Basics and Architecture Overview of SAP CRM Architecture
This lessons explains the architecture of SAP CRM and the components that make up the landscape.
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:
Explain the architecture of SAP CRM and the components that make up the landscape.
In order to optimize your customer interactions, you intend to implement different channels within your company, such as Internet, telephony, field sales, and partners. You therefore have to become familiar with the SAP CRM system landscape.
Additionally, you wish to provide your employees with an intuitive and user-friendly interface to carry out their daily work.
SAP CRM Architecture Concept
The SAP CRM solution is the sum of all CRM functions and incorporates CRM components as well as the components SAP Business Intelligence (SAP BI), Supply Chain Management (SAP SCM), and SAP ERP (SAP ECC or SAP R/3).
A central CRM server with system access through various channels and a connection to other systems are both contained in SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM), a part of the SAP Business Suite. The following application components are supported in SAP CRM:
Interaction Center: Using integrated Interaction Center solutions, clients can contact sales or service representatives by telephone, fax, or e-mail.
Web Channel (Internet): Internet users may configure and order products or services using SAP CRM Internet components.
Mobile Clients/Handhelds: Mobile sales representatives and service engineers can access the SAP CRM system from their laptops or other mobile devices to exchange up-to-date information with the central CRM server. The SAP CRM solution offers you the following, fully-integrated connections:
The SAP CRM system as a central CRM server with corresponding application components
The SAP ERP system (SAP ECC or SAP R/3) as a back-end system with tried and true ERP functions
The SAP BI system as a data warehouse solution with comprehensive statistical and analysis functions
The SAP SCM system as a global Available-to-Promise (ATP) check and demand planning solution
The SAP NetWeaver Portal as a tool that provides you with integrated access to all systems
SAP CRM and Other SAP Systems
Data is exchanged between the CRM system and a connected ERP system (minimum SAP R/3 Release 3.1I) using the CRM Middleware. A plug-in installed in the SAP ERP system acts as a counterpart to the R/3 adapter in the SAP CRM system, supporting data communication between the two systems. The data exchange includes the initial transfer of Customizing, master, and transactional data to the SAP CRM System, and the transfer of delta data in both directions. Also a non-SAP ERP system can be connected to SAP CRM.
Sales orders can be entered in the Internet Sales application component, the Interaction Center, a mobile device, or the CRM server. To confirm whether the requested items can be delivered on time, you need to run the Available-to-Promise (ATP) availability check. The SAP Supply Chain Management component performs these functions.
The SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) is used as a data source for parts of the SAP CRM solution, and also contains data for consolidation and analysis.
As of SAP ECC 6.0, the plug-in will be contained directly in SAP ECC. Until SAP ECC 6.0 the plug-in is delivered separately and has to be installed.
The SAP CRM solution supports the handling of CRM business objects (such as customers and prospects, activities and opportunities, and products and product catalogs) in a variety of application components including Internet Sales, Service Interaction Center, Telesales and Campaign Management. Some of these components require external extensions for communication and integration. These components will be described in more detail in later sections.
The middleware layer supports the controlled data exchange with other systems such as mobile clients, back-end systems, and data ware houses. A replication procedure guarantees consistent and up-to-date data in the distributed local databases, especially for mobile users. Message queuing ensures data delivery and processing.
Software adapters are used to connect to external systems. These adapters are responsible for assigning data and converting it to other formats. Both the ASCII adapter and external interfaces are provided for this. The SAP CRM application components also exchange data with the middleware layer using a CRM adapter. The SAP CRM component builds on the SAP Basis system, which provides a proven development platform, scalability, platform independence, and various other SAP tools. Therefore, the SAP CRM solution can be configured just as flexibly as an SAP ERP system.
This lesson explains the architecture of SAP CRM channels, including internet applications, interaction center and mobile sales/service.
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:
Explain the architecture of SAP CRM channels, including internet applications, interaction center and mobile sales/service.
SAP CRM and Internet Applications
With the Internet Sales and Internet Customer Self-Service application components, Internet users can access the SAP CRM solution to configure and purchase products from published catalogs, or to request a particular service. The shipped, standard templates provide a ready-to-run solution, but can also be adjusted to meet individual requirements.
The Internet application components are made available through a Web server. They are based on J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) technology. This technology is an open, non-SAP platform.
Product catalogs are exported from SAP CRM to an external index server for faster access to product data. The Internet Pricing & Configurator (IPC) component provides configuration and pricing data for Web applications. Since the IPC is designed as a separate component, it ensures the high performance needed in an Internet environment. Basic CRM data like Business Partners, Products, Orders etc. have to be maintained and set up in the CRM system itself and can be used in the Web environment. Explains the architecture of SAP CRM channels including internet applications, interaction center and mobile sales/service. Within the Web Channel Applications you set up the design, logic etc. of your Web appearance.
