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Recently, I had an opportunity to implement SAP CRM 7.0 ELM and thought to share a weblog, which talks about the areas where a Technical Consultant can explore and work towards meeting the customer requirements.

 

 Let’s first have a brief introduction of what exactly the External List Management is and What are its usages.

 

 External List Management (ELM) involves creating & maintaining lists (data files) in SAP CRM by acquiring specific data from the Marketing team or any other source. This data is then used by the SAP CRM system to create Business Partners and also transactions such as Leads and Activities.

 

 The ELM process involves:

  •   Procuring the list (data file)
  •   Loading this list (data file) to the CRM system
  •   Mapping this list (data file) to the standard SAP fields
  •   Creating master data (business partners) and/or transactional data(leads/activities)

 

The main idea behind this weblog is to share my learning and experience and not to explain the detailed functionality of ELM. Before using the ELM functionality there are certain settings or configurations that needs to be done. These settings or configurations are mainly done by the Functional Consultant.

Please refer my wiki here and share your views.

Suggestions are welcome!

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20 Comments

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  1. Steven Smith

    Hello Ajaya,

     

    Was reading your article and I have a question for you on ELM. My use case is that I have a web form on our site which allows people to request samples of our products. Here is a link to that web site: http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Graphics/3Mgraphics/ToolsAndSupport/RequestSamples/

    My goal is to get those people who order samples into SAP CRM as a potential Business Partner. But, I would consider them only low probability Prospects initially until I give them a phone call to confirm the sample request is from a legitimate entity. Is ELM a good tool to take all those requests and get them into SAP for further processing?

    The key idea is that I may (or may not) have the Business Partner record in my system. The fields like Company Name, First Name, Last Name, Address, Phone number, Products interested in, etc. would all be uploaded into ELM via a flat file coming out of the Web Form (Excel, CSV, or otherwise). While in ELM, I would call the Phone number and if it is a valid entity, then I would create a Business Partner record in CRM and assign it to that ELM item (or associate it to an existing one if already there). Then when the entire list is validated, my goal would be to create “Leads” to follow-up on doing Follow-up Activities like sending an email confirmation, sending the sample itself, and then an Alert of some kind that would notify me to call them back in 30 days to see how the sample worked for them.

    Does this sound like a logical use of ELM? And, is there some documentation somewhere that would tell me how to do it within SAP CRM. I like demonstration videos if you know of any.

    Thanks,

    Steve

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    1. Ajaya Kumar Post author

      Hi Steven,

      Your business case sounds interesting.

      But before that I would like to understand your point:

      “While in ELM, I would call the Phone number and if it is a valid entity, then I would create a Business Partner record in CRM and assign it to that ELM item (or associate it to an existing one if already there). Then when the entire list is validated.”

      My understanding here is, first, the flat file, generated from the web form, needs to be processed separately for valid entities (which is supposed to be validated after making phone calls to them) and second, this validated file would pass to ELM for processing i.e. creating BP’s, Leads and follow-up Activities.

      Alerts can configured separately, not as part of ELM processing, to remind you after 30 days to do follow-ups.

      -Ajay

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      1. Steven Smith

        Hi Ajaya,

        I was thinking about passing the file to ELM first – and then doing the phone call to validate them creating new Business Partners or assigning existing Business Partners while in ELM.  If it is an invalid entity, I would just like to mark that record in ELM to not be processed further into SAP with a Lead or follow-up Acitivities. Can ELM be my tool to do that?

        Thanks,

        Steve

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        1. Ajaya Kumar Post author

          Hi Steven,

          It is not possible to change the contents of the file after passing it to ELM that means if you want to change some contents in the file based on the validation via phone call, you need to do it before passing the file to ELM, Where as if there are some issues with the contents of file and BP or Transaction could not be created, in that case, ELM offers an option to correct the data directly on web UI and after correcting the error record it can be processed successfully.

