SAP’s Mobile Awakening

SAP and Research In Motion announced last week that they were partnering to develop a native BlackBerry client to link to SAP CRM, and then, eventually, to the firm’s other business applications.

The move is a no brainer for SAP, writes Vinnie Mirchandani, an ex-Gartner analyst and founder of the advisory firm Deal Architect.

“Salespeople are inherently mobile so it is good to see this from SAP., Microsoft Dynamics CRM and others have offered the feature for a while,” he wrote.

A number of questions about the initiative have emerged since it was unveiled last week. For his part, Mirchandani wondered whether going native on the BlackBerry would slow SAP down from “replatforming,” as other software vendors have reported it is not a trivial task to then port to Symbian or Windows, for example.

“In any case, it will be interesting to see SAP executives at Sapphire next week play up mobile computing while downplaying [Sofware as a Service],” he concluded.”

The new relationship has an appeal to a certain user base — but beyond that does not meet the “anywhere, any device” requirement that has become the industry’s holy grail, Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone told CRM Buyer. “It’s a positive step forward for BlackBerry-centric users, but this application is device- and network-centric and not necessarily network-aware.”

Other CRM Mobile Apps to Come

In case you missed the announcement in person, clips from the event can be found on YouTube. Part six of the series includes an interesting question about whether there might be a mobile partnership between the two companies in the future. CEO Marc Benioff hinted at a future demonstration of and Google services running on the iPhone.

This particular video, by the way, turned up on Twitter’s Successforce updates.

Best Web 2.0 Advice

Companies that haven’t figured out where Web 2.0 should fit in their business strategy and IT backbone shouldn’t feel bad — clearly, Microsoft and Yahoo are still fumbling with the problem.

Executives considering an investment in this area need to ask themselves a few fundamental questions, suggests blogger Ann All at The Visible Enterprise.

Among the most obvious Web 2.0 questions are “Could this expose sensitive data?” or “Will our IT department flat-out refuse to support it?”

However, the first question that should be considered, she says, is “Will this solve a business problem or create a new business opportunity?”

Leveraging Its Marketing Assets

Speaking of Microsoft’s failed bid for Yahoo, Forrester analyst Charlene Li has some advice for the company: Think beyond just besting Google’s lead in search, she says in her blog post, “What’s Next for Microsoft and Yahoo!”

“Microsoft should redefine the ‘battle’ to one where search is an integrated part of the marketing mix,” Li writes.

“Microsoft has assets and relationships that GOOG doesn’t have: 400 million users relationships through communication tools like Hotmail and Messenger, the aQuantive acquisition, strong display advertising business, and investments/relationships like Facebook. Moreover, AdCenter is well positioned to service advertisers on both the display and search sides,” she points out.

What they don’t have today, she concludes, “is a strong search user experience, the root of the problem.”

60 Reasons to Upgrade to Dynamics

Microsoft has a friend in Gold Partner Christian Espinoza.

At his site for Emerging Solutions, Espinoza is linking to a white paper outlining 60 — yes, sixty — reasons a company should upgrade to Dynamics CRM. These include the application’s “Reporting Wizard that allows you to create and run custom reports in minutes; in fact, no report development experience is required;” the Workflow Wizard “to streamline business processes without custom programming;” and “Advanced Entity Relationship Modeling that allows you to tailor CRM to work the way you do.”

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