The Future of SAP Consulting in Hybrid (OnDemand / OnPremise) Environments
- Integration into all three CRM areas: Sales, Marketing and Services
- Multiple StreamWork activities can be created from many objects in SAP CRM, like accounts, opportunities and campaigns
- Key StreamWork functions are available directly in SAP CRM. Create and edit everything directly in the native CRM WebClient UI
- SAP StreamWork News Feed integrated both on SAP CRM homepage and object-specific in detail views
- Installation of SAP StreamWork Enterprise Agent and Add-ons for SAP CRM
- User training guide
Note: I’m especially pleased to see the StreamWork feed being integrated into CRM and would be curious to see how the filtering works in the “object-specific [feeds] in detail views” inasmuch as this shows social content presented in a process context.
A SAP press release in May announced a similar integration:
SAP StreamWork, enterprise edition, now offers integration with several SAP applications, including the SAP® Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) application for social CRM, enabling sales leaders to bring teams together — sales, customer service, consultants and more — to help close sales opportunities more quickly. Sales teams can also collaborate directly with their customers to help ensure the products and services are delivered when expected and to help address the requirements defined.
At the time, there were some details about how such “links” would be supported.
StreamWork customers would buy the application links “as either pre-packaged solutions from SAP (or consultants) or as small consulting engagements from SAP or consultants,” according to a spokesman.
I’m unsure if the integration mentioned in the PR announcement is the same as that provided by SAP Consulting – which might be restricted to RDS-based solutions – but I found the SAP Consulting offering interesting for various reasons.
Out-of-the-Box StreamWork Integration in BusinessSuite?
Most SAP applications require some degree of customization and the integration with StreamWork would in all likelihood also require customization. If, however, a special heavy-duty SAP Consulting effort is necessary to get the integration working, the penetration level of StreamWork in SAP OnPremise customers won’t be as high as might be expected.
Note: I was also surprised to see that SAP Enterprise Agent is a prerequisite for the SAP Consulting solution. This requirement means additional costs for customers – but also more security. I’d be interested to know if future BusinessSuite integrations have the same requirement or whether it might possible to use the Professional version of StreamWork.
StreamWork maturity level
SAP Consulting efforts in different OnDemand platforms
The potential of hybrid environments
The particulars of the SAP Consulting offer also reveal the area in which such consulting efforts will be the most lucrative in the future – the integration of existing OnPremise installations into OnDemand platforms. The importance of such hybrid environments was also acknowledged by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff at the recent DreamForce conference.
The very nature of SaaS environments (for example, multi-tenancy) means that standardization is critical and huge customization/implementation projects in these environments aren’t to be expected. By focusing on the OnPremise customization necessary in hybrid environments, consulting companies can open new growth areas – albeit without the expectation of the large (in terms of the involved efforts) implementation projects with which they were accustomed. The skills necessary for such projects are more associated with integration rather than intensive back-end customization. Also the difficulties experienced in integrating standardized SaaS solutions and highly customized OnPremise environments isn’t to be underestimated and should also provide new opportunities for consulting efforts. The teams necessary to deal with such projects require experts who understand the involved SaaS solutions as well as consultants who are familiar with the customer-specific characteristics of the OnPremise environments.