SAP's Goal: Unseat Siebel

Like many enterprise players SAP AG seems to have one goal: total market-share dominance in the CRM arena. William McDermott, president and CEO of SAP America, recently said publicly that he would like to see SAP's market share increase by one and a half its current amount. In addition McDermott said that another major goal of its U.S. operations is to significantly increase revenues. An updated version of mySAP CRM, slated for release this summer, may be an important part of that plan. "Our mission is to be the dominant force in the United States and Canada," McDermott told Reuters in an interview last week. SAP America currently contributes about 30 percent of total SAP revenues, and McDermott said he would like that to substantially increase. The company has given no exact target dates or hard numbers, but it may be looking to see U.S. revenues increase to about 50 percent of total operations, similar to companies like Oracle. According to the fiscal 2002 numbers SAP released last month, the company seems to be the market share leader for the fourth quarter, But these numbers have come under close scrutiny, since Siebel is the only CRM vendor whose licenses all fall directly into the CRM category. "A lot of these reported CRM license sales are part of enterprise solutions where some CRM software is given away free and is counted as market share," says Sheryl Kingstone, CRM program manager with the Yankee Group. However, Kingstone says that SAP is poised to gain significantly more share, since it has a customer base of about 12,000. "These customers may look at mySAP CRM before anyone else, and that could be a big advantage, she says." Erin Kinikin, vice president and research leader for enterprise applications at Giga Information Group, agrees with Kingstone's points, saying, "It's hard to bet against SAP because of their huge install base. But to really earn the CRM leadership mantle, SAP has to prove it can sell CRM outside its own monolithic install base. SAP could end up number one without really being the number one choice for companies without an existing SAP ERP investment. " Michael Maoz, vice president of CRM strategies at Gartner, and Kevin Scott, senior analyst with AMR Research, both agree that Siebel is still the enterprise CRM vendor to beat. Even though the company saw some losses in 2002 amid a corporate restructuring, both analysts say that as a pure-play CRM vendor, Siebel is the market leader and that it will be difficult for any other player to knock Siebel out of the box.
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