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Go beyond CRM – what possibilities are hidden in SAP S/4HANA

Process modeling Nagarro ES

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Get more out of your SAP S/4HANA system and close your process gaps with the CRM and Service functions.

Some of the common buzzwords heard when undertaking an SAP S/4HANA conversion are “embrace the digital future”, “throw off the dead weight of the past” or “simplify and standardize processes”. There is no way around the new software generation and the initial complaints have given way to planning and implementation. Nonetheless, as the Lünendonk Study* on the SAP S/4HANA transformation shows, many CIOs have difficulty justifying the investment in the conversion and in showing positive ROI. It is all the more important to benefit from the unavoidable step and to create added value for the company and the users. Entering a new age. Not least among the effects of the pandemic is that it has shown managers where they really stand on the road to the intelligent company. New business models have had to be developed out of thin air and implemented with IT technology. Online functions in particular have been high in demand and will continue to be. But Customer Experience is more than just a webshop, which is why it’s important to look closely at the CRM functions of the SAP S/4HANA inside.

New ways of thinking is the motto

Streamlining processes, leaving old ways behind, utilizing new functions, keeping up with the standard – these are some of the common themes in SAP S/4HANA implementation. Not really new, but not wrong either. What is new are business models, functions, user interfaces, automation potentials, artificial intelligence, mobility, collaboration, etc.

However, it is necessary therefore verify during the conceptual – i.e. creative – stage of the SAP S/4HANA migration that there are still many projects that still fall within the old boundaries. Place the focus on the traditional ERP scope. Expanding the scope opens your perspective to new and more optimal processes. For the act of rethinking and asking questions, it is advisable to bring in external parties for advice and facilitation. In this way, process ideas can be created, verified and decided on

CRM functions have made inroads into SAP S/4HANA almost unnoticed. They offer the opportunity to close process gaps between the SD processes and the preceding steps in sales. Testing the needed functional scope for suitability, whether comprehensive or combined with a customer experience component, is definitely recommended. Process steps that are distributed among different systems or steps that have yet to be (sufficiently) supported can be migrated into one system. The potentials are obvious, e.g.: greater transparency of the customer data and interactions, no switching between systems, eliminating interfaces, fewer expenses for system support and maintenance.

Sales Force Support – CRM docks with the ERP

New in SAP S/4HANA is the cluster “Sales Force Support” in the Sales area. The functions for the sales phase are found here. Customer management allows for mapping of the relationship network of customers and contact persons and expands the view of the business partner beyond order processing aspects. With activities such as calls, visits or emails, the customer contact points are documented and managed with the goal of orchestrating interaction between office-based an field-service personnel. The Nagarro Add-on maiConnect for S/4 closes the gap with Microsoft Outlook: deadlines, tasks and contact persons are synchronized and are thus available for the field service on their mobile devices.

Lead and opportunity, the life blood of pipeline management, form the heart of the Sales Force Support. As you would expect, it is here that you find lead qualification and development, the sales cycle and methods for targeted processing of opportunities.

With the Interaction Center, contact and activity management is integrated with order management for cross-channel interaction with the customer in one interface. Classic CRM functions are seamlessly connected to sales and service processing.

A new set-up in service

For users of Customer Service (CS) in the ERP it is clear that their previous solution is only a temporary solution to get them through until some coexistence or extension can be worked out on the SAP side. SAP is currently reconfiguring the service. This will impact the S/4 world. It will be based on the service functions from the SAP CRM, which have now been expanded and the logistics and controlling have been closely linked. Because in this area the requirements of, say, a retailer will vary significantly from those of an equipment manufacturer, the SAP Service Cloud and SAP Field Service Management also possible for process mapping. Depending on the business model of the company, this will result in a different solution architecture.

Tailor made for SAP CRM users?

You will recall that the CRM functions in SAP S/4HANA are based on the SAP CRM, so you might think it would make sense to stick it all in SAP S/4HANA and turn off the CRM machine. But in reality, things are a little different.

There has been some discussion behind the scenes in the community of SAP CRM customers about what will become of its application. The SAP toolbox includes multiple competing software solutions which can be simultaneously combined. Which complicates things. The transfer of source code from the SAP CRM to SAP S/4HANA makes the migration path appear practically predesigned. But a closer look reveals restrictions. For example, in SAP S/4HANA there are no marketing functions which are used extensively in many SAP CRM applications. The digital world with its rich social media interactions requires specialized solutions and SAP has taken this into account with other products.

In the SAP S/4HANA, a segment of CRM functions are approaching more closely to ERP functions, while other sections are found in their own solutions, integrated via SAP Cloud Integration. This opens up a range of different possibilities for transformation: the path to the pure cloud, migration of the CRM application to SAP S/4HANA, or a hybrid solution.

Gold digger???

In the preliminary stages of a SAP S/4HANA conversion, a critical rethink of processes and their mapping that goes beyond the ERP functions implemented should always be on the agenda of an SAP S/4HANA project. The offering in the CRM, with its broad functional scope, is attractive in this regard. Stake out your claim, set up your SAP S/4HANA program and don’t stop with just a simple conversion.

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