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Taking Customer-Centricity to the Cloud: A Client’s Journey

Welcome to the age of the customer. In our highly social, 24×7 world, our customers
know more – but more important, they expect more. It is clearer than ever before that the customer experience a company delivers can make all the
difference. Moreover, executives in all industries are taking notice.

The easy part is realizing that your business operations need to be more customer-centric. However, the
real work starts when you know how to get there and whom you can trust to get
you where you want to go.

This was the experience of one of my clients. The leadership of this international textile-chemical
provider wanted to improve its customer-service levels and reconcile its sales,
marketing, manufacturing, and logistics processes in a single, integrated
software environment. Knowing that the customer experience is a critical part
of its success and growth, the business did not have the luxury of time and getting
it wrong.

My team of consultants and I were asked to carry out an
implementation that supported our client’s vision. We worked together to
understand its business requirements; map them to our solutions; and design the
ideal customer relationship management
(CRM) system setup, road map, and implementation plan.

Designing a blueprint for customer centricity

When we first met the leadership team, we could instantly see that the stakeholders had
a clear vision of what they wanted. The trick was understanding the best way to
get there. To help select a solution that would be flexible and scalable enough
to keep up with future business needs, we helped the stakeholders identify core
CRM processes and integration scenarios early on.

With the SAP Cloud for Customer solution, my team and I were able to outline in detail all activities
related to the end customer. This information was then made available to our
client’s marketing, sales, and service representatives in real time so they can
instantly optimize every customer interaction.

To help ensure our chosen cloud-based solution aligned well with the business’ customer-related
processes, we invested a good amount of effort in conducting business scenario
workshops. During these workshops, we successfully established:

  • A road map detailing customer-related processes that were relevant for future system
    configuration and fine-tuning
  • A common understanding of change-management elements and how they can be
    addressed by integrating CRM best practices into business processes
  • Plans for linking business scenarios with SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC)

Weaving data and self-service to deliver better customer experiences

Not unlike many businesses, our client’s customer data was scattered across a variety of
software systems, divisions, and lines of business. To support exceptional
customer experiences, companies should make all customer data consistent and
accurate, as well as available for whomever needs it. In this case, we decided
to synchronize all customer, contact, and material master data in both SAP ECC
and SAP Cloud for Customer by making use of standard integration scenarios.

Although it wanted to create a top-notch system that drives customer-centric operations, our
client also wanted to limit the amount of IT administration needed during
implementation and maintenance. We introduced the test system during the
planning phase, providing the opportunity to configure and optimize system and
processes integration early in the implementation phase. As a result, the risk
of extending the test phase was greatly minimized. In addition, we enabled a
full set of data-exchange monitoring tools through SAP Cloud for Customer.

Bringing a customer-centered culture to life through technology, process, and people

To execute a fast and cost-effective implementation, we advised the client to use a phased
approach. First, we covered 80% of all identified business processes with 60
business users in two global locations using the system. Three months after anchoring
the newly implemented solution, we started the second phase by rolling out system
optimization and indoctrinating 80 additional business users from other

Don’t get me wrong – our part in the engagement was not just about setting up the
software system. We played a significant role in enabling our client’s
workforce and third-party providers to collaborate and work together to deliver
the experience its customers want and expect. By following SAP Launch
methodology for cloud implementations, we guided key business users through all
implementation-relevant activities and enabled them to use the cloud solutions
in a self-service mode. The tool kits, available as part of SAP Launch, were
very helpful in getting the system deployed and users up to speed quickly.

Once the system setup and training were completed and business users took the system for
a test-drive, it was confirmed – we had achieved our mission. For example,
integrating SAP ECC with SAP Cloud for Customer enabled our client to minimize
the effort required for data management and gain greater visibility into their
entire lead-to-revenue process. But I must admit, the biggest highlight was
when I learned the sales reps were delighted that they can securely access
up-to-date account information that is easy to understand wherever and whenever
they needed it – keeping them focused on their customers and accelerating the
sales cycle.

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