The NRB Group is a group of companies delivering infrastructure and technology services. It consists of multiple companies such as NRB, Trasys International, Zorgi (Xperthis) and more.
NRB, initially one of Amista’s customers for supporting their SAP CRM environment, needed a future-proof Customer Relationship Management solution to support their (pre-)sales activities across the multiple companies within the group.
Having gained their trust, Amista proposed the implementation of SAP Sales Cloud together with an integration with their back-end ERP system, first being ECC 6.0 and recently S/4HANA (on-premise).
The solution contains all the necessary functionalities to shape their processes, going from account management to the registration of activities and opportunities to finally sealing contracts and invoicing their customers.
In this reference case, we will focus on the implementation methods as well as the tools used to cover all the requirements.
Challenges & Scope
- Cover CRM processes (account, activity, opportunity, contract management)
- Seamless integration between CRM (Sales Cloud) and ERP systems (initially ECC 6.0, then S/4HANA), as well as third-party solutions
- Provide a synchronous (real-time) connection between cloud and on-premise solutions
- Easy monitoring capabilities
- Secure authentication
- Previous ERP system (ECC 6.0) was not exposed to the cloud
- Migration of certain data types (attachments)
- Mapping of integration scenarios from ECC 6.0 to S/4HANA
The project consisted of two phases. In the first phase, the project team has implemented Sales Cloud and integrated it with the SAP ECC 6.0 system. During this phase, Sales Cloud was implemented in about 10 weeks, including data migration from SAP CRM. In the meantime, our NRB colleagues have been transitioning to SAP S/4HANA. This meant that the integration part had to be re-configured and other packages had to be implemented.
The project team consisted of:
- SAP Sales Cloud functional consultant (Amista)
- SAP CPI integration consultant (Amista)
- Project manager (Amista & NRB)
- Key-users (NRB)
“Working with Amista provides real comfort to a “client” project manager. Based on the technical and functional specifications described and shared during various preparatory meetings, Amista proposed a budgetary and operational offer they perfectly followed during the phase of migration and switchover of the solution to production. Amista took into account the time and availability requirements of the solution and gave full satisfaction to the NRB key users by ensuring them continuity in the use of the CRM tool and the support necessary for a smooth transition.”
- Philippe H, NRB project manager for the CRM Cloud implementation
One of the major requirements in this project was to have the front-(CRM) and back-office (ERP) processes aligned and integrated. This also implies that certain master data, such as business partners, need to exist in both systems.
To integrate their Sales Cloud solution with their new S/4HANA on-premise solution (previously ECC 6.0), as well as other SAP (CPQ) and non-SAP (Microsoft SharePoint) solutions, Amista has used a combination of out-of-the-box oDATA APIs and SAP Cloud Platform Integration (CPI).
CPI is a process integration platform based in the cloud which can connect cloud to both cloud and on-premise systems. As SAP S/4HANA is implemented on-premise at NRB, the cloud connector has been configured to act as a reverse invoke proxy and thus allowing it to connect to the cloud. SAP CPI offers standard integration flows, called iFlows, which are artifacts responsible for the communication within a certain business scenario.
For the scenarios used at NRB, Amista has used and configured the pre-packaged content provided by SAP and, as a result, reduced the implementation time drastically. CPI contains a huge array of pre-packaged iFlows in different process domains of Sales Cloud, such as business partner replication, external pricing, contract replication, …
The integration in CPI can be tailored to the needs of the customer. For NRB, we had to implement certain filters and custom logic, to comply with the specific requirements they had.
Next to the configuration of the iFlows in CPI, the needed setup has been completed both from Sales Cloud as from S/4HANA side.
As NRB was already using SAP CRM before, we needed to migrate data. To do this, the data workbench has been used, which is a tool provided in Sales Cloud to easily import/export data. With the help of standard templates, the different data objects were prepared in Excel, validated and eventually imported into the Sales Cloud tenant.
One of the challenges encountered during the migration was the preparation of Attachment migration. As the data needs to be exported by SAP from the source system and is delivered in bulk, it is a very time-consuming task to convert this bulk data into the correct import templates. Thanks to Amista’s in-house expertise in Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (SAP iRPA), we were able to find a solution to replace this manual, time-consuming activity with a smart, automated process which reduced the processing time drastically.
“The switch to the new C4C cloud solution was no surprise and no stress due to the change in operational habits. Amista has supported us in the change by adapting for us the processes parameterized to our needs and the specific reports that are useful to us in the conduct of our daily activities. The few non-blocking errors encountered after going into production mainly concerned specific integrations between C4C and our SharePoint as well as S/4HANA (synchronization of attachments, random update of values in SharePoint, ..). These implementation issues were quickly analyzed and resolved, with some errors not even due to migration. The transition driven by Amista went to the satisfaction of all users of the solution.”
- Valentine B, Head of Bid
- Central platform for management and monitoring the exchange of data
- Quick deployment without development
- The solution offers to easily extend and/or add business scenarios
- Monitoring dashboard in SCP can be configured including notification capabilities
- Secure communication between Sales Cloud – SAP CPI – SAP S/4HANA
- Seamless integration of sales processes between front and back office
- Real-time availability of data
- 360° view of the customer and its sales transactions
- Better customer service
“The new Cloud solutions offered by SAP, generally preconfigured, make it possible to put an end to the mammoth projects that we used to go through in the past. The tools are deployed in 2-3 months. The Blueprint phase is replaced by a gap analysis (modifications to be made to the standard processes carried out) and much easier to understand by users. Maintenance is reduced and changes are also easier to envision.”
- Frédérique C, Internal Business Solutions Manager
From a purely financial point of view, the Cloud solution is more expensive and the maintenance is probably not more attractive than the old solution. The advantage of this new solution is to be found in its more intuitive interface which facilitates the daily use of a large number of users. Regarding the functional scope, it remained the same after migration; on the other hand, we can plan the implementation of additional functionalities such as lead management more calmly.