SAP Finds CRM Partner for Marketing Tools

Event Summary

On December 6, SAP revealed it had entered into a partnership with Recognition Systems Group of the United Kingdom to add marketing planning and campaign-management features to its customer-relationship management suite.

SAP and Recognition Systems have agreed to jointly develop integration between SAP's enterprise resource planning and data warehouse packages and Recognition's Protagon suite, which offers customer-segmentation tools to help marketing professionals plan and analyze marketing campaigns. The integrated offering will be available in the second quarter of next year. Analysts say the partnership will help SAP get to market on time in the CRM arena.

Market Impact

As we already indicated on a number of occasions, SAP has long been remiss in addressing and delivering its CRM product line, and has faced a difficult internal dilemma: whether to 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 to jump on the bandwagon and hastily deliver sub-optimal CRM functionality. It chose a third option of partnering. We believe that SAP has caved under the pressure from the marketplace not only to deploy a solution but to also articulate its product development strategy. If SAP had blindly followed its tradition and built marketing software from scratch, as it is doing for the sales and customer support components of its CRM suite, it would have taken at least another 12-18 months to deliver. We believe that this partnership will partially fill some gaps within SAP's CRM product strategy, although no one can discount the painstaking effort in delivering a fully functional product.

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. Users should also be aware of the fact that SAP has a limited product alliance tradition.

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