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March 01, 2011

SAP Sales OnDemand Presents New Competition to Rivals

By Linda Dobel, TMCnet Contributor and Microsoft CRM Online could be looking at some stiff competition from SAP’s Sales OnDemand later on in the second quarter of this year. Although it was first discussed at SAP’s two-day analyst summit in December 2010, SAP is officially revealing its forthcoming application, Sales OnDemand at the CeBIT (News - Alert) 2011 show in Germany today.

Referring to that announcement of Sales OnDemand at the summit, Josh Greenbaum in an InformationWeek article said, “It's a good-looking, highly collaborative product that will give SAP a legitimate place at the table in competing with the likes of, Oracle (News - Alert) Fusion CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Finally.”

In describing the application in a press announcement, SAP said, “Sales OnDemand is designed for sales professionals, offering them easy and effective ways to collaborate with teams on opportunities, manage customer information in a smarter way and communicate effectively with people in their networks. It aims to help them access relevant and real-time knowledge and resources, and gain accurate insight into sales performance.”

In a video on its website, SAP explained that Sales OnDemand is unique in that it is designed from the perspective of the salesperson on up, as opposed to be designed from the perspective of the CEO on down to the sales level.  

SAP said the solution will be the first in its new category of “people-centric” solutions and will also the first to be built on SAP Business ByDesign. Applications for expense management and human resources will reportedly be a part of the series later on this year as well.

The company said the SAP Business ByDesign solution is the “linchpin of its cloud strategy” and is the platform on which this new line of applications is built. It said that in light of the capabilities of this platform, the new applications will have “the advantage of in-memory technology and on-demand deployment, as well as support for mobile devices.”

Sales OnDemand is designed to work on BlackBerrys, iPhones and the Apple (News - Alert) iPad.

Nick Heath in today reported SAP co-chairman Jim Hagemann Snabe described Sales OnDemand as "Facebook (News - Alert) for the enterprise" and said it was about providing a simplified experience, citing Apple as an inspiration. He quoted Hagemann as saying,"We do not have to build in more and more but rather to simplify. We saw this with Apple... who managed to change an entire industry - and that is what we want to do."

With the new applictions, SAP reportedly hopes to keep revenue flowing from it on-premise software while also tapping into the software as a service (SaaS (News - Alert)) market with current customers who are looking into more innovative models. SAP described it as designed for companies that are “looking for ways to innovate business processes in dedicated business areas without disrupting their existing software investments.”

IDG News reported that analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research, said, “Sales OnDemand is not, at least for now, a full-fledged replacement for SAP's existing CRM (customer relationship management) software, which is available in hosted form but usually deployed on premises. At the beginning, I would say it will have 20 percent of the full suite. But that 20 percent is what people use 80 percent of the time."

He concluded, “"This is a sales tool for sales people…Part of the problems most people face in terms of [CRM applications] is they've been designed for managers,[who] want things tracked and reported. This does that in a much more natural way. ... It's a very sexy product."

In other news, TMCnet reported, “Customer co-innovation, together with agile development practices, allows SAP to develop more quickly and with greater certainty that we are meeting real customer business requirements," said John Wookey, executive vice president, Line of Business On Demand, SAP.

Linda Dobel is a TMCnet Contributor. She has been an editor in the contact center space for more than 25 years, and has the distinction of being the founding editor of Customer Inter@ction Solutions (CIS) magazine. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

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