Reporting on sales numbers is very important for a sales organization, especially at the end of a sales quarter. The sales forecast is often run on a daily basis. In that light, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a very important tool for management to set targets, measure progress, and achieve sales numbers.
Likewise, the sales force uses the CRM system. Typically in the past, individual sales force reporting data focused on CRM opportunities, and was input and processed by a nightly load of all opportunities into the SAP NetWeaver BW system. By the morning, all data was ready for reporting to management. Usually the report schedule was determined in a way that suited everyone on the sales force and in management. This works okay until it comes to the final days of a quarter, when the race is on to close the last deals and outperform the set targets means that reporting is sometimes thrown off schedule. To compound the situation, in the frantic end-of-quarter days, daily reporting is often not good enough for managers. The pressure builds, and up-to-the hour or up-to-the-minute reports will sometimes make a difference in quarterly sales results. Unfortunately, traditional reporting is not able to provide management with a picture of reality with current information.
In some organizations, a shadow report is built, for instance in Microsoft Excel. Spreadsheets, emails and calls become a work around for sales managers during the final days of the quarter, as an attempt to collect critical information as it occurs during the day. The report received in the morning represented yesterday’s news, and between the morning delivery of that report and the next report, there’s a type of blackout. Within the blackout period caused by once-a-day loading, management is in a frenzy to get data. It is a classic example of centralized to decentralized reporting, which can be plagued with unreliable information, lack of transparency, and time and labor intensive data collection on management’s part.
As a response to that, the company implemented SAP HANA for CRM reporting to improve the activities and results leading up to these critical end-of-quarter sales reporting days. The company opportunities are now replicated from the CRM system immediately following a change to the SAP HANA system. That way, every CRM update is reflected in SAP HANA approximately 1 to 3 seconds after it was entered into the CRM system. Up-to-date and accurate CRM reporting is the result.
The efficiency gain, speed and real-time information delivery strategy does not end there in this customer scenario. Combined with the power of mobility and SAP BusinessObjects Explorer information can now be accessed on the fly using a self-service UI. Management can now check CRM reports on their mobile devices, anytime, anywhere, and get quick insight into the latest status of the pipeline.
The gains included an increase in the transparency and opportunities to react in the last minutes of a quarter. Sales managers are now always on top of each sale by every sales rep using their iPads. It also reduced the need for secondary reporting, based on Microsoft Excel, or information collection from the sales force via email. Not to mention the health of some sales reps as they now take the stairs more frequently to reduce the risk of running into their very well informed sales managers in the elevator. This scenario illustrates how SAP HANA can help drive efficiencies and deliver transparency through real-time analytics.