          Regards,

          Ajay

          kumar.ajaya1982@gmail.com

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          1. Steven Smith

            Thank you so much for your replies.  It has been very helpful.  I’ll be working through this next week and hope to get ELM working for me.  Have a good weekend!

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    2. SKL Shanka

      Hello Steven

      I am basically a SAP MM consultant working in Europe.  Currently I am moving to other one position whihc involves ELM configuration.  Can you please tell me how MM is integrated with ELM and what are the configurations involved.

      Thanks

      SKL

      (0) 
  2. Steven Smith

    Hi Ajay,

    I have another Question about ELM and the ability to match it with Questionaire’s. The option I am planning on using is the “Addresses and Leads”. Once I have validated a Business Partner my goal is to create a Lead and work that Lead through the CRM process.  Will the Questionaire on the ELM mapping put the responses as an associated item to the Lead itself?  Also, can the Questionaire accept free format text fields so that I can put Comments that are made?

    Thanks,

    Steve

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    1. Ajaya Kumar Post author

      Hi Steven,

      Yes Steven, It is possible to create Leads with Questionnaire responses by using Category = Addresses and Leads and Filter Criteria = Questionnaire, system would create the leads and also would attach Questionnaire response to leads which you can access in Questionnaire assignment block.

      Although I have not used it, but I guess, yes, you can put the some comments along with your answers to Questionnaire as I can see in the back-end these fields of type string with no limitation of characters.

      I hope your doubt is clarified. let me know if you need some more inputs.

      Regards,

      Ajay

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  3. Eric Yang

    Hi Ajaya:

    thanks.

    what are the minimum fields required to create an org , its contact person and the lead?

    I am clarifying the required fields from business to realize a process to create the org, contact and lead.

    cheers

    Eric

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    1. Ajaya Kumar Post author

      Hi Eric,

      Minimum number of required fields depend on you business scenario, you can refer the mandatory fields and other required fields by creating these objects from web ui.

      If we talk about standard application with no enhancement and extension in the ELM functionality then minimum number of required fields would some thing similar to :

        

        

        

        

        

      1 Name 1 ORG_NAME1
      2 ISO code ORG_COUNTRYISO
      3 Last Name PERS_LASTNAME
      4 Transaction Type PROCESS_TYPE
      5 Transaction Descr. DESCRIPTION
      6 Campaign element CAMPAIGN_ELEMENT

      with

      Category

      Addresses and Leads

      Please note BPs created with standard functionality would be Business Partner (Gen.) BP Role and if you want to create them in a specific role then you would need to enhance the ELM functionality accordingly.

      Also, you may need to check if there is any BADI implemented for BP creation OR Transaction creation for some additional checks and calls before the object is created, for example ORDER_SAVE BADI, if this is the case then again you would need to enhance the ELM implementation.

      Let me know if you are facing any specific issue, will try to clarify.

      Regards,

      Ajay

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      1. Eric Yang

        Hi Ajaya:

        thanks a lot for quick reply, I would make some tests based on your comment.

        my scenario is ” 1, compare if the customer exists in the system, if no, create one and its corresponding contact person (including relationship) 2, create lead for the customer”

        if the system would pass the created customer number to the step of lead creation? in that case, how could I map it in the mapping format?

        thanks and regards

        Eric

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        1. Ajaya Kumar Post author

          Hi Eric,

          As per your scenario for checking duplicate BP, you can use some third party address validation software like Trillium which can be used to check duplicate BP. Trillium can be implemented as a Add-on to SAP CRM system.

          To create a lead after successful creation of Customer (Account), you can use the same mapping format which I described in my last reply, with some more fields from Business Transaction (Leads) and BP. After creating the mapping format of

          Category = Addresses and Leads

          you need to check the checkbox against Create Business Transaction in External List creation screen, It will create the Leads for successfully created BPs as long as minimum information is passed from the input file.

