Data Access and Maintenance Across Two Systems

Feature Article | July 6, 2009 by Olaf Neumann and Christian Gebauer

HSH Nordbank building in Kiel, Germany (photo: HSH Nordbank)

The bidirectional interface enables the bank’s sales representatives, for example, to access and maintain centralized customer data from SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM).

A centralized customer information system

Since customer data management is key at HSH Nordbank it implemented a centralized customer information management system based largely on SAP’s business partner for financial services (FS-BP) components.

CAS AG Hamburg helped HSH Nordbank integrate the system into its existing infrastructure and adjust it to the bank’s specific needs. HSH Nordbank uses the central system both for maintaining its customer data and distributing it to downstream systems. This eliminates redundant data entry and storage.

SAP CRM enables holistic customer support

HSH Nordbank has used SAP CRM as its customer relationship management system since 2005. The application links its instruments for sales planning and controlling, thus serving as an effective catalyst for holistic customer support.

In the spirit of what it refers to as “customer-oriented banking,” HSH Nordbank oversaw the development of an IT infrastructure that covers every business process in customer-related sales and supports all of the sales processes at the bank’s individual competence centers around the world.

HSH Nordbank’s implementation of SAP CRM included a standardized portal interface that provides its sales representatives with not only the information available in SAP CRM, but also all of the sales-relevant data stored in the central customer information system.

This involves classification by customer segment, customer ABC analysis, and the controlling information for each customer. The system also maps HSH Nordbank’s entire business network, including its partners and the relationships among them.

Working parallel in two systems

To save sales representatives the trouble of opening the FS-BP component along with the portal interface to make changes during data maintenance, HSH Nordbank implemented the bidirectional SAP interface between its central FS-BP component and the BP component of SAP CRM.

Along with SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (formerly SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure), an integral part of this interface is the cross-system layer (CSL) functionality included in the standard. With CSL, the bank can lock objects – such as certain business partners – across multiple systems to ensure their consistent maintenance. Data consistency is important, particularly in using and maintaining data and objects in multiple SAP systems.

Benefits of the bidirectional interface:

  • Simple access to central data management in the customer information system from SAP CRM
  • Consistent updates of master and reference data
  • No more redundant data entry
  • Locking mechanism ensures security

HSH Nordbank uses the CSL locking mechanism for its maintenance interfaces. Here, the FS-BP component and SAP CRM are defined as the parent and satellite systems, respectively. When a sales representative wants to update data in change mode from within SAP CRM, the parent system is locked to prevent other users from starting maintenance transactions for the business partner in question.

The system then transfers and posts the current data through the SAP interface; that way, the data transfer is not classified as transaction maintenance. As soon as the user ends the transaction, the maintenance locks in both systems are removed.

Conversely, the procedure is nearly identical when users update data directly in the customer information system.

HSH Nordbank

was the result of the first interstate bank merger between Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein in 2003. It is one of the 12 largest German credit institutions. Besides specializing in global shipping and transport, top real estate investors, and renewable energies, HSH Nordbank’s second pillar of business involves its regional roots in savings banks, private banking, and small businesses and midsize companies.

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