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Welcome Back!

Welcome to the Q1 2016 edition of the SAP CRM (On-Premise) quarterly update. It’s hard to believe that another year is over already and that we're already two months into 2016. I hope that you had an enjoyable, relaxing and refreshing holiday break. And now that you're back to work and ready to tackle new challenges and projects, I hope you can take advantage of some of the exciting new information highlighted in this post!

SAP CRM Continuous Innovation

As we mentioned in the SAP CRM Update: Q3, 2015 not only has SAP has committed to continue supporting SAP CRM through at least 2025 via mainstream maintenance, but SAP is also still actively investing in SAP CRM via quarterly releases with new functionality and enhancements. In October of Q3 SAP released EHP3 SP10, which introduced several updates such as: visualization of account search result list via GIS map integration, prevention of inadvertent deletion of contact persons that are still linked to active accounts, as well as various industry-specific enhancements for the Utilities sector. You can find the full details of what’s included in SP10 here. And then on Jan 21 we released the next enhancement package for CRM 7.0, EHP4.

However, support packs and enhancement packages are not the only ways that SAP CRM is delivering new innovations to customers. We are also continually developing and releasing new features via SAP Notes based on requests submitted by customers as part of the SAP Customer Connection program. As described in this recent blog post, SAP just released fifty-six (56) new customer-requested CRM enhancements as part of the CRM2015 Customer Connection program.

That’s nearly twice as many enhancements as were delivered last year for the CRM2014 edition of the program. And just recently on Feb 4, we announced that for the CRM2016 round of the Customer Connection program, SAP will is planning to hopefully roll out about 100 more additional customer-requested enhancements! A full list of all SAP enhancements, including those from Customer Connection program, can be found in the SAP Improvement Finder tool.

In addition to the customer-requested enhancements delivered via the SAP Customer Connection program, SAP is also working on some other new innovations and products. Here are a few highlights of what's new and what's coming:

  • SAP Master Data Governance (MDG) Integration: SAP’s Master Data Governance (MDG) solution helps keep enterprise data (customer data, supplier data, financial data, material and asset data, etc.) clean across the entire SAP Business-Suite landscape. In earlier versions of SAP MDG, such as MDG 6.1, integration with SAP CRM was difficult and very restrictive. However with MDG 7.0, integration with SAP CRM has been greatly improved and simplified. As a result, master data maintenance can be performed on the CRM system and the MDG hub system can be used as an intermediary between the CRM and ERP clients without a need for middleware, as was previously required. See SAP Note 1929736 and the SAP MDG / CRM Integration Guide for full details.

  • HANA-Live Analytics – Improvement over CRM Interactive (OLTP) Reporting: With EHP3 SP05 for CRM 7.0, SAP released an exciting new analytics offering for CRM On-Premise called HANA-Live Analytics.  Similar to the older existing CRM Live (OLTP) Reporting option, HANA-Live Analytics allows real-time embedded reports using live CRM data without the need for BI/BW. Additionally, SAP HANA-Live Analytics offers a number of improvements and advantages over the old CRM Interactive (OLTP) Reporting. Check out the recent blog post, “SAP HANA-Live Analytics versus CRM Interactive (OLTP) Reporting” to find out where it makes sense to position each option.

  • “Fiori-Style” Blue Crystal Theme for SAP CRM: The SAP Blue Crystal theme is the standard UI design used in SAP Fiori applications. Blue Crystal is also available as a UI option for the SAP GUI. And now Blue Crystal can also be selected as a personalization theme for the CRM WebClient UI – providing a similar visual experience to SAP Fiori. It is important to note however, that while Blue Crystal harmonizes color scheme and design with Fiori, Blue Crystal is not actually built on HTML5/ SAPUI5, nor does it replicate Fiori's user interaction or navigation paradigm. For more details see this blog post as well SAP Note 2227135 - New visual design Blue Crystal for the CRM WebClient and SAP Note 2239424 - Blue Crystal Theme in Interaction Center for full details.

