Interview Questions

Basics and Architecture

Overview of SAP CRM Architecture

Lesson Overview

This lessons explains the architecture of SAP CRM and the components that make up the landscape.

Lesson Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain the architecture of SAP CRM and the components that make up the landscape.

Business Example

In order to optimize your customer interactions, you intend to implement different channels within your company, such as Internet, telephony, field sales, and partners. You therefore have to become familiar with the SAP CRM system landscape.

Additionally, you wish to provide your employees with an intuitive and user-friendly interface to carry out their daily work.

SAP CRM Architecture Concept

The SAP CRM solution is the sum of all CRM functions and incorporates CRM components as well as the components SAP Business Intelligence (SAP BI), Supply Chain Management (SAP SCM), and SAP ERP (SAP ECC or SAP R/3).

A central CRM server with system access through various channels and a connection to other systems are both contained in SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM), a part of the SAP Business Suite. The following application components are supported in SAP CRM:

  • Interaction Center: Using integrated Interaction Center solutions, clients can contact sales or service representatives by telephone, fax, or e-mail.
  • Web Channel (Internet): Internet users may configure and order products or services using SAP CRM Internet components.
  • Mobile Clients/Handhelds: Mobile sales representatives and service engineers can access the SAP CRM system from their laptops or other mobile devices to exchange up-to-date information with the central CRM server. The SAP CRM solution offers you the following, fully-integrated connections:
  • The SAP CRM system as a central CRM server with corresponding application components
  • The SAP ERP system (SAP ECC or SAP R/3) as a back-end system with tried and true ERP functions
  • The SAP BI system as a data warehouse solution with comprehensive statistical and analysis functions
  • The SAP SCM system as a global Available-to-Promise (ATP) check and demand planning solution
  • The SAP NetWeaver Portal as a tool that provides you with integrated access to all systems

SAP CRM and Other SAP Systems

Data is exchanged between the CRM system and a connected ERP system (minimum SAP R/3 Release 3.1I) using the CRM Middleware. A plug-in installed in the SAP ERP system acts as a counterpart to the R/3 adapter in the SAP CRM system, supporting data communication between the two systems. The data exchange includes the initial transfer of Customizing, master, and transactional data to the SAP CRM System, and the transfer of delta data in both directions. Also a non-SAP ERP system can be connected to SAP CRM.

Sales orders can be entered in the Internet Sales application component, the Interaction Center, a mobile device, or the CRM server. To confirm whether the requested items can be delivered on time, you need to run the Available-to-Promise (ATP) availability check. The SAP Supply Chain Management component performs these functions.

The SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) is used as a data source for parts of the SAP CRM solution, and also contains data for consolidation and analysis.

As of SAP ECC 6.0, the plug-in will be contained directly in SAP ECC. Until SAP ECC 6.0 the plug-in is delivered separately and has to be installed.

CRM Middleware

The SAP CRM solution supports the handling of CRM business objects (such as customers and prospects, activities and opportunities, and products and product catalogs) in a variety of application components including Internet Sales, Service Interaction Center, Telesales and Campaign Management. Some of these components require external extensions for communication and integration. These components will be described in more detail in later sections.

The middleware layer supports the controlled data exchange with other systems such as mobile clients, back-end systems, and data ware houses. A replication procedure guarantees consistent and up-to-date data in the distributed local databases, especially for mobile users. Message queuing ensures data delivery and processing.

Software adapters are used to connect to external systems. These adapters are responsible for assigning data and converting it to other formats. Both the ASCII adapter and external interfaces are provided for this. The SAP CRM application components also exchange data with the middleware layer using a CRM adapter. The SAP CRM component builds on the SAP Basis system, which provides a proven development platform, scalability, platform independence, and various other SAP tools. Therefore, the SAP CRM solution can be configured just as flexibly as an SAP ERP system.

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