Online Marketing and Advertising is a complex business. In contrast to classical advertising sales in Print, TV or other media, several different billing categories like CPM or CPL are possible – some of them are performance based which is another determining factor. Combined with different discount types, like agency commission or quantity scale the whole process from offering to sending an invoice is a highly complex process. Furthermore, campaigns usually are booked over a certain period which is not necessarily a complete month. In addition, agencies or direct customers like to have a constant report on what has already been delivered and how the campaign is performing, as well as intermediate billings. All in all, the requirements are aggravated.
From ERP perspective the complex requirements in media business used to be solved in the past mainly by two different scenarios:
- Upgrading your ERP system with a vertical solution that handles all the calculation, provisioning and invoicing issues. SAP IS-M/AM is a good example for this vertical ERP add on
- Implementing a hybrid solution that is either used to fulfill basic sales and marketing requirements, as well as the calculation and invoicing. In the German market, Mueller-Pranges Verlagsmanager is a good example.
Today, cloud technology offers a more efficient solution. A sophisticated ERP integration enables not just time advantages but also cost advantages. Since many companies and businesses have to deal with an enormous amount of data, managing it requires too much time and may cause mistakes. Especially in online advertising sales and with predicted shift from traditional media to digital selling (IPTV, Ipad, …) integration demand in order to succeed with requirements will increase. By the means of the ERP integration, there will be no need spending to much time transferring data and the error rate will be minimized.
The whole process can be fully automated as we experienced even for cross media. Salesforce.com calculates all relevant prices/discounts and sends them to the ERP in a complete set. As a result, the ERP system creates an order and later an invoice which includes all this based data. In return salesforce.com gets information on the payment status or the status of the overdue notice of the customer.
As the online business is much more earlier in the product life cycle it is usually much more easier to set up the above mentioned process because of not having to consider too many infrastructure interactions from the past. Nevertheless, it seems to work even for print business, respectively cross media no matter if there is a pure ERP environment or an ERP vertical like SAP IS-M/AM. We are pretty confident to have a cross media, reference project integrated with SAP IS-M/AM by the end of the year 2010 with one of Germany’s major publishers.