Hello Everyone!!

With the commitment of sharing my experiences to the community on SAP Cloud for Customer Projects, I am publishing the second blog in continuation to the first one I published in the past.The link is for anyone who would like to re-read or for the ones who have not read it yet:

http://scn.sap.com/community/cloud-for-customer/blog/2014/09/16/experiences-from-real-time-cloud-for-customer-implementation

Hope this blog comes handy in some way or the other for SAP cloud for Customer partners, customers, consultants, architects or anyone who is interested in the solution!!

Most of us know by now that SAP Cloud for Customer is a lean CRM On Cloud solution & I did mention in my previous blog briefly, how does it leverage the CRM OnPremise or ERP OnPremise functionality in the Cloud, my emphasis to all the several Customers I worked with has been: “This solution is not about completely ripping off your SAP CRM or SAP ERP OnPremise to start using a Cloud based solution”.

Its more about understanding what this solution offers which can make your Business & the overall Sales/Marketing/Service processes cloud based, more agile, more scalable, more mobile & more future technology oriented aka Cloud!

I would like to focus in this blog on what are the key critical aspects for a successful Cloud for Customer Project, my views of course are based on all the experience I have gained during several implementation of Cloud for Customer Solution.

Having worked on so many Cloud for Customer projects by now, I have come to the conclusion that one of the very first & the most important aspect of giving a C4C project a positive start for long term success is laying a very strong foundation with the Customer’s Business. This essentially means buying full confidence of the Customer before we begin building this solution. This I know, many of you will think is anyway one of the critical aspects of every other kind of project too, however, I am specifically mentioning this here for a good tested reason!

Customers see various demos, they attend several conferences & summits where they get to see how the C4C solution works & how it can help their business grow faster, not to mention at a high level, however, the catch here is when it comes to the actual implementation, we need to be very specifically ensure that Customer’s expectations around what they have been shown & what we are going to build should be in complete conjunction with what is the best fit for their Business & expectations.

How is it accomplished, I’m sure is the question in your minds! Well, getting down to a deeper level, I would say the strongest foundation for the most successful Cloud for Customer project is laid in the very few initial days or weeks of a C4C Projects.That’s called the PREPARE phase of a C4C implementation project.

Let me first give a very quick overview for all the readers what does a PREPARE phase mean (in case anyone of you is not aware). In simple language, its about learning Customer’s Business process which requires our ears to do much more work than our mouth! :):).

This is basically about listening to your Customer needs, their pain points, their existing processes , what’s working for them & what is something they want to completely get rid off.Again, the differentiation between a very successful & average successful project is “What will excite the Customer & motivate their team to instantly start using the power of this solution‘, this of course is something which would need a very sound skill set around Customer expectation management, which has to be used at its very best during the PREPARE phase!

Implementing a solution, be it C4C or any other for that matter is one thing, but building a strong foundation for a successful build & deploy, a great LIVE solution, is something which requires completely different skills. well I call that “Business Process Architect” rather than a Solution Architect which is otherwise used conventionally.

Understanding the complete end to end Customer’s business process, comprehending it the way Customer is expecting to be comprehended & putting it through a great design documentation & then getting a Customer’s go-ahead on the same is prudent for a successful C4C project.

The challenges that a person gets to enjoy & play with in the role of a Business Process Architect are adrenaline! Yes I mean it.

You get to know things which you least expected, which gives you an excellent opportunity to use your comprehension, patience, Assertiveness & Self-convincing skills. It is indeed challenging! this becomes more complex when you have to make the Customer unlearn some part of the OnPremise or any existing solution & make them learn the fantastic features of SAP C4C solution. I can bet, this is the most interesting phase of a C4C project as you envison, comprehend, design & present the best of breed solution capability that you want to offer to the Customer…

What many people loose focus on is building a strong foundation & focus into the mad rush of building & delivering a quick but great solution, which, obviously would not happen if the foundation has not been laid strong, since stronger the foundation of a project, the stronger, more agile, more scalable & flexible the build, deploy and the ultimate solution becomes, most importantly, more usable by Customers!

