Deploying the right people with the right skills to the right position,
job, or project is more than just another task to be streamlined
for many companies, its a strategic issue as well. As companies
compete for customer loyalty and demand higher productivity, the ability
to quickly and accurately match the most talented employees to the right
roles, especially in customer service or product development, is key to
rising above less-responsive competitors.
With the evolution of employee placement
from paper- or spreadsheet-based processes to more automated solutions,
now is the time to both leverage the information residing in your existing
ERP system and take advantage of new state-of-the-art technology
like enterprise portals. Adopting these applications means increased flexibility
in deploying employees, a faster planning process with shortened reaction
times, and better-motivated employees whose individual needs are being
met. The result is higher workforce efficiency, significant cost savings
through better utilization of the resources, and ultimately, higher customer
In this context, deployment, or workforce
deployment (WFD), can mean anything from scheduling customer service
agents (even in intervals of just a few minutes) to assigning consultants
to projects over several months. Although each business scenario has unique
industry- or function-specific characteristics, these business scenarios
also share some elements employee skills and availability information,
for instance where HR plays a key role in implementing and supporting
any WFD strategy (see sidebar, below).
The HR Contribution to Workforce
Business drivers for a WFD solution may range from expected call
volume, to expected number of customers per hour, to project opportunities
just to name a few. While these drivers are not under the
direct influence of the HR department (or an integral part of the
HRMS), HR does make a significant contribution when it comes to
workforce deployment. After all, information about employees
skills, work schedules, and availability, as well as basic employee
information in master data, are all relevant to the deployment process.
Furthermore, related topics like performance management and analytics,
career planning, workforce education, etc., should take into account
(and influence) the results of a WFD strategy.
HR should hold responsibility for
this information and be heavily involved to ensure consistent and
well-structured support for all the value-generating processes in
the company. The message here is about HRs contribution to
the success of the business a dramatic shift from the more
traditional, pure administration of backend HR processes.
For organizations looking to optimize deployment
processes, SAP offers the following five solutions:
- mySAP CRM Resource Planning Tool Field Service and Dispatch
- mySAP CRM Interaction Center Scheduling
- Collaboration Projects for mySAP Product Lifecycle Management
- Professional Services with mySAP CRM: Project Resource Planning
- SAP xApp Resource and Program Management
Figure 1 briefly introduces you
to these solutions. This article provides further details about their
scope and audience, with a focus on resource scheduling and assignment
functions, along with a look at how these solutions will be further integrated
in the future.1
|mySAP CRM Resource Planning Tool Field
Service and Dispatch
||Dispatch of service staff to service orders, appointment
||mySAP CRM Service solution for field enablement
and appointment setting.
|mySAP CRM Interaction Center Scheduling
||Shift-scheduling and task assignment for call center staff.
||mySAP CRM component with strong integration capabilities into CTI
(Computer Telephony) for call volume forecasting.
|Collaboration Projects for mySAP Product Lifecycle Management
||Quality-oriented project management with project staffing.
||Runs stand-alone but is integrated into the PLM backend functionality.
|Professional Services with mySAP CRM Project Resource
||Acquisition, management, and staffing of consulting and service
||Uses elements from mySAP CRM, mySAP PLM cProjects, and R/3 Enterprise
within the offering for Service Providers.
|SAP xApp Resource and Program Management
||xApp for project portfolio management, enhanced skills tracking
and management, project consolidation, and project staffing for internal
research and development projects.
||xApp that runs on top of backend applications in a corporation and
can consolidate data from, for example, various project systems.
||Five SAP Solutions to Support Your Workforce Deployment Strategy
CRM Resource Planning Tool Field Service and Dispatch
The mySAP CRM Resource Planning Tool supports the full cycle of activities
for field service processes from the assignment of a customers
request for service, through to execution, confirmation, and billing.
In this process, resource planners assign work to service teams, taking
into account each employees schedule (see Figure 2).
||Field Service and Dispatch Screen mySAP CRM Resource Planning
From the Resource Planning Tool, service
employees can access, accept, or reject new assignments, and maintain
their availability on their laptop or handheld devices. Paging integration
gives resource planners an additional channel for easy communication of
new assignments. Once an assignment has been accepted and executed, employees
can confirm working times, materials used, and relevant codes on their
mobile devices and transfer this data during synchronization back to the
service organizations server.