          Cheers,

          Ajay

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          1. Eric Yang

            Hi Ajaya,

            my process works fine now. thanks

            I met a strange system behavior, I had a enhancement for stucture CRMT_MKTLIST_LEA with a string type.  in the mapping step, it always give me a error ‘ the input has exceed the field length’, even I only put 1 characher. so I set the length of the data type to 1000. and then it looks fine, in the method Create_lead, this field is always empty even I could see it successfully during mapping phase.

            do you know if we have any length limitation when we extend the structure? (current I am using CHAR255. it works fine)

            cheers

            Eric

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            1. Ajaya Kumar Post author

              Hi Eric,

              As per the Enhance category of structure CRMT_MKTLIST_LEA_EXT, it can be enhanced only character type or numeric and the limit for character is 255. So this is the limit for enhancing the structure. If you have enhanced CRMT_MKTLIST_LEA_EXT with char255 and if you pass more than 255 chars in the data file then also it would give error in mapping stage. But by adding a mapping rule to this attribute, in the mapping format, you can write small peace of ABAP code and pass only first 255 characters of the supplied characters in the data file.

              Hope this would help you!

              Regards,

              Ajay

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              1. Eric Yang

                Hi Ajaya,

                thanks! I am using char255, it looks OK now.

                another thing is about duplication check.  business wants to use company and Business Id number to identify the duplication.

                I reckon the code could be put in method IF_EX_CRM_MKTLIST_BADI~DUPLICATE_CHECK. but how should I fill the export parameters? if the duplication is identified, if the found BP number would be put into the stage buffer, and are used to create the lead later?

                cheers

                Eric

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  4. SKL Shanka

    Hello Ajaya

    I am basically a SAP MM consultant working in Europe.  Currently I am moving to other one position whihc involves ELM configuration.  Can you please tell me how MM is integrated with ELM and what are the configurations involved.

    Thanks

    SKL

    (0) 
  5. Steven Smith

    Hi Ajaya,

    I have another question for you around this process.  The issue is that I am getting bad Master Data with Accounts getting duplicated for small changes in the Address, or how they spell their name (Street vs St. for example).  So, I am thinking about changing the process and have ELM create all my Leads under a “Process Account” (call the Account “Web Sample Requests” or “Marketing Leads” or something). These Leads would then have to be looked at from an Inside Sales person who would do some account lookup and re-assign the Lead if an Account is found. This would also be a good opportunity to sift out the bad stuff like “Steve Smith’s Garage” and simply reject the lead and be done. If an Account needs to be created, then the Inside Sales person could create it based on the transaction attributes. Is it possible to use some type of “Copy Control” to allow the Account and Contacts to be created quickly based on the Transactional information of the Lead?  And, can the Lead transaction have different attributes like Address, City, State, Phone, eMail, Zip, Etc. from the “Process Account” it is assigned to via ELM.  This would enable us to have multiple Leads come in as is and be assigned to that Account without affecting Master data.

    Thanks,

    Steve

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    1. Ajaya Kumar Post author

      Hi Steve,

      I would suggest you to use ‘Marketing Prospect’ in this case, which has more leaner structure as copare to BP and can be deleted if not of any use.

      Regards,

      Ajay

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  6. REKHA D R

    Hello Ajay,

    I have an issue while updating a BP using the ELM .

    I have first created the BP using a Mapping format M1 – it has

    org Id

    person ID

    ISO code.

    pager no.

    Extension

    Telephone

    Now to update that BP I am using a differnt mapping format M2

    with fileds

    org Id

    person ID

    ISO code.

    pager no.

    I am not including the fields extension and telephone here in the updating mapping format. I am getting BP update error saying the telephone no. doesnt exist .

    My Question is , do I have to use the same mapping format for creating and updating ?

    Regards,

    Rekha

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    1. Ajaya Kumar Post author

      Hi Rekha,

      Same mapping format can be used for creating and updating the business partner.

      Please check the custom enhancement done for telephone and extension, as the error seems to be related to some custom (Z) validation.

      Regards,

      Ajay

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