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Whatever you do, don't press THAT button! How to avoid screwing up your SAP CRM Interaction Center project.

by John Burton

January 21, 2013

Flickr creative commons courtesy of psdIf you haven’t realized by now, one of the truly wonderful thing about SAP CRM is that it is flexible enough to let you customize the heck out of the system to support your own unique business processes. It doesn’t matter whether you are in Consumer Products, Utilities, High Tech, Public Sector, Professional Services, or any of a dozen other industries – you can modify the system to suit your specific industry best practices. Whether you sell chocolate bars or tooth paste, silicon chips or silicone implants, tractors or sports cars – you can tweak the system to suit your company’s individual needs.

But, if you haven’t realized by now, one of the truly dangerous things about SAP CRM is that it is flexible enough to let you customize the heck out of the system, leaving you with a implementation that can be anything but “out of the box” or “off the shelf”. While not a problem in itself, it can become a problem when the one consultant or internal employee who knows how it all works rolls off the project or retires. And let’s not even get started on the topic of trying to upgrade a highly customized implementation to a new release.

And even if you try to stay as “vanilla” as possible with your CRM implementation, you’re often faced with critical implementation decisions that will determine the long-term direction of your project. While in some cases you can backtrack and change your mind at a later point, other decisions can send you down an irreversible path. For example, deciding which CTI vendor to choose for your contact center’s telephony, email and chat needs is typically a long-term decision. Once you invest the capital and integrate a vendor into your call center and corporate telephony landscape, it’s usually very difficult to later “rip and replace”. Similarly, choosing a Knowledge Management vendor and strategy for your contact center’s help desk and your enterprise in general is a critical decision with long-lasting implications.

If you are new to the SAP CRM Interaction Center – or if you are upgrading from an older release to SAP CRM 7.0 and looking for a “fresh start” – you will want to join me at the SAP Insider CRM 2013 conference from March 4 – 8 in Las Vegas, Nevada for two informative sessions on the SAP CRM Interaction Center. On Monday, March 4th , the day before the actual conference officially begins, I will be presenting a three-hour “jump start” session covering everything you ever wanted to know about the SAP CRM Interaction Center but were afraid to ask. Though the official title of the session is, “Jumpstart: The 2013 guide to SAP CRM Interaction Center: Functionality, updates, and future roadmap”. If you can stay awake for the full three hours, you will not only win a gold star sticker, but you’ll leave with a notebook full of tips, tricks, and best practices.

If for some reason you aren’t able to make it out early for the jumpstart session, or if you fall asleep during the last hour, fear not… we will also have a special one-hour session on Tuesday, March 5th with a slightly different focus. Specifically we will be looking at critical decision points in your SAP CRM Interaction Center project such as choosing a CTI vendor, selecting a Knowledge Management strategy, and picking the right Trouble Ticketing and Sales Order Management options – all based on your industry, call center size, and business strategy. The official title of this session is, “Guidelines for selecting the most appropriate SAP CRM Customer Interaction Center functionality to most effectively serve your customers”. However, I prefer to call it, “How Not to Screw Things Up” or “Whatever You Do, Don’t Press THAT Red Button”. 

It’s kind of like when a movie action hero warns his side kick to not press that ominous looking oversized red button. “Whatever you do, never press THAT button. Which always make me wonder… if pressing the button leads to such disastrous consequences, whey even have the button at all? Good question. And there’s a probably good answer. Perhaps in some extremely rare, unique situations, pressing that button can actually be beneficial – like if our hero suddenly need to suddenly reverse the Earth’s polarity in order to foil a doom’s-day device created by the movie’s nefarious villain. Not that I’m comparing your call center to a doom’s day device or anything.

If nothing else, hopefully you will walk out of these sessions with a better understanding of what features and capabilities the SAP CRM Interaction Center provides, and more importantly – which features will best support your company’s call center implementation, and which features should probably never be touched (unless all hell is breaking loose).

* Originally posted at The Customer Edge

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