This closed-information loop ensures that
up-to-date and relevant information is accessible to all involved, supporting
the businesss efforts to provide the best possible service to its
For further synchronization, the teams
service-related data can also be posted automatically to integrated back-office
components of the mySAP.com platform, such as SAP R/3, and to the SAP
Business Information Warehouse for reporting and analysis.2
CRM Interaction Center Scheduling
In contact center environments, finding ways to take full advantage
of staff resources and new communications channels, like email and online
text chat, is an ongoing management challenge. mySAP CRMs interaction
center workforce management capability was built from the ground up to
include multi-channel support, and gives managers easy access to these
capabilities from their own role-based portal (see Figure 3).
||Manager's View for Interaction Center Workforce Management
Key enhancements for managing call centers
will soon be available in mySAP CRM, including forecasts of your contact
centers workload and labor distribution, to ensure you meet customers
expectations, no matter which communications channel they might choose.
Advanced scheduling techniques support multiple sites to ensure that the
most qualified personnel perform specific operations when needed. Finally,
sophisticated planning capabilities enable managers to staff according
to volume, skill sets, activity, corporate goals, and customer expectations.
Projects for mySAP Product Lifecycle Management
Collaboration Projects (cProjects) for mySAP Product Lifecycle Management
(mySAP PLM) applies to any industry where a defined project setup and
execution process is used internally to develop or improve a product.
In a nutshell, cProjects enables collaborative project management
to efficiently plan, execute, and monitor development cycles.3
The cProjects functions of mySAP PLM support
such proven methodologies as stage gate and Advanced Product
Quality Planning (APQP). These are seamlessly integrated into mySAP PLMs
existing collaborative engineering functions, along with program and project
management capabilities to enable web-based collaboration in virtual teams.
cProjects can easily integrate with the xApp SAP Resource and Program
Management (discussed later in this article), thereby realizing additional
portfolio and resource management benefits in heterogeneous system environments.
Starting with a template for adding a new
project to the system, you then input your project team information and
assign roles (project leader, decision maker,
etc.) to each participant. From there, you assign authorizations to individual
roles and objects (such as documents) to prevent sensitive project information
from ending up in the wrong hands.
A rich project structure allows for phases,
tasks, checklists, and lists of individuals responsible for each element.
Phase and task deadlines can be entered manually or automatically scheduled
by the system. Project elements can also be linked to documents and other
business objects (e.g., purchase orders) in other systems. Likewise, additional
development-related objects can be assigned to the project, even while
it is in progress.
Once a development project is under way,
project participants use cProjects functions to confirm the completion
of tasks, mark off completed points on checklists, and release individual
phases, so you can always see what stage of each phase your project is
For safeguarding project planning and execution
quality, checklist items must be marked off before approval of a phase.
This stage gate function ensures a controlled transition between project
phases. The system also provides automated workflows tailored to project-specific
needs, along with functions to ensure that processes will go uninterrupted
if a team member is unavailable.
Services with mySAP CRM: Project Resource Planning
For consulting firms and other professional
it has never been more important to provide excellent customer relationship
management in order to win and retain a valuable customer base, and offer
value-added services for increased revenue and ensured profitability.
SAPs offering in this area consists of these main scenarios:
- Opportunity Management, including sales support, pipeline
analysis, and quotations
- Project Management, including project planning, monitoring,
scheduling, and cost tracking
- Project Resource Planning, including skills management, resource
search and assignment, and calendar integration
- Engagement Management, including contracts, time and expenses,
billing, and financials
With Project Resource Planning tools, roles
are identified to specify the criteria required for each staff member.
For example, in one case, a consulting project could require a project
lead with project management experience, particular product skills, and
team lead experience. It might also require five project members, each
with expertise in a different sub-area of the product. Tasks can then
be assigned to each of these six project roles, even if the person to
fill the role has not yet been identified.
The search for the right employees (or
external resources) can then be conducted based on skills (specific language
skills, product knowledge, etc.), organizational data, or availability
of resources. From information on previously assigned projects, and from
sick leave or leave of absence information in the mySAP HR Time Management
system, an employee will be determined to be available.
The resource planner then assigns the suitable
candidate to each project role. Groupware integrated with employees
calendars completes this solution, for easy communication of project assignments.
