I'll be honest. When I first started working with SAP Business One, and people told me that it incorporated customer relationship management (CRM) functionality, I was a bit confused. I could not find a menu item or a module called "CRM," so it did not jump off the screen as easily as I expected.
By now, I have been working with SAP Business One for many years and I have come to understand the CRM capabilities within. Let's explore the core functionality, particularly in regard to the latest release, which makes "CRM" a bit more intuitive.
Problem Solved | CRM "Added" in Version 9.3
My prior complaint has been addressed! And the "added" in this heading is, of course, tongue-in-cheek.
In the latest release of SAP Business One, version 9.3, there is now a dedicated menu selection for CRM. However, this is a collation point for the existing capabilities that were already embedded throughout the product. CRM functionality is not new to SAP Business One, but this menu item is (in version 9.3).
If you are not on version 9.3 yet, and lack the convenience of this CRM menu item, where is your CRM?
When you think about CRM, it's all about managing the customer engagement and lifecycle; things like activities, notes, tasks, and other interactions form part of the business documents that you create when working with your customers.
You have probably already realized that these functions are embedded throughout various modules: Inventory, Purchasing, and even inside the General Ledger. That is part of the reason why the functionality is so useful- it is everywhere in the solution; you just need to know how to find it (or upgrade to 9.3).
This learning curve for "finding the CRM" is part of the reason newcomers might criticize the CRM capabilities; They are not aware that this embedded CRM functionality is a core design principle and they expect to see it all in the one mega module.
Double the Value | More Than Meets the Eye
When it comes to how CRM is setup in SAP Business One, I suspect many customers may not realize the added benefits. Because the CRM functions tie to the Business Partner object in SAP Business One, you also get a full supplier relationship management (SRM) solution as well.
If you add in the mobile apps, SAP HANA-specific features like the Customer 360 view, and suggested items during the sales process, you have a relatively full-featured CRM solution.
Filling the Gaps | Extending CRM Functionality
Personally, the only area where I feel that SAP Business One's CRM may not meet all the needs of small and midsized businesses is in the area of email communication: Marketing Automation and integration with Microsoft Outlook.
However, as with a fully extensible solution like SAP Business One, there are complementary solutions you can use to address the gap or meet specific business requirements. I hope to discuss some of these solutions later in our CRM month, so stay tuned to our ONE.Source Blog for more.
Image credit: SAP Business One interface screenshot by Richard Duffy
Be sure not to miss our webcast curriculum throughout May:
- May 10 | Ask the Expert: CRM
- May 17 | Customer Spotlight: Successful CRM with SAP Business One - Gaumard Scientific
- May 24 | Insights from SAP: CRM
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