Weighing in on SAP Sales OnDemand: Keeping competitors off SAP turf

In just one short day there have been numerous commentaries on SAP’S upcoming release of SAP Sales OnDemand, announced at CeBIT yesterday (March 1, 2011). So while I may not be telling anyone anything new, I felt I would be remiss in not commenting. Many have been headlining the announcement as a direct threat to Salesforce.com and Microsoft CRM OnDemand. Yes it might be, but not because it competes directly against either. But it just might keep these two competing products out of the SAP accounts.
SAP Sales OnDemand is exactly what the name implies… a tool for sales. It is just one of the three legs of CRM (sales force automation, customer service and support and marketing automation). But let’s face it, many companies that deploy CRM only use it as a sales tool.  Yet in spite of this limited slice of the CRM pie, John Wookey, SAP’s EVP of Line of Business OnDemand claims this solution is unique in that it is a more comprehensive solution.
More comprehensive? How?
Software solutions in the past have modeled a business process in a rather linear fashion. Instead, SAP went back to the beginning and looked at the business problem, which presumably in this scenario was and is, for SAP customers, how to sell more. What are the roles that all come together in achieving this goal? How do they interact now and how do they want to interact? Does it take a “village” to make a sale? When I first heard how good Sales OnDemand was at allowing sales to collaborate I was skeptical. The desire or motivation to collaborate isn’t always included in the DNA of a sales rep. But if it means truly getting a 360o view of a customer, then yes, collaboration is required.
And for that you not only need a sales tool, you also have to connect it to your other solutions, like ERP. I have always argued that a CRM solution does not provide a 360o view of a customer unless you use it for something other than what it was intended for. Where are the transactions, the shipments, the receivables?  And what about the unstructured data that floats across the Internet, feeding you important data about your customer? Feeds about their earnings, legal battles, trends in their market with a direct impact? Take a look at the demo on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fftC39Q7jM8&feature=player_embedded ) and you’ll see this kind of Feeds and collaboration is really “Home” for the sales rep using Sales OnDemand.
So to me SAP Sales OnDemand is more about connecting the dots. If it can truly complete the view of the customer, the prospect, sale for the SAP ERP customer, then there is no need to look further.
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