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SAP Takes On Salesforce.com With Sales OnDemand

Cloud-based software helps SMB sales pros collaborate on opportunities, manage customer information, and improve communication using a social media interface.

SAP is expanding its cloud offerings and aiming squarely at competitor Salesforce.com with Tuesday's unveiling of SAP Sales OnDemand for small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

The software, on display at the CeBIT 2011 digital IT and telecommunications trade show in Hanover, Germany, was designed to help sales professionals collaborate on opportunities, let them manage customer information more efficiently, and improve communication using a Facebook-like, social media interface, SAP said.

Expected to become available next quarter, the software is based on SAP Business ByDesign, a business management application for SMBs that enables preconfigured best practices for managing financials, customer relationships, human resources, projects, procurement, and the supply chain, according to the developer. It is cloud-based software, where customers rely on SAP for installation, maintenance, and upgrades.

"SalesOD -- new design criteria: focus on people and collaboration, not on enterprise first," said Sven Denecken, VP of product management and head of co-innovation, in a tweet. "Customer reality is hybrid environment... Need [to] connect OnPremise and OD seamlessly... SalesOD first of many services."

The company also will simultaneously offer native mobile support for smartphones including Android devices, iPhones, iPads, and Research in Motion BlackBerrys, IDG 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 VP of SAP's On Demand line of business, in a statement. "This is particularly important as we seek to address this new business area, in which every person, however involved in supporting and meeting sales and business objectives, is our intended user. With these new solutions SAP is responding to the way in which people work together today to solve business problems -- anytime, anywhere."

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