How to Handle SAP CRM Migrations

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Meet the Experts

Key Takeaways

⇨ The SAP CRM 7 system will also reach end of life in 2027. 

⇨ Organizations must plan to migrate CRM systems in addition to the end of SAP ECC.

⇨ Companies should take into account business functionality as well as the technological aspect of the transition.

Hello, my SAP friends,

I have a question for you: Are you NOT hearing about the same thing I am? Wait, what? Ann, what do you mean when you say NOT HEARING something? Let’s start first with what I AM still hearing most about… and I know all of us are:

  • Digital Transformation: Sure, super imperative to our business success, bottom line and future growth
  • S/4HANA Migration: Of course! SAP runs our businesses – we must succeed at this endeavor for our business and our customers to be successful.

AI, Analytics, and ChatGPT: Yep, yes, and absolutely, but not the topic for today. These issues are all top of mind and were great sessions at the amazing SAPinsider conference that was held last March in Las Vegas ~ and important personal side note ~ if you didn’t go, you sure missed out, so please plan on attending next year! It was full of sessions with a variety of content in complimentary areas, which enabled many opportunities to engage with our SAP peers in unique ways. And as always, there was a certain ‘cool vibe’ at the conference that is an SAPinsider trademark. See you there next March.

The Digital Transformation, S/4 Migration and even Clean Core are the main talking points on many LinkedIn posts from my colleagues and networks, in various SAP user groups and so much from SAP itself. Ok fine, I get it. They are relevant on our to-do list and in our imminent future.

But what critical topic to our company’s sustainability are we NOT HEARING about??

Your SAP CRM 7 system will also reach end of life in 2027. 

You guessed or already know it. Why isn’t anyone talking about it? Ok, well I am. Welcome.

Questions for CRM 7

Do you have SAP ECC and SAP CRM 7?

Are these two complimentary systems critical to your organization?

What is your plan to update both ECC and CRM 7 by 2027?

If you have both ECC and CRM7, you may be in the Utilities, Automotive or High-Tech vertical. Public Sector and IT and Professional Services companies often have both as well. No matter what vertical you are in, I know these tightly integrated systems are critical to your business. For your Sales and Service departments, for your tech teams out in the field, and most definitely your marketing department is making the most of the CRM7 engagement layer to up-sell to your customers.

Your SAP CRM7 is a CRITICAL system running important aspects of your business and now we have to upgrade it.

And you know this. Not only do we have the challenging task of figuring out how to move ECC to S/4HANA, but we also need to plan a dual migration of sorts – how are we going to upgrade our CRM 7 system, and to what new CRM platform? And I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there isn’t really a migration path for your SAP CRM 7 system like there is for ECC to S/4. 2027 is the year for both, and it’s just around the corner, so let’s get the conversation started.

I wish I could see you in person and ask you to lend your voice to the conversation right now as I ask these questions.

  • Who knows that CRM is also EOL in 2027?
  • Are you moving to SAP CRM in the cloud?
  • What is your upgrade path and when are you starting your journey?
  • Are you evaluating other CRMs that weren’t around before?

There are so many of the same questions for both S/4 and CRM, but not all the same answers. So, in this series, I will explore these issues and guide you on a path to success for your CRM migration.

Let’s start with the current state of our CRM and ECC systems.

State of CRM and ECC

As an SAP CRM and ECC Basis administrator for a natural gas utility in Colorado from 2010-2016, both systems were the lifeblood of our company. We were a transmission utility, with a robust and excellent call center, that had successfully navigated a solution for field service techs and had an “ahead of our time,” real-time integration for managing interactions with customers including a robust marketing engine and campaign via SAP CRM 7 and ECC with the IS-U module. We had our FERC accounting dialed in, you could pay your utility bill online with guest checkout (yes, even back then) and we were a leader in the utility and CRM space for a decade. ECC and CRM worked then and still works now if you have this architecture.

If you have SAP ECC and SAP CRM, no matter what industry you are in, you know what I am talking about. Your interaction center pops up the account info when a call comes in, displays its most recent interaction with you, with easy access to all their customer details and history. CRM 7 is tightly integrated back to ECC to enable all the business processes. and Its design offers real-time for all practical purposes. Because both systems are on-prem, the trusted RFCs you set up, the message queues via IDocs, real-time dialog processes via an ICWeb UI – it all enables a robust user experience that is actually very hard to replicate and achieve today.

However, as we look to SAP S/4HANA, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s on-prem or in the cloud, the focus is so on S/4, that there is a gap emerging on how we can simultaneously solve for the complimentary CRM system that we have loved and lived with for so long, when moving to S/4.

So, where are we now? There are two pieces of this story that I’ll cover in this series:

  1. The Business Functionality Piece

We have to ensure that the amazing customer experiences we have built over the last 10 to 20 years with CRM 7 + ECC will be the same as we re-platform both environments. There are options that SAP provides for CRM as the system of engagement, including Sales, Customer, and Field Service, as well as B2B and self-service offerings. In my next post, I will discuss how they are similar and different compared to what we have now in our environments, and also what other options are out now as we look to re-create the same business experience that we have today.

2. Technological Aspects

In the second part of the series, I will talk through the different technological aspects because the tech is not the same as it was, nor should it be. Not only is SAP asking us to move to the cloud for the backend, they also have “new” solutions for the engagement layer. ALL are based on cloud functionality – you actually don’t have the options to be on-prem for the CRM layer for Service, Sales, and B2B if you utilize an all-SAP approach. And honestly, I think moving to the cloud for your engagement functionality offers way more advantages and is an easier YES than it is for S/4HANA.

I believe CRM on the cloud is better because so many users need to access your CRM experience. And that experience provides omni-channel offerings, and users want to experience their interactions via multiple platforms, and the cloud is the only way to solve that efficiently and optimally. Does anyone really want to log in to a VPN anymore to access day-to-day information? I certainly do not, and your field service technicians, your sales team, your B2C customers, and your B2B partners and distributors don’t want to either.

The positive news is that we have a lot more options than we have ever had before. We can lead our decisions from a purely business approach – what cloud options will enable the best Customer experiences, allow us to be agile with our engagement layer, and build on the right tech for our business goals, metrics and digital transformation efforts? The business processes should be your guiding light first and foremost, the tech will come.

As we assess which path to take to upgrade to the SAP Sales, Service and Customer Cloud platforms, or to analyze different options such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, or ServiceNow, here are the topics I will explore in this series.

  1. What key factors should go into your decision on which CRM to choose and why?
  2. This effort will require a new implementation, there’s no upgrade path from CRM 7.0 to SAP Sales and Service Clouds. I know a lot of SAP utility customers that use CRM 7.0 and will be challenged with this effort. What are your options and pros and cons of each.
  3. Real-time integration for any CRM you choose, even SAP, will be a critical component.

I’m working on different content for each series, so please share your thoughts, insights, and comments with me I’d love to hear what options you are considering, the challenges you face and what the impact of doing an ECC and a CRM7 upgrade is having on your business and IT strategy. As always, my views are my own and not those of my employer. I welcome your feedback.

Best, Ann

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