Enterprise Apps

SAP Embraces Hybrid Approach with New CRM Offering

In a major leap for a company that only recently introduced the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, SAP announced it is combining its on-demand CRM application with its on-premise CRM suite in a new product it calls SAP CRM 2006s.

“We are moving our entire CRM product [line] to the hybrid model,” Angela Bandlow, vice president of strategy and communication for CRM, told CRM Buyer.

Although it only offers a CRM SaaS, Bandlow held out the possibility that SAP might roll out a similar offering for other product lines. “We are looking into that — it depends on what our customers tell us their needs are. Right now, though, this strategy is focused on CRM.”

Industry-Specific Features

Introduced at SAP’s ongoing SAPPHIRE conference, SAP CRM 2006s is expected to become available this summer. New capabilities include the following:

  • Industry-specific features for telecommunications order and contract management; financial services leasing and account origination; public sector grants management and social services capabilities; and life sciences contract lifecycle management;
  • New capabilities for high-volume business-to-consumer (B2C) environments; advanced call center capabilities; loyalty management; pipeline performance management; case management; channel marketing funds; and high-volume campaign management;
  • A user interface configuration tool;
  • A new Web services definition toolset that allows users to define new Web services on the spot to connect SAP CRM 2006s to external and legacy applications.

Not True On-Demand?

SAP is not the first to offer a hybrid CRM application; Siebel and RightNow Technologies, for instance, have been offering similar applications for at least a few years. “They are late to the game with a hybrid offering,” Nucleus Research vice president Rebecca Wettemann told CRM Buyer.

That, though, is not the main drawback to the new product release, she added. “It is important to remember that their solution is hosted — it is not what would be considered true on-demand.”

SAP maintains, however, that this release and last week’s upgrade to its original on-demand application introduced in February, indicate a shift in strategy.

“SAP is innovating its CRM offering with customers’ strategic business benefits in mind,” said Shai Agassi, president of the product and technology group and member of the executive board at SAP.

“By taking our entire CRM offering to the hybrid deployment model by 2007, we give our customers the ability to focus on their success with customers,” Agassi noted, “while we in turn see to it that the CRM application is integrated with backend systems and flexibly deployable in exactly the way the company benefits the most from it. “

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