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A Small Window, a Big Goal, and the CRM overhaul: How GC America rapidly deployed SAP CRM

This is great story about a company with a small window of opportunity and a big goal to deploy their CRM system in a single business quarter. Yes, three months, GC America with the help of SAP Partner, Knack Systems, overhauled the way GC America does CRM in weeks.

Let me set this story up for you. SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions simplify the implementation of SAP solutions in the cloud, on-premise or in hybrid landscapes: faster, with less cost and predictable business outcomes. There is an SAP CRM rapid-deployment solution for on-premise and in the SAP Cloud powered by SAP HANA. These packages include best practices-based implementation content and proven risk-reducing implementation methodologies. This accelerates the deployment of new solutions with key technology and business capabilities to help companies solve business problems and go-live fast.

Going live fast with the right solution was critical to GC America. They sent representatives to CRM Insider where they heard about SAP CRM rapid-deployment solutions, which could be deployed in weeks. No waiting and No disruption to the business and set the stage for future growth.

GC America made their decisions, quickly. With Knack Systems selected as the SAP Partner for the deployment, GC America’s SAP CRM implementation was performed exactly as promised in a small window of opportunity. From discovering a solution in June, and going live in September, the Knack Systems team helped GC America realize the RDS quick-time-to-value proposition.

When I spoke to Mark Kilbourn of GC America after the deployment, their success story was inspiring. He spoke about their journey to get the CRM system up and running. They went through several phases:

  • Finding the relative CRM solutions
  • Comparing CRM solution value propositions
  • Making the decision
  • Deploying the CRM solution
  • Measuring the deployment results

Initially, GC America was in the same boat as many to find the right CRM solution for their business.They evaluated many systems, weighed how their organization viewed the pros and cons. While several seemed attractive, nothing seemed to come close to their requirements in three important areas: Technical, Timing, Financial .

Seema Thomas, Senior Director, SAP CRM rapid deployment solutions


Mark described those early days as being constantly presented with static solutions like full enterprise installation. GC America wanted innovation. The organization had new business requirements especially around  ease of use and mobility, something their  existing systems could not meet.  So they needed to think outside the box and look for better choices.

Comparing CRM Solution Value Propositions

GC America team gathered tremendous information about various solutions and options, and found SAP’s CRM RDS met the important criteria that the other offerings lacked. Mark tells it that, as they explored CRM possibilities, the topics of mobile, on-premise and on-premise RDS their CRM vision became clear. Their focus sharpened on the value of SAP’s on-premise CRM RDS as the land-and-expand option that could provide them with a solution that is far more strong, complete and rich for near-term and down the road—a CRM system that could meet today’s needs and position them for future growth.

All tick marks were checked.  This option was logical, cost effective in terms of both time and money, and (important to many organizations) will work with ECC.

Mark says that it took them a month to finalize the decision.  Starting the process in May with CRM Insider event, they went live on September 1st same year with Knack Systems.

Deploying the CRM Solution like a Race Team

It started from the first meeting where Knack presented the detailed, methodical approach to implementing RDS’s. Mark indicated this was very well received  and distinctly marked the place where their partnership began. GC America credits the fact that they worked like one team with Knack Systems. Even though the team was located in multiple locations, with language/ cultural challenges at times, the team worked together to overcome that. They had virtual pizza parties, for example. When pizza was delivered in Chicago office, pizza was delivered in Mumbai office too. One of the advantages of the global time clock helped dramatically with the success. The off-shore team was nearly a work-day ahead of the GC America team. They worked different hours which interestingly produced maximum overlap time.

It was not all cake walk, there were challenges too. During the deployment, one of the toughest moments was when the team realized that that GC America’s ECC system landscape (Dev, QA and Prod) was not ready to integrate with the newer SAP CRM RDS release.  The team showed professional dedication to one another and worked with the ECC basis team to upgrade the ECC landscape in time for go-live.  The CoE at Knack Systems had a parallel set up where they identified issues and minimized the surprises to keep the project moving. It was definitely a race.

Measuring the Deployment Results

To use Mark’s terms, the GC America team refers to the SAP CRM RDS deployment as “Zero to CRM in 15 weeks”.

Partner satisfaction was another outcome of this important deployment. Discussing the GC America team, they mentioned that they found a true partner in Knack Systems.

The RDS implement resulted in 1: 1.1 license to services investment as opposed to 1:2 or 1:3 that is the norm for competitors’ on-premise implementations.

This story it is about a business trying to be competitive, a tight time line, team working hard to crack into the best innovations with a deadline ticking away. They find the important piece of the puzzle (the CRM System that fits), and getting it to run before the days of the calendar fly by.

You can hear more about their cloud versus on-premise decision-making processes, their CRM RDS deployment, and their full story at ASUG, 2014 in Orlando, Florida. SAP is pleased that GC America is scheduled to present their exciting SAP CRM RDS success story on June 5, 2014.

Here’s more info about the SAP CRM Rapid-Deployment Solutions portfolio, in case you wanted more:

RDS@Service Marketplace:

RDS Business Center:


SAP CRM in public web:

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Although it sounds exciting you got to be cautious about statements like

      >>When Pizza was delivered in Chicago office, pizza was delivered in Mumbai office too

      This scares me being originally from India, as it also means that people are working crazy hours. Hope go-live was all healthy in terms of resource health.

      Author's profile photo Joe Mead
      Joe Mead

      Nice recap Seema!  SAP CRM RDS deployment as “Zero to CRM in 15 weeks” - very impressive.

      Author's profile photo Mohamed Wahbi
      Mohamed Wahbi

      very impressive , well structured  thanks Seema.