• May 19, 2006
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

SAP Takes a Dual Approach

SAP unveiled a series of products and acquisitions on Wednesday at its SAPPHIRE '06 user conference, supplementing the enterprise applications provider's efforts to continue its Web-based and service enterprise-focused initiatives. Among the product announcements are SAP CRM 2006s, its hosted and installed offering; mySAP ERP 2005, the latest version of its core ERP application; and BI accelerator, its analytics tool designed to quickly analyze business information.

SAP CRM 2006s, a hybrid on-demand/on-premise CRM suite, allows companies to select the most appropriate deployment model for their needs, according to SAP. Web-service enabled, SAP CRM 2006s allows for integration with SAP and non-SAP back-end systems. It also provides a user interface configuration tool and capabilities for high-volume B2C environments, high-volume campaign management, call center, loyalty management, pipeline performance management, case management, and channel marketing funds, according to the company. Industry enhancements include telecommunications order and contract management, financial services leasing and account origination, social service capabilities, and life sciences contract life-cycle management. SAP CRM 2006s's scheduled availability to initial customers is this summer, but perhaps more important, SAP expects to migrate its entire CRM offering to its hybrid model by 2007.

"We do not think that on-demand is a singular, pure play situation," Shai Agassi, president of the product and technology group and SAP AG executive board member, said during his Wednesday afternoon keynote. "We think that you need to have the same processes, the same governance, the same data, the same experience on both on-demand and on-premise."

This comes on the heel of SAP's announcement last week of new and enhanced capabilities to its SAP Sales on-demand solution and the introduction of the SAP Marketing on-demand solution. SAP Sales on-demand solution, unveiled in February as the company's first on-demand offering, now features account and opportunity management capabilities. Additionally, new pipeline performance management functionality is included, designed to better capture and track new and existing business opportunities, lead generation, sales execution, and client engagement, according to the company.

Complementing its sales-based offering, the SAP Marketing on-demand solution is its first on-demand foray into that branch of CRM. The solution's focus areas include campaign management and customer segmentation, and lead management. SAP's CRM on-demand functionality targets large and upper- midmarket organizations, according to the company.

Certainly not the first horse out of the CRM on-demand gate, SAP will have to contend with players with deeper histories in the CRM on-demand space like Oracle's Siebel Systems family, RightNow Technologies, and Salesforce.com. However, as SAP continues to offer more and enhanced on-demand capabilities, which the company expects to do about every three months, it may boost its chances of grabbing its portion of the on-demand market.

SAP has been busy gobbling up niche players and continued that pattern with two acquisition announcements made at SAPPHIRE. For instance, it announced the completion of its acquisition of compliance solutions provider Virsa Systems (officially completed May 12), and its newly created governance, risk, and compliance business unit. SAP also announced its plans to buy Frictionless Commerce, a supplier relationship management (SRM) specialist with on-demand capabilities. The deal, for an undisclosed amount, is expected to close in July.

While highlighting SAP's cluster of announcements, Agassi's address also underpinned SAPPHIRE's emphasis on enterprise SOA. ESA is "the core of the foundation of our road map going forward."

SAP announced the global availability of mySAP ERP 2005 and the general availability of BI accelerator. MySAP ERP 2005, built on the NetWeaver platform, is indicative of SAP's interest in enterprise SOA or ESA, which SAP describes as the combination of enterprise services and SOA, includes more than 500 productized enterprise services from mySAP Business Suite. The offering delivers industry-specific functionality and product enhancements including improved management dashboards and new collections and credit management capabilities. A new interface, coined Project Muse, allows users to access an SAP application from their Mac, Linux, or Windows desktop, and from integrated mobile devices, according to the company. BI accelerator, codeveloped by SAP and Intel, is an analytical engine within SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence.

Related articles:
SAP Targets Enterprise SOA

BI Will Be Pervasive

The State of the CRM Market

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