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Will an SAP CRM implementation mean challenges for marketing campaigns?

One reader asks, "What challenges we can expect for the marketing department during a CRM implementation?" Read Srini Katta's advice here.

One of my clients is implementing SAP CRM. Can you provide some examples of the biggest challenges we can expect during a CRM implementation? I am especially interested in problems that might come up in the areas of marketing and campaign management.
Below is a list of some things you can expect from an SAP CRM implementation.

1) SAP CRM projects are business-driven and IT supported, unlike SAP ERP projects, which are IT-driven and business...

supported. Make sure you have business buy-in for the CRM implementation strategy and plan.

2) Marketing may have previously been using a stand-alone marketing tool to support the market efforts. If this is the case, the IT staff supporting that tool may worry about job security after SAP CRM replaces the legacy tool. You may want to ensure that the IT staff undergoes training in SAP CRM. This helps install confidence in the IT staff and their total contribution to the success of the project. Staff retention and training strategy is very important planning aspect in the beginning of the project.

3) Another challenge you may face from marketing department is fear of exposing the marketing data to the other business divisions if SAP CRM is to be integrated with an SAP ERP system. This should be handled by assuring that other departments' data access is controlled by a set of authorization and security roles. Meaning, only employees who have authorization to access marketing data can access the data. This will install piece of mind in the marketing department.

You should also explain the benefits of an integrated system. These benefits include:

4) Real-time monitoring of sales generated by a marketing campaign, which is a very unscientific calculation with a stand-alone legacy marketing system.

5) The integrated system will help marketing in adjusting and optimizing the campaign based on real-time monitoring of sales.

6) The above will ensure solid support from the marketing division.

Make sure you involve a full-time marketing lead to work with the implementation team. This will ensure implementation along the expected lines. Please list the business resources you'll need from time to time to support the implementation.

You may choose conference room pilot methodology if the implementation is not complex. This will ensure business approval in each stage of implementation. I also recommend that you choose cycle methodology, wherein you implement the projects in cycles. Each cycle of the implementation is thoroughly tested and approved by the business leads. Also, make sure you have a comprehensive test plan to find glitches and bugs in the implementation, to save you from a disaster after going live with SAP CRM.

This was last published in February 2007

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