Success at a Steady Pace
Customers say that SAP makes good on its guarantee to produce successful CRM implementations, according to a recent AMR Research report, but also reveal that they are not rushing to upgrade to mySAP CRM 4.0.
The findings of the report, "Customers See Success With SAP CRM, but Upgrades to mySAP CRM 4.0 Are Slow," indicate that the number of SAP CRM implementations is increasing, with the average seat size escalating to more than 1,000.
When SAP introduced the product, according to Laura Preslan, AMR research director and author of the report, there were several pilots with 20- and 30-person implementations. The average number of users across these implementations, however, was actually 1,055--showing a clear increase in the average number of users per implementation. "Some of those had 400 and 500 people user count, but others had more than 10,000 live users up and running, so its just an excellent proof point to show the scalability of SAP CRM functionality," Preslan says.
In fact, other report findings suggest that the functionality battle is over, with SAP ending it with mySAP CRM 4.0, in spite of the slow implementation of the product. "Version 3.1 of SAP's CRM product is the first place that companies started saying that it's not about features and function, so SAP made a lot of functional improvements in 4.0, especially in the marketing and the analytics areas," Preslan says. "When we talked to these customers nobody said to us that [Siebel's functionality] has so dramatically outweighed SAP that we had to go with Siebel instead. Instead, it was about architecture and integration, and the ability to have the same vendor for both sides, so they really just ended that."
Preslan notes that this is not to say that SAP's application has the same amount of functionality as Siebel's. However, she says, "in terms of what people actually use on a regular basis, they have reached functional parity--it's still a smaller functional footprint, but it has the stuff that companies actually want to use."
The most significant discovery from the study is that out of the two dozen companies AMR spoke with from May through July--all with SAP CRM products in place--50 percent responded that SAP was the only CRM vendor they considered for implementation. "That was clearly the biggest finding...because it validates the position we've been talking about--trends regarding application rationalization where functionality takes a back seat to the ability to have a homogenous application architecture," Preslan says. "So rather than looking at what is the best possible functional fit for this technology, companies are instead saying, 'Well I have an SAP back end in place, let me exhaust the possibility of using SAP before I even look at another vendor.' "
Preslan admits to disappointment regarding the minute number of references for SAP CRM 4.0, but she notes that the interesting element of the equation is that most of the interviewed companies already purchased universal licenses, which include the CRM functionality, but have yet to implement it. "Almost every single company we spoke with had plans to implement or upgrade to 4.0 in the next two quarters or so," she says. "So we expect that number of live implementations of SAP 4.0 to jump dramatically in the next two quarters."
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