In this post I will try to elaborate more about the SAP CRM User Interface. I hope you have had a chance to already logon to a SAP CRM system in a CRM2007 or CRM 7.0 release. In such a case at least the screens you will see in this post should look familiar. Let's get started!
If you have access to a SAP CRM2007 or higher release , when logging on in the backoffice related business roles , you will (normally) land on what SAP calls the homepage.
The SAP CRM Homepage
The homepage is the starting point for every user in daily business. It contains the most important personal information and access to the most frequently used tools.
Now before we continue, you should also be aware that SAP provides at least 1 business role (IC_AGENT) which is used in the context of an Interaction Center - usually integrated with CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) and used by Call Centers.
Their initial logon screen differs, as their landing page will be the "Account Identification" screen, which could look like this:
I marked in yellow color the typical CTI related buttons that you would see in such an Interaction Center related business Role
With the red arrow I indicated the Work Area title of the "home page" which in this scenario would be "Identify Account".
Now that you know this..let's continue.
The User Interface components
If you have had a look at both screens above, you will notice 1 thing: they both have the same structure. Below I will illustrate what this structure looks like:
The combination of "Header" and "Navigation" area is what SAP likes to call the L-shape. Now this L-shape is actually the only static part of your screen structure. Nomatter what action you perform in the SAP CRM WEBUI, these parts of the screen remain visible and allow an easy overview of the common functionalities so the user won't get lost. The Work Area is the part of your screen that will change as soon as you e.g. click on a WorkCenter or navigation link from within the navigation Bar. Also clicking on hyperlinks; Edit and/or create buttons from within the Workarea itself would trigger another view to be called which will be rendered in the Work Area.
Let's now take a closer look to some of the screen elemens you"ll see in the CRM WEBUI:
The system links are:
- Help Center
- System News
- Log Off
These names are somewhat self-explaining. The personalize link offers generic personalization options for the user (I 'll treat this in more detail in another post soon).
The help center offers access to the "online help" using the knowledge warehouse. System News is the area where the user can access SAP System messages (e.g. when an administrator sends a message to all users about a planned downtime of the system).
The Log Off link , again pretty straightforward, is the link you should use to properly log off from the SAP CRM system, when at the end of your working day, you want to leave and therefore quit the SAP CRM application. (so log off from the system).
I will only give you a functional explanation about what it does. Again, I 'll elaborate this functionality in another blog post pretty soon.
Basically, for each business object in the system (this can be an Account , Lead, Opportunity, Sales Contract, Product,...) you have a create page, but also a Search Page. On these search pages, you typically have object attributes which can be used as a search criterium.
Example: Search Page for Accounts
Let's assume I am a sales rep, and I am responsible for all customers situated in New York. All other customers therefore do not really intrest me. I only need to update/treat/service those customers that belong to the City New York. (do take into account this is really a very simplified scenario, as probably my saved search for this scenario might be based on "Territory Management" where each customer belongs to a given territory , and on its turn, each territory is assigned to 1 or multiple employees (sales reps). As such I probably would use another search methodology to search My customers, and therefore have another "Saved Search".
When I look up all customers that live in "New York" I could do this based on city name, or probably even better, based on postal codes. Just as an illustration I did the search based on "City description".
My result list shows that more than 100 customers are found. (The system will only show the first 100, due to performance reasons).
Let's assume I want to have this output (which I hope you understand is dynamically) saved as a "Saved Search" in order not manually have to define my search criteria over and over, each time I would like to see "My customers".
In such a case I could now enter a for myself "meaningful" name or description in the field "Save Search As".
As soon as I press the "Save" button next to it, you will notice that this particular saved search will be available in the "Saved Searches" visible in the header area.
If you do not see it, just use the "drop-down" button . It will be visible in the list if you have saved already multiple saved searches.
By pressing the buttong "GO" the selected Saved Search will be executed, and the results will be shown dynamically.
Additionally you will also see that this "Saved Search" is also available on "my" homepage!
Again, by clicking this navigation link, my search will be launched.
Remark: these Saved Searches are "Personal". This means that each user that creates such a Saved Search will only see when is logged on to CRM using his own UserID. Other users will not be able to view this saved Search.
Note: there does exist an option to "Share" a useful Saved Search with other users, but this will be elaborated in another blogpost.
The Overview Page of a Business Object
Each object in SAP CRM has its own Overview Page, meaning it'll probably have a "main assignment block" containing the most important information about that particular object, and additionally multiple assignment Blocks (AB's) that contain relevant information showing dependent data.
I hope you noticed that the "Work Area Title" shown on each page, indicates what kind of Object you are currently looking at.
In the above screenshot, the title is "Corporate Account". This is useful to explain to your end-users when giving them SAP CRM introduction training, so that when they somehow feel lost, they always can look at the Work Area Title to see what they currently are looking at.
In the next screenshot I'll quickly show you some useful 'Page elements".
The Navigation Bar
Ok -- I hope you are still with me and things are still clear to you...
In this chapter I will give you a short explanation about the Navigation Area.
The navigation area is actually defined by the NAVIGATION BAR. A navigation bar is typically setup by a functional SAP CRM consultant like myself in Customizing (SPRO). The navigation bar on it's turn is linked to 1 or multiple Business Roles, but SAP still gives you the opportunity to change your navigation bar settings per Business role itself (which is done in Business Role Customizing).
Don't worry..I'll also write some useful posts about these topics soon enough.
In below screenshot you"ll see some of the elements that are defined by your navigation bar.
When I speak about "First-level Navigation entries" I am referring to what SAP calls the Work Centers.
Clicking on such a "Work Center" will make the CRM system navigate to the Work Center Page , which 'll contain links to the most important applications and are grouped according to tasks (Search Versus Create) and Reports.
Example: clicking on the work center "Account Management"
Now pay attention to the Search Area. This contains in this example 3 navigation links that are related to searching of a particular business object such as an account hierarchy, an account or a contact (person).
These are typically the 2nd level navigation links that you will see behind a certain Work Center. (again. this really depends on how your business role customizing is done)..
By clicking on the small "black arrow" next to a workcenter, the 2nd navigation links that are available will be shown. In this case, they happen to be the same navigation links that I could find back earlier on my Work Center Page in the block "Search".
The navigation Bar: Quick Create Area
In the navigation bar we also have something available called the "Quick Create Area" as shown in the next screenshot.
In the above screenshot you see that the there are 2 "Direct Link" groups defined:
- Recent Items
The CREATE group, consists out of several direct create links and they basically allow a User to quickly create a Business Object in the CRM system, without having to first navigate to the create page via e.g. the workcenter page navigation links. It basically saved an end-user some "clicks" or "navigation" in the system. That the basic point of whole this topic.
The block Recent Items normally will show you the last 5 "Business Objects" you navigated to. Therefore it allows you to quickly navigate to a specific object you recently "touched/viewed". This is "session" independent, meaning that if today I opened the detail screen of a certain customer, tomorrow I will still see this entry in my recent items (if at least it's one of the last 5 business objects I viewed).
Why I am mentioning this?
You also have something called the "History" Buttons.
If I navigate from one screen (object) to another this navigation is kept in session memory until I log off from SAP CRM.
Using the Back or Forward-buttons, I can navigate to respectively the previous or following screen I called up during my navigation.
On top of that, instead of just going back one screen at a time, I can also click on the small black arrow next to the Back or Forward Button, which gives me an overview of all objects I navigated to during this session, allowing me to skip multiple screens at a time.
That's it for now..
Speak to you soon.