SAP CRM Software Review
SAP Business ByDesign CRM Review
With its on-premise SAP CRM software, SAP is arguably the CRM software industry leader. Of course, Oracle would take that argument as the two enterprise software companies point to differing criteria and sources for each to assert their top leadership position. Something else these two software titans have in common—they both delayed their entry into the cloud market, however are now moving full steam ahead to make up lost ground. SAP seeks to grow its CRM market share in the cloud with its on-demand solution, Business ByDesign, and to a lesser extend with its Sales On Demand SFA product.
SAP Business ByDesign is an enterprise-wide ERP and CRM application that delivers end to end integration across key business areas such as financials, human resources, supply chain management, project management, compliance management and customer relationship management.
SAP is cloud convert. The company's drive to the cloud is less about innovation and more about satisfying market demand. Market research firm IDC forecast the software as a service (SaaS) industry to reach sales of $40.5 billion by 2014, up from just $13.1 billion in 2009. More troubling for on-premise software companies, IDC also reported that the shift to SaaS reduced traditional software license revenue by $7 billion in 2010; a trend that will surely continue.
Whether hedging its bets or accommodating diverse customer interests, SAP demonstrates a split vision when it comes to the cloud. With Business ByDesign, SAP is showing it is fully committed to multi-tenant, enterprise-wide business systems delivered over the Web, consumed with a browser and compensated with a SaaS subscription pricing model. No cloud ambiguity here. However, with Sales On Demand, and the expanding On Demand line of business systems from SAP, the company is delivering cloud extensions to its on-premise business applications. The hybrid environment can certainly make sense for many organizations, particularly existing SAP customers, but how the two cloud strategies come together and impact the longer-term product road map for each as well as Business Suite 7 remains very unclear.
Despite some product delays, false starts, product retractions and re-launches, Business ByDesign has quickly advanced from a single-tenant sales focused module to a broad multi-tenant CRM and ERP suite. SAP initially targeted ByDesign for companies with 100 to 500 employees and 25 to 100 total users, however, later eliminated that upside limit. In reality, the company's initial on-demand target market is in largest part the company's existing middle market customer base.
Core CRM software processes such as account/contact/activity/opportunity management are customary and in line with nearly all competitor CRM solutions. However, SAP uses its back office ERP features to enhance sales processes that cannot be matched by CRM-only competitors. Sales staff can create quotes, check customer credit limits, verify inventory availability, submit sales orders, reference up-selling and cross-selling opportunities and review customer invoices. Clearly having visibility to more customer information such as credit terms, credit utilization and outstanding receivables offers a more comprehensive customer view to the sales person.
The marketing software is divided into the two management functions of market development and campaign management. Market development supports market information management, competitor intelligence and project management for marketing programs. The market development functionality is not particularly deep, but nonetheless offers useful marketing management features that are largely absent with most SaaS CRM competitors. Campaign management includes account attributes, flexible target list creation, group segmentation, campaign measurement and integration with sales force automation. It covers the basics.
Service is designed around customer care, field service and entitlement management. Customer care is largely a case management function with basic incident assignments, escalation rules and some knowledge management. Field service is somewhat unique among cloud CRM competitors and includes service and repair tracking, spare parts handling and customer confirmations. This is another CRM function aided by strong back office integration, however, unless and until it includes technician dispatch and at least some level of workforce management, it is limited to simple field service operations. Entitlement management is another somewhat unique function and useful for inventory carrying organizations, particularly those will serial and lot tracking, product registration, warranty management or service level agreements. Like its SAP CRM 7 (on-premise) big brother, service is reasonable for help desk and uncomplicated field service shops, however, not well suited for high volume B2C contact centers.
Top SAP CRM advantages include being one of the few cloud CRM systems fully integrated with back-office ERP software, respectable business process automation, a growing online ecosystem on integrated third party products and the backing of an enterprise software leader.
Top SAP CRM weaknesses include a user interface (UI) and user experience that doesn't compete well with cloud CRM competitors who have more creatively embraced consumer technologies, challenging (and costly) methods to perform software customization, mediocre social media and social CRM tools, a lack of vertical market solutions and absolutely dismal customer adoption and market share traction. Insiders also tell us that SAP Business ByDesign has a very difficult time getting attention (and resources) from within the company.
When evaluating SAP CRM or identifying and recommending the most relevant and direct SAP CRM competitors for comparison purposes, we first align specific company objectives to SAP CRM software functionality (to assess fit) and then consider customer factors such as company size, user count, user types/roles, vertical market, geo-locations, internal resources, constraints such as budget and technical considerations such as integration and customization.
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SAP CRM with ByDesign may be a good fit if:
You are looking for an enterprise-wide, fully integrated cloud CRM and ERP solution.
You're looking for a broad and integrated horizontal ERP software solution. SAP Business ByDesign includes Customer Relationship Management (CRM), financials, human capital management (HCM), supply chain management, supplier relationship management, compliance and project management.
You're seeking a tier 2 CRM or ERP application. SAP is slowly but steadily developing integration between ByDesign and its flagship (on-premise) Business Suite. While other cloud ERP systems also position themselves as tier 2 options for subsidiaries or remote locations where the SAP Business Suite is an overkill, Business ByDesign is creating superior integration in the forms of financial consolidation, master data management replication and complete business cycles such as the req to check process.
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