SAP Details CRM Plans




Event Summary

"CRM will become our major driver for business revenue," SAP chairman Hasso Plattner said on November 9 at a briefing on SAP's front-office strategy. It is a heady statement for the company, whose forays into CRM over the past year have been troubled at best, with significant delays in application delivery. Yet the company has stated that it would be rolling out its crucial front-office components next month, and will round out its basic CRM suite by early next year. On Dec. 15, the company will ship a telesales application, as well an Internet portal that pulls customer information from multiple sources, including R/3 systems and third-party applications. But a marketing-campaign management application, also expected this year, will not ship until the second quarter of 2000. Plattner, while hesitating to put an official number on the company's planned growth in the front-office market, said he believed it would hit $200 million in CRM revenue and related products. He added that this was a conservative estimate. "The market will continue to grow", he said, "because while most businesses have operational transactions well in hand, they are only now learning to use technology to serve and sell to customers".

Market Impact

SAP has long been remiss in addressing and delivering its CRM product line, and has faced a difficult internal dilemma. It could fully integrate its internally developed CRM modules with its R/3 ERP system and risk the possibility of losing customers to quicker-to-market ERP competitors or CRM niche players, or it could jump on the bandwagon and hastily deliver suboptimal CRM functionality. The Company opted for the first alternative by following its corporate culture and bidding on its customers' loyalty. SAP is significantly late to market with its recent CRM announcement, and trails Siebel and Oracle in the offered functionality scope.

User Recommendations

We believe that SAP is slowly moving in the right direction, and has huge financial, sales and personnel resources to throw at the problem. Nevertheless, users are advised to consider both product maturity and functionality in their evaluations and make comparisons to competitive offerings.

 
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