Screenshot of new "Fiori-style" Blue Crystal UI theme for SAP CRM

  • SAP CRM and ECC Co-Deployment: SAP HANA SPS 09 introduces the possibility to run multiple independent SAP HANA databases in one single SAP HANA system (SID) and manage them as a single unit. SAP refers to this functionality as “Multi-tenant database containers” and it is specifically designed to simplify database administration. SAP CRM customers can use this new multi-database container option to run SAP CRM and SAP ERP on the same HANA database. However, this approach doesn’t involve an actual consolidation of the CRM and ERP data models, nor a merging of any database tables. It also does not eliminate the need for middleware replication of data between CRM and ERP. See this blog post for more information.

  • Limited offline capabilities for select CRM Fiori apps:  With CRM 7.0 EHP3 SP10, released in October of this year, SAP CRM customers can run Fiori in the Cloud connected to their SAP CRM system. Among other things, Fiori Cloud Edition enables Fiori apps to be run in offline mode on smartphones and tablets. As a first step for CRM, with SAP Fiori 1.0 (wave 10) for SAP CRM 7.0 EHP3 SP10, we’ve enabled partial offline capabilities for two CRM Fiori apps: My Accounts and My Contacts; click on the corresponding SAP Online Help links for a full list of supported capabilities and restrictions. Also, as a prerequisites SAP Mobile Platform (or its cloud edition HCPms) and SAP Mobile Secure are both required; see Jutta Weber’s blog post, “Using CRM Fiori apps offline” for more details.

  • Next-Gen Customer Engagement Center on Hybris-as-a-Service (YaaS): On Dec 15, 2015 SAP released a first version of our new, next-generation Omni-channel Customer Engagement Center, built on the Hybris-as-a-service YaaS cloud stack. This packaged set of on micro-services is primarily targeted at e-commerce customers who need to quickly implement a lightweight (but state-of-the-art) support desk to assist their customers using the company’s web storefront. The solution will potentially support all real-time communication mediums such as: voice calling, video chat, co-browsing, page-push, P2P file sharing, etc., via rich WebRTC browser-to-browser based communication. This offering is currently only available in the United States. Click here for more details and pricing information.

Screenshot of next-gen Customer Engagement Center (CEC) on YaaS

Industry Spotlight: Consumer Products Trade Promotion (TPx) – Customer Business Planning (CBP)

One of the strengths of SAP CRM has always been our industry focus – especially in sectors where end-to-end integration across the SAP landscape is a key differentiator over the competition. One such example is in the Consumer Products (CP) Sector with the Trade Promotion portfolio. The SAP Trade Management suite is very strategic in the CP portfolio. It has been an integral part of SAP CRM since 2001. With each CRM release we’ve continued to enhance the capabilities with market-leading processes such as: Funds & Claims, embedded analysis with Trade Promotion Effectiveness (TPE), Promotion Prediction & Optimization capability (TPO) and – in more recent times – tight integration with Demand Signal Management (DSiM).

The TPM suite now offers a variety of deployment options as well, exploiting the flexibility the HANA Enterprise Cloud and subscription pricing. There are now in excess of 100+ customers, with over 16,000 users promoting billions of Dollars/Euros through our TPM solution. TPM continues to be an area of innovation; we are extremely excited about the latest enhancement – Customer Business Planning – released earlier in October this year. Customer Business Planning fills the largest functional gap in our solution, and it is changing the conversation with customers of all sizes around the globe. Click here to read this blog post for full details.

Register for SAP Insider CRM2016 Conference (Las Vegas, NV, Mar 21 - 23)

Join me and several hundred other SAP customers, partners, and product experts at the CRM2016 SAP Insider conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mar 21 - 23.. I'll be giving two presentations -- one on SAP Fiori for CRM and the other on What's New in SAP CRM. Click here for full details.