Warner Bros’ television distribution division has now replaced 11 legacy CRM systems with a single SAP CRM system running on in-memory computing platform HANA across all its global sales offices.
Warner Bros. International Television Distribution is delivering shows such as ER, Friends and more recently, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, plus films including Harry Potter, Gravity and the Lego Movie using SAP’s CRM. After migrating its US offices’ SAP CRM onto HANA last year, it went live with the system in the rest of its global offices just eight weeks ago.
“It was a pretty significant challenge,” said Warner Bros vice-president of project management Klaus Krug.
“On April 7 we went live in all sales offices, in all regions, in one day using the solution to sell our product. It’s a multi-million dollar business so there’s a lot at stake here for our company. But one benefit is that we can use a global template. The business processes are only different where it is a requirement, otherwise it’s now a homogenous process.”
Despite being one of the first, Warner Bros’ decided to put their CRM on HANA to ensure they were at the cusp of cutting-edge technology.
With changes in methods of distribution from television to digital outlets like Amazon and Netflix, Warner Bros’ wanted to ensure they were using a product that was flexible enough to morph with a business in flux.
Klug admitted that after the big bang roll-out across international sales offices eight weeks ago, Warner Bros’, “have not seen significant performance improvements.”
He added: “But now we have the potential to rewrite our functionality specifically for avails to be executed more on the HANA layer, than our other layer - and with that we are expecting significant performance improvements. With that we can look at big data and move our overall reporting concept to CRM as it is currently very Business Intelligence (BI) heavy.”
The distribution department typically process large contracts, as some television series could be 10 years in duration. A sample of everyday data that needs to be fed into the system includes rights and contract management, finance and accounting, licensee credit management and supply availability. Harmonising these streams following the convergence onto the CRM means Klug is, “dealing with some downstream data challenges”.
Daniel Belson, SAP technologies vice president at Warner Bros warned that other adopters should prepare for significant downtime and to plan for multiple test iterations, tuning and patches when it came to running their CRM on HANA.
“It absolutely helped our performance but it was not a magic wand,” he said.