Overall, the Professional Services with
mySAP CRM, available as of mySAP CRM Release 4.0, delivers:
- Increased visibility of sales and project pipeline
- Optimal utilization of resources
- Improved billing accuracy and time-to-bill
- Excellent insight into project profitability, resource allocation,
etc. SAP xApp Resource and Program Management
xApp Resource and Program Management
(SAP xRPM) is a new application for optimizing complex projects in R&D
and IT organizations. xApps are a new breed of highly integrated applications
from SAP. This particular xApp integrates information from your existing
project management, HR, financial, and time-tracking systems for a complete
overview of an organizations project portfolio. SAP xRPM enhances
steps in the project management lifecycle to help organizations better
select, define, staff, and monitor major enterprise projects.
Workforce Management Core (WFM
Core) as the Integration Layer
Looking at WFD strategies, the common elements are clear: all scenarios
need information about staff availability, skills, and existing
assignments. Ideally, an additional component would be a true optimization
engine for optimal synergy between these solutions.
SAP recognized the value of this,
and created the Workforce Management Core (WFM Core) to hold all
relevant deployment information. The WFM Core consists of a central
database for demands, resources, and assignments. To support and
synchronize employee availability information working time,
attendance, absence information it provides an interface
for time management data for integration with mySAP HR Time Management.
Both manual and automatic scheduling (based on heuristics) is possible,
the latter with the help of the SAP APO scheduler and liveCache.
Currently the mySAP CRM Resource
Planning Tool and the mySAP CRM business scenario Project Resource
Planning benefit from the WFM Core concept. In the future, all the
WFD scenarios discussed here are slated to adopt the WFM Core for
By consolidating project data across multiple
systems and existing enterprise components, SAP xRPM supports a complete
view of project demand across the enterprise. Project data is presented
in a timely, role-based manner so executives, project managers, and team
members can easily view data and drill down to more detailed information
(see Figure 4). As an xApp, SAP xRPM provides all the advantages
of role-based intra- and inter-project collaboration among team members.
- Project portfolio management capabilities, with a dashboard of relevant
project data including key performance metrics on budgets, schedules,
- A complete suite of calendar, to-do items, threaded discussions,
document management, and role-based notifications across the project
- Functionality for assigning staffing resources
- An advanced skills management feature to maintain up-to-date information
on team members skills
- Comprehensive reporting options with project portfolio analytics
for continuous process improvement throughout the project lifecycle
- Workflow features that help guide executives in the creation and
approval of new projects
||SAP xAPP Resource and Program Management
Because employee experiences and skill
sets change over time and from one project to the next, project managers
are constantly trying to match available talent to their project needs.
SAP xRPM captures and maintains profiles of employees project experience
and provides an efficient means for project managers to search for the
right staff for upcoming projects, and allows employees to opt into projects
that advance their careers.
Even before a project kickoff, planning
managers can use SAP xRPM to view all active projects. This helps development
organizations optimize resources and skills, and reduces the number of
redundant or inefficient projects. Competitive enterprises can quickly
identify deficiencies and apply resources to increase expertise in those
segments. By viewing all resources assigned to each active project
schedules, at-risk elements, and current employee skills planning
managers can better prioritize projects in alignment with corporate strategy.
SAP offers a widespread, comprehensive, integrated solution portfolio
that helps companies pursue their WFD strategy. Depending on the business
drivers involved, you will find the solutions reside within their respective
solution environment in the mySAP CRM or mySAP PLM solutions, or
in the cross-application xApps. The mySAP HR solution then provides all
HR-related information, including skills, availability, and master data,
to these applications either directly or, for optimal integration,
via a shared database, the Workforce Management Core (see sidebar).
In the near future, look for various applications to share even more common
features that will enhance deployment processes across all areas in your
1 Of course, each of these functions is also embedded into its respective
solution (CRM, PLM, etc.) as part of other, wider-spread processes that
will not be detailed in this article.
2 mySAP CRM Resource Planning has been generally available since
mySAP CRM Release 2.0C. Significant enhancements and improvements were
added for mySAP CRM Releases 3.0 and 4.0. For further information, visit
SAP customers and partners can also log on to http://service.sap.com/crm
for additional details.
3 cProjects shares its project staffing capabilities with the mySAP
CRM Capability for Professional Services. However, the main focus of cProjects
is staffing product development projects rather than consulting projects,
so consulting-specific information about work schedules and absences is
less important in this context.
Förderer is a business development
manager within the Human Capital Management
General Business Unit at SAP AG. Since
joining the company in 1992, he has held
different positions in the international
area of the HR organization, including
development and product management. Joachim
holds a masters in business information
technology from the University of Mannheim,
Germany. He can be reached at email@example.com