product catalogue to select a product looks totally different. The product catalogue can be used as an alternative to the classic F4 help. Unfortunately the SAP CRM 7.0 interface still isn’t flicker free when changing screens.

Till nowSAP CRM 2007 counts 1000 shipments and over 140 live implementations. 16 customers are live with SAP CRM 7.0. 14 of them during the Ramp-Up phase. The next development in the SAP CRM product will be Enhancement Pack 1 where the Ramp Up will start Q2/2010.

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