SAP CRM Interaction Center Architecture
The Interaction Center supports various communication channels, such as telephone, E-mail and fax, as well as Internet based communication such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
You can connect communication channels such as telephone and E-mail using a Communication Management System. This can be SAP BCM (Business Communication Management) or a third party product. The IC WebClient multichannel options are consolidated using the Integrated Communication Interface (ICI) in the Interaction Center. Through the use of new technology such as eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), the open SAP CRM Integrated Communication Interface (ICI) supports the integration of SAP CRM solutions with communication components such as computer telephony integration, automatic call list distribution, interactive voice response, e-mail administration, and chat systems. As a result, companies leverage their existing technology investments. Beside of ICI the former used connection interface SAPPhone can still be used for upgrading customers.
SAP CRM Mobile Sales/Service (Laptop Solution)
The SAP CRM components Mobile Sales and Mobile Service support a companys mobile field sales and service employees. Users have complete access to all relevant data on their laptops. However, users can access data only for their own area of responsibility (for example, all customers in one postal area).
This data is updated by regular data exchange between laptops and the central server. The communication station serves as a translator between the CRM server and the mobile clients.
The mobile applications are customized using the SAP Mobile Application Studio, an object-oriented, visual modeling tool.
The CRM Middleware provides the necessary functionality for the data replication to mobile clients.
SAP CRM: Data Exchange with Laptops
Basically the CRM Server contains the CRM Middleware, which handles the data exchange with internal applications and external major components, such as an SAP ERP Back-End, an SAP Business Information Warehouse or non-SAP systems. The CRM Middleware also synchronizes the databases of Mobile Clients with the CRM database.
Mobile Clients are usually laptops running the Mobile Sales/Service Application, which may include the Sales Configuration Engine (SCE) and the Sales Pricing Engine (SPE) Mobile Clients typically connect temporarily (for example, via modem) to the CRM Server for data exchange.
The Mobile Clients are connected to the CRM Server via the Communication Station.
Introduction to the CRM WebClient User Interface
This lesson describes the evolution of SAP CRM User Interface (UI) leading up to the latest CRM WebClient User Interface (introduced with CRM 2007). The main elements of the User Interface concept will be explained and additionally the pre-configured roles in SAP CRM will be introduced.
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:
Describe the evolution of SAP CRM UI leading up to the latest CRM WebClient UI.
Explain the main elements of the UI concept.
Introduce pre-configured roles in SAP CRM.
The Continuous Focus on Usability: The SAP UI Roadmap
An intuitive and user-friendly interface is key for the acceptance and success of a CRM implementation. Especially part-time users are expecting an easy-to-use and consistent user interface. Depending on the release, SAP has offered different UIs. The CRM WebClient user interface used in CRM 2007 and CRM 7.0 fulfills the above mentioned requirements in a perfect way and is the result of the UI evolution based on customer and user experiences in different industries.
User Interface Concept - Screen Structure
The screen of the CRM WebClient User Interface (introduced with Release CRM 2007) is divided into three main areas:
At the top the header area is located.
On the left the navigation bar is located. Navigation area and header area are also known as L-shape.
The center part of the screen is the work area.
User Interface - L-Shape
The L-shape within the user interface provides easy global navigation throughout the entire SAP CRM application. Generic shortcuts for fast data entry, access, and other information are also included. The L-shape consists of a header (top) and navigation (left-hand) area.
The position and size of the L-shape is static and its content can be configured as business-role dependent.
User Interface - Entry Page HOME
The HOME page provides:
A quick, direct overview of the current day
Hyperlinks to more detailed information
Predefined content for
My appointments today
My tasks today
The available content and screen structure of the HOME page can be configured per role.
Furthermore individual personalization by each user is supported.
User Interface - Overview Page
The overview page provides an overview of all important information regarding a single object in display mode. It is structured in assignment blocks which can be configured and personalized.
In an assignment block form views, tables and hierarchies can be displayed. The overview page is non-editable. The overview page consists of header information that allows detailed object identification and a set of related information.
The overview page is the target page when following a hyperlink to an object instance. The overview page contains the hyperlinks for cross navigation to related information.
Overview Page: Main User Interface Elements
The main elements of the User Interface are:
Work area title
Work area toolbar
Pre-Configured Roles in SAP CRM
The following applications are run with pre-configured roles: