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Lessons learned from a SAP CRM 7.0 Best Practice implementation project

This blog is a follow up to one I recently wrote “How to accelerate the delivery and reduce cost and risk of SAP CRM 7.0 projects”. It is intended for somebody trying to understand in more detail the Business value of SAP Best practice content and tools. That could typically be a business process owner, an IT project manager or a SAP consultant.


Our customer had had their ECC backend and some SAP CRM Sales-based processes already running for 5 years.  Our project scope included the implementation of two best practice scenarios:  Interaction Centre Helpdesk and Service management. A number of changes to the standard scenarios as well as additional functionality were also implemented.


Overall the project was implemented in 3.5 months and within a budget normally not achievable for an equivalent functional scope through traditional implementation methods.


I have chosen to list my insights from the perspective of different roles within the project. I will never stress enough that implementing SAP Best Practice is first and foremost a decision taken by the business then implemented by IT.



The Business unit manager

His goal – Obtain business value through cost efficient rapid automation of non core competencies within the organisation and lower process implementation risk


  • Best practice scenarios are tried and tested scenarios by SAP. They are what I call “commodity” processes for non core competencies within the organisation. They represent the base layer processes within an organisation upon which one can build core competitive or core differentiating processes.
  • Best practice works best in the context of a green field SAP implementation which is not to say it can’t be used as well with existing customers as we have proven with this project.
  • The more the customer strays away from Best practice scenarios the more time you spend on adjusting all content provided by Best practice. That includes solution design, blueprint document and configuration guides. There is a tipping point beyond which the acceleration and cost benefits from implementing best practice is not valid anymore due to the exponential increase in project complexity.
  • CRM Best practice with ECC integration assumes you have used ECC Best practice. As a result, implementing best practice scenarios with many backend integration points can seriously threaten the original promise of Best practice if you are in a typical situation whereby you are installing these scenarios on top of existing non Best practice ECC processes.
  • Installing the standard Best practice scenario during the Mini Blueprint phase allows the customer to quickly visualise the solution during the Blueprint exercise which in turns reduces the risk of missed expectations later during the testing phase.



The IT Project manager

His goal – Deliver business value through a quality project within budget and time, and handover the solution to support


  • The Build phase was accelerated by loading configuration and demo master data using semi automated tools, business configuration sets and eCATT scripts.
  • The Best practice configuration guides (see example) provided around 60-70% of our final deliverable which in turn reduced implementation costs.
  • Business Process Procedure documents (See BPP example) represented very good accelerators and were used for delivering the mini-blueprint document, training documentation and Integrated test scripts.
  • Time was saved as well for knowledge transfer to super users. Standard scenarios were quickly built in order to provide them with early visibility as well as to foster self-sufficiency.
  • Installation effort estimates provided by SAP are fairly accurate for the Build phase of Best practice scenario.
  • The semi-automated Solution Builder tool only saves time compared with manual implementation if a minimum number of scenarios are implemented. Otherwise the number of manual tasks is just too high to justify the initial time investment in setting up the tool.
  • Best practice CRM scenarios with multiple integration points with ECC expect the relevant Best practice master data to be present in the ECC backend (organisation, customers, products, equipments…). As a result when implementing CRM Best practice on top of an unknown ECC system, one should plan time to understand master data like in a traditional SAP project.


The SAP Consultant

His goal – Help customer realise business value through the delivery of a quality solution within time and budget. Provide value-adding knowledge based on past project experiences.


  • The Solution Builder tool provides the implementation consultant with a full chronological list of configuration and data load tasks per scenario. The tool ensures that the right order is followed as the scenario configuration cannot be completed otherwise (unless this control is manually overridden).
  • The Solution Builder tool provides direct links to configuration transactions for manual configuration tasks. This means acceleration as well as the ability to utilise a less skilled consultant.
  • The Best practice load for master data using eCATT is not compatible with a 2 client strategy with separate configuration and data clients. The Solution Builder tool loads all configuration and demo data in the same client. As a result when in a 2 client situation, you find yourselves having to recreate the demo master data manually which can be time consuming when considering all integration points.


I hope these few insights will be useful to your own projects.

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