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Brother Pursues Integrated CRM Strategy with SAP to Save More Than $1.6 Million Annually

  Product Review published in DM Review Magazine
March 2003 Issue
  By Dennis Upton
Review of: mySAP CRM from SAP


REVIEWER: Dennis Upton, CIO for Brother International.

BACKGROUND: Brother is a growing brand, recognized worldwide for providing high-quality, value-added products for the home and office. Although a proven leader in the highly competitive information and document business, Brother was spending millions of dollars annually on customer service and needed a better way to manage customer calls to prevent unnecessary product returns.

PLATFORMS: Sun UNIX servers and Dell Windows 2000 servers.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Using mySAP CRM for service center operations, Brother significantly reduced its number of products returned, saving the company more than $1.6 million per year; reduced time for servicing end users by 40 percent to save $1.80 per customer call; and reduced service time for dealers by 50 percent, valued at $3.50 per work order and $1 per swap. To achieve this success, Brother consolidated nine separate legacy databases into one integrated database, resulting in lower maintenance costs which accrue as the customer base grows over time. More than 1.5 million customer records have already been created, and 6,000 are added daily.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: In addition to the existing call center and campaign management functionality already in place with mySAP CRM, additional functionality was added over the course of the year, including: catalog and campaign management tools, business-to-consumer and business-to-Internet sites, telesales and telemarketing, enhanced marketing planning and customer segmentation, a solutions database for call center agents, call center scripting, e-mail integration, activity monitoring, work-order processing, order entry and opportunity management functionality. In 2003, Brother's inside sales force will fully use lead and opportunity management functionality, and the solution database for customer self-service will be Web-enabled. Brother will also continue expanding Web-based capabilities for consumers and business customers.

STRENGTHS: mySAP CRM offers tight integration with the full R/3 suite and excellent functionality. With mySAP CRM, there is no need to worry about the front end working with the back end, which is a major element in reducing support costs and leads to lower TCO. The product is very stable and is provided by a stable ERP vendor. Functionality is available right out of the box, and no large work-arounds are needed.

WEAKNESSES: The e-mail processes of mySAP CRM need to be improved. The requirement for some processes to be on an NT environment and not on UNIX should be addressed.

SELECTION CRITERIA: After implementing SAP's ERP system in 1994 to replace all other legacy systems, Brother decided that all new functionality would be integrated rather than added on as disparate systems over time. Brother selected SAP for CRM after realizing that the other CRM vendors offered "bolt-on" solutions that would undo many of the benefits of an integrated system, create new risks and be more costly to implement and support. Brother chose mySAP CRM to continue pursuing a strategy that fully integrated CRM with the rest of the company's business applications.

DELIVERABLES: With the use of SAP Business Information Warehouse (BW), most external reporting is done on an ad hoc basis. Performance measures of the call center activities along with daily transmissions of all product-oriented call data are reported daily to our headquarters in Japan for use of engineering, quality assurance and R&D.; Information is available online to marketing, sales, distribution and executive management through online presentations. Campaigns for selling purposes as well as proactive customer assistance are provided through e-mail and/or facsimile. Essentially, the wealth of information we now collect regarding our consumers is available for a multitude of purposes.

VENDOR SUPPORT: To optimize knowledge transfer from SAP's consultants and build the competency of Brother's own MIS team during pre-implementation, one SAP consultant was matched with each Brother developer. For a period of six months, SAP's consultants would spend one week on site at Brother followed by two weeks off site. This three-week cycle was repeated eight times over the six-month period. With the success of the staggered on-site presence and the "buddy system," all SAP consultants were released before Brother began rolling out the system in June 2001. SAP remains involved today even though we are a mature product user. The method used to communicate issues with SAP is clearly defined and very effective.

DOCUMENTATION: The CRM documentation is very good; however, as with any software product, use along with documentation is really needed to get the best understanding.


For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Analytic Applications and CRM.

Dennis Upton, CIO for Brother International.

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