I would take a break here for now till I gather more thoughts & perspective around much more experiences that I would like to share with you all in my next blog…but, the conclusion of this blog for me is to have everyone a strong awareness of kick starting a C4C project by laying down a very strong foundation, which happens by taking Customer into 100% confidence.If this is done the right way, I can assure there is no stopping for a highly successful C4C project!!

Thanks for reading the blog, all feedback/suggestions/comments are most welcome!!

Best Regards!

Ankur

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4 Comments

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  1. Stephen Johannes

    Shouldn’t we be doing this for all projects and not just because of a certain product?

    I’m also concerned towards your statement:

    make them learn the fantastic features of SAP C4C solution

    If you have to force anyone to use something, your adoption rate is going to be low.  You have to “sell” a solution to sales.  Have you considered instead looking at implementing the challenger selling concepts into how you adopt the solution in your client base?

    Honestly I’m little suprised with how IT centric/consultant/vendor centric you are describing this projects.  CRM regardless of platform is a business solution first.  IT/vendors/consultants should not be running any CRM project that wants to succeed.  The role of the technical side is to be a trusted advisor.  I don’t see this in your approach.

    Take care,

    Stephen

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    1. Ankur Godre Post author

      Hi Stephen,

      My focus and objective of this blog is indeed for Consultants/Vendors on what skill set they need “Business Process architect”, though not limited to them, since I do mentioned in the blog about taking Customer into confidence & understanding customers needs & pain points etc..

      Also, you probably misunderstood my statements, like “Make them learn”, my intention is not to say we have to enforce anything (You really cannot enforce anything to a Customer, you basically have to convince them in a positive way on the benefits offered by any solution), otherwise the Project is not going to be a good success since adoption will not be reflected.

      I hope you have read these statements in my blog:

      Understanding the complete end to end Customer’s business process, comprehending it the way Customer is expecting to be comprehended & putting it through a great design documentation & then getting a Customer’s go-ahead on the same is prudent for a successful C4C project.

      and

      This is basically about listening to your Customer needs, their pain points, their existing processes , what’s working for them & what is something they want to completely get rid off.Again, the differentiation between a very successful & average successful project is “What will excite the Customer & motivate their team to instantly start using the power of this solution

      The statements above mention that what is needed for a successful Project & which would benefit the Customer & their business.Which are definitely not the only things needed for a successful project, there are several more, but my blog focus at least this one, has been on what I mentioned in my blog.

      I hope this clarifies any misunderstanding you got from the blog.

      Thanks for your feedback!!

      BR

      Ankur

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      1. Stephen Johannes

        Well that makes sense given your audience, but being on the customer side this is not the type of engagement I would want, and what I would have expected in more traditional project approach.

        The problem is you mention measuring the success by the usage of the tool, instead of talking to your audience that real success is measured by enabling your business partners to achieve their goals.  I guess however to be fair if you focus on what will excite people to use a solution then that might be the same thing.

        In that statement you had in bold of the design documentation, are you talking about a final delivery or more iterative design with refinements.  I ask this, because the design needs normally to iterate throughout the project instead of being pure blueprint as in traditional waterfall.  I’m not suggesting full agile, but I don’t believe when dealing with Sales related projects we can produce “the design” and expect that to stay able across an entire project.

        Take care,

        Stephen

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        1. Ankur Godre Post author

          Hello Stephen,

          Thanks for diving into this & acting as a positive critic, helps a lot!

          You make a very important point about design document being an iterative process, & yes in real time that’s the way it is since its all about concluding a very refined & precise document ultimately, which certainly cannot be a one time activity.

          Although, I believe in applying waterfall & agile as a mix depending on what approach works best for a Business/Customer needs, however, Agile still takes precedence in today’s Business & IT scenarios.

          I would certainly keep a note of your positive feedback in my next blog as I’m completely aware of one of the key objectives of a project, C4C in this case is to have a seamless & smooth enabling done for the Customer, which is an important ingredient as input for a high adoption rate, which I’m sure you would agree too is a reflection of the Project success rate!

          Many Thanks!

          BR

          Ankur

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