SAP Reinforces Midmarket CRM Push

SAP AG may seem the ultimate enterprise player, but just as Siebel Systems and PeopleSoft are making more decided moves downstream, so has the German applications giant. This week the company is adding integrated CRM capabilities to its Business One suite aimed at smaller businesses. "Many people think of us as solely an enterprise player, but to be honest, the midmarket is roughly 60 percent of our customer base," says Bill Wohl, vice president of product public relations at SAP America. "It is a misconception around the industry that we are only newly focused on the midmarket space." SAP defines the midmarket as companies with revenue below $1 billion. So, adding CRM capabilities for a suite aimed at companies with a dozen employees and less than $200 million in revenue is certainly a new step. And this version of Business One--with full CRM capabilities--meets two very specific needs of the midmarket, according to Wohl. "We have really focused on rapid implementation of the type of capabilities found in mySAP, and a strong focus on micro-vertical approaches," he says. "These smaller businesses need solutions specifically tailored to their operations, but need them up and running within weeks." To accomplish this task SAP has teamed with more than 300 channel partners to offer highly verticalized versions of Business One, says Gadi Shamia, vice president of SAP's Business One division. Shamia also notes that CRM was something its smaller business customers wanted, but in many cases could not afford to add to existing systems. "Integration isn't in their vocabulary," Shamia says. "Businesses of this size need that one-stop shopping approach to CRM. There is a big reluctance to choose CRM solutions that need to be linked to other systems." "SAP will still have a hard time targeting the SMB market, but delivering integrated functionality is the only way to go," says Sheryl Kingstone, CRM program manager at the Yankee Group. "The holy grail for any organizations is to capture information from first contact to contract to cash. An SMB company will never have the IT or professional services dollars to achieve this, so the only way to accomplish this vision is through an out-of-the-box, integrated package."
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