SAP AG is putting the final touches to its customer relationship management strategy and plans to release a roadmap of products within the next few weeks, officials said. They said that the roadmap will call for changes to its existing field sales product to bring it in line with the new strategy. When SAP launched […]
SAP AG is putting the final touches to its customer relationship management strategy and plans to release a roadmap of products within the next few weeks, officials said. They said that the roadmap will call for changes to its existing field sales product to bring it in line with the new strategy. When SAP launched the software – its first CRM product – in November last year, it said it would only be available in three vertical markets. But that was before SAP had announced its portal strategy, mySAP.com.
The latter requires that all SAP’s applications be available across all of SAP’s 19 solution maps, which define multiple vertical industries. We verticalized field sales from the get go, said George D’Auteuil, VP of CRM for SAP America. But when the announcement goes out in the next few weeks, we’ll add the other 16 verticals as well.
In terms of the roadmap, D’Auteuil said that SAP would release 16 CRM modules in all. Field sales and service will be available within the next seven to eight weeks while internet sales, customer self service, service interaction center and business partner collaboration will go into beta by the end of the year. Five further modules will be released by the second quarter of 2000, and the remaining five by the fourth quarter 2000.
Peggy Menconi, an anlayst at AMR Research in Boston said she was impressed by the breadth of SAP’s CRM portfolio, but added that it was disappointing that the applications wouldn’t be available sooner to enable SAP to better compete with the likes of Siebel Systems Inc, Vantive Corp and Clarify Inc, which currently dominate the market, and upcoming vendors like rival ERP company Oracle Corp. She said the fact that SAP was having to change its marketing message at the last minute was typical of SAP’s communication skills, or lack of.
Marketing and getting a clear message across has not always been SAP’s strong point, she said, but in terms of CRM I think they’re right on the mark, especially the way they’re presenting applications for the user. Menconi says the key for software vendors is not to focus on themselves and the way they want to sell their software. They should look at it from the user’s point of view. Think of their screens and see what different users see in front of them, she said, that’s exactly what SAP is doing with this announcement. Users get full front and back office integration all in one, for one license. SAP is the only vendor right now who does it that way.
Its strategy differs from rival vendors like Siebel and Oracle, she said. SAP’s strategy is to let users buy access to exactly what components of the software they need as opposed to trying to patch together a solution and pay for different licenses as you go, she said. Oracle, for example has 35 different CRM modules. One user may want six, another may want nine. The point is you have to pay separately for each of those modules. With SAP, you just get one license and then select what access you need. It’s the same story with Siebel.