• June 7, 2002
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

mySAP CRM Is 'People Centric'

At its SAPPHIRE 02 conference, held at the Orange County Convention Center, SAP's top brass pushed their focus on CRM and addressed industry challenges including the threat of Microsoft Corp. entering the market. Addressing Hasso Plattner, co-chairman and chief executive of SAP AG, Henning Kagermann, also co-chairman and chief executive of SAP AG and Leo Apotheker, newly appointed president of global field operations. Apotheker was formerly president of European operations. His new role places him largely responsible for SAP's U.S. market penetration.) The most significant CRM related news at SAP's international e-business conference is the expansion of mySAP CRM to be more people centric, SAP executives said during a press conference at the event. Building on its Web-based portal technology infrastructure from mySAP Technology, mySAP CRM provides individual users with a customized, intuitive, role-based environment that delivers access to relevant information for customer-centric business processes from multiple data sources both internal and external to the enterprise. These business processes will be available online and offline, as well as through mobile and handheld devices. Shortly into the press conference, however, the attention was diverted to Microsoft. Responding to a question from the audience about Microsoft going for SAP's throat with its CRM push, Plattner retorted Microsoft is nowhere near SAP's throat. "Microsoft is at our socks! It itches a little," Plattner said laughing. Plattner, of course, is able to laugh because SAP is roughly six months ahead of Microsoft with its CRM solution mySAP CRM, being demonstrated on the show floor. Microsoft has yet to deliver a product from the newly combined Microsoft Great Plains entity - a CRM product is slated for the fourth quarter. "We don't have the channel and the billions of dollars [Microsoft has], but we have the technology now," Plattner said. "For quite some time, we will not see Microsoft as a competitor." "Why did Microsoft buy Great Plains and then Navision in Europe? That only means that Great Plains failed in Europe," Plattner stated. Meanwhile, SAP set up a CRM theater on the show floor where customers demonstrated their mySAP CRM successes to attendees. One such customer included Dennis Upton, chief information officer of MIS at Brother International. Upton implemented mySAP CRM to learn more about the printer manufacturer's customers. "We have all these millions of people that buy our products and we don't know that much about them," Upton said. After starting the CRM implementation in January 2001, Brother has processed over 85,000 orders through the CRM application and created its own independent support organization. Thanks to mySAP CRM, the printer maker realized124 percent of its return on investment. Other CRM news at SAPPHIRE include some expanded partnerships with such companies as Aspect Communications to provide call center customer interaction management software underneath mySAP CRM applications, as well as an agreement with Adobe for automating document and forms-based processing, which enables the electronic delivery of digitally signed documents. This feature, which is already legally accepted in Switzerland, can facilitate the digital delivery of handwritten signatures.
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