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SAP Takes On 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 targeting other specific lines of business with its most recent and upcoming on-demand applications. Later this year, for example, SAP plans to roll out a program designed to help SMBs optimize expense management by helping employees control costs, gain visibility into travel expenditures, and meet regulatory requirements, the company said. Another application will help human resource managers support employee performance management, development, and career planning, the developer said.

Currently, SAP offers line-of-business on-demand software such as SAP Carbon Impact OnDemand and an upgrade of SAP Sourcing OnDemand.

The next version of SAP Sourcing OnDemand -- wave 8 -- should become generally available before the end of this quarter, SAP said. The software was designed to help customers see into the sourcing process in order to get greater control, cut costs, and improved visibility, the developer said. In addition, companies can tailor sourcing and contracting processes to meet their specific business needs using the software's built-in support for best practices, training, user and supplier support, and sourcing enablement services, according to SAP.

All SAP's OnDemand family will integrate with customers' SAP Business Suite applications, the developer said. The suite consists of customer relationship management (CRM); enterprise resource planning (ERP); product lifecycle management; supply chain management; and supplier relationship management.

"SAP sees its job as one where it melds those two worlds as seamlessly as possible while recognizing that the notion of process centricity is being augmented by placing people at the center of how applications are used and consumed. That's far more than a UI makeover. It is a fundamental shift in the way applications are designed," wrote analyst Dennis Howlett on a Constellation Research blog in December 2010.

"Salesforce on the other hand is not handling a single business critical process. Shocked? Go figure. It is parsing pieces of the pie but it cannot legitimately claim ownership of entire processes. For that it needs its partners like FinancialForce, Appirio, and Workday on the apps side to get to a whole view of the transaction," Howlett said. "Add it all up and Salesforce is no longer a cheap option for sales force automation alone but a premium offering that needs the same close attention to cost detail as any SAP quotation."


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