Are SAP Customers Happy with CRM?

Users of SAP AG's mySAP CRM solution are seeing positive results--at least 35 customers are, according to a study commissioned by SAP and performed by the University of Applied Sciences in Ludwigshafen, Germany. According to the survey, titled "Benchmarking Study: Value Added with mySAP CRM," the solution enables considerable productivity gains in key functional areas as marketing, sales, and customer interaction centers, and accelerates time-to-market, time-to-volume, and time-to-delivery (reduction rates up to a median of 25 percent). Companies reported reaching 75 percent of their initial project goals after only 13 months, the study claims. The study also says that the companies studied saw a median cash flow ROI of 55 percent over three years, with a break-even of 22 months and considerable productivity gains across enterprisewide operations. "Surprisingly, the companies participating in the survey were unaware of the potential profitability increases enabled by mySAP CRM. Very few had even established a business case prior to beginning their CRM projects," Dr. Martin Selchert, professor at the Ludwigshafen University of Applied Sciences and author of the report, said in a statement. "Thus, studies that merely inquire into companies' perceived financial advantages cannot attain veritable results. This study goes deeper into the enterprisewide changes in operative processes and uses systematic guidelines to quantify the resulting gains." However, the study only analyzed operations at 35 of SAP's customers, and they were all in European countries. The study does not include any U.S. companies. The small study base has analysts questioning the validity of such a study. Sheryl Kingstone, CRM program manager at the Yankee Group, says: "Not only is it not statistically significant, but how were the questions asked? SAP's customer base is huge, especially outside of the U.S., and they only poll 35? If [the positive results] are true, why not conduct a broader survey?" Karen Smith, research director with the Aberdeen Group, says that the study base does not come close to what she would deem a conclusive study. "In general I consider 100 participants to be the minimum to provide reasonably valid results," she says. "If the survey includes 35 in-depth and in-person all-day interviews and onsite demos, etc., that can add more value."
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