MySAP CRM 4.0: SAP’s Run for the Top

SAP is gunning for the top spot in the CRM market, and analysts and company executives say the company’s new CRM release could help boost it toward that lofty position. Version 4.0 of mySAP CRM is an end-to-end suite targeting 23 verticals, including automotive, consumer goods, high-tech, professional services, retail and telecommunications.

“SAP is walking the walk about making CRM products about business processes, and they’ve put their money where their mouth is for a product that will give them global leadership,” said Louis Columbus, AMR Research senior analyst.

The company has a chance of becoming No. 1 this year, Columbus told CRM Buyer. Its year-to-date CRM revenue is US$1.2 billion, putting it in second place behind Siebel, which has reaped $1.4 billion in 2003. Placing a distant third and fourth are PeopleSoft, with $364 million in year-to-date CRM revenue, and Oracle, with $341 million.

Siebel’s Strength

Version 4.0 is designed to seize market share from Siebel, which is experienced at focusing on a large number of vertical markets, according to Columbus. However, Siebel is apt to put up a good fight.

“Siebel is a very able-bodied competitor known for its ability to compete effectively and won’t just roll over,” he noted. “It’s well known for its sales organization.”

Meanwhile, SAP is touting its new release as the largest, most comprehensive CRM lineup on the market.

The company has focused on understanding customers’ needs and determining which business processes can deliver ROI in a changing environment, Darc Rasmussen, vice president of SAP’s global CRM initiative, told CRM Buyer. The market needs to shift away from yesterday’s siloed approach, he added.

Calm in a Storm

SAP’s new release comes amid market uncertainty created by Oracle’s hostile bid for PeopleSoft, which was launched just a few days after PeopleSoft announced its own intentions to acquire J.D. Edwards.

SAP could be a big winner if Oracle’s pursuit of PeopleSoft is protracted, Columbus said, because some vendors are steering clear of the companies embroiled in the battle.

For example, Adobe Systems vice president of information services Gerrard Rutter told CRM Buyer, “I’m glad we’re not tied up with implementing a system from either [PeopleSoft or Oracle].”

In fact, Adobe has been working with SAP since last fall to expand its CRM program and plans to go live in January with version 4.0, Rutter said. He added that although Adobe has some legacy CRM software from Siebel and others, it selected SAP because of its ability to provide out-of-the-box integration between front- and back-office systems.

Adobe’s mySAP implementation, expected to be phased in during 2004, will include customer-service and technical-support functions for North America, followed by similar programs in the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region and Japan. Business-to-business enterprise customer support and sales-force automation lead management as well as incentive compensation programs also are planned for next year, Rutter said.

Modules of Functionality

SAP’s new CRM offering provides a modular approach to incremental implementation as well as an easy upgrade path for existing customers, Rasmussen said. Early implementations of individual modules have taken 12 weeks or less, he noted.

The new suite uses the company’s NetWeaver technology platform to enable multichannel interaction through a collaborative services architecture, improving analytics, marketing, sales and service functionality. In addition, MySAP’s channel management capability is designed to let partners manage their end customers and give organizations full integration and visibility into the demand chain.

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