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:
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!!