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Sysco Taps SAP For BI, CRM

The company aims to transform its business intelligence, customer relationship management, Web presence, and back office efforts using SAP technology.

Sysco, the largest foodservice supplier in North America, has selected SAP Business Suite and SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence as the IT foundation for a business transformation project slated for initial rollout in 2011 and staged deployment through 2013.

“We’re starting to pilot some of the customer-facing applications, and in particular, an improved ordering platform for our customers,” said Mark Palmer, vice president of corporate communication, Sysco, in an interview. “So far, we’re very happy with what we’re seeing.”

Sysco aims to unify business processes across its operating companies and 186 distribution centers while addressing specific business needs in the wholesale foodservice industry. By doing so, the company intends to boost efficiency, improve sales and marketing execution, and increase transparency through better data management.

"This is more than an IT project -- it is truly a business transformation," said Jim Hope, executive vice president, Business Transformation, Sysco, in a press release. "Using the power of SAP as the foundation for our transformation, Sysco intends to improve productivity, retain and expand business with existing customers, and understand where market opportunities lie so we can do a better job attracting and pursuing new business."

In a December 2009 Sysco investor presentation, Sysco’s Hope described the various facets of the projected changes, including an enhanced customer experience, segmented customer service models, a rich-functionality Web interface, a consolidated back office for shared services, and improved data management. Highlights include:

Customer Interactions: Customer contact teams will be created to maximize sales opportunities and the customer experience for existing customers, drawing upon customer information, including sales transactions, preferences and order history, from the SAP CRM application. Marketing associates, currently the primary point of customer interaction, will be able to shift their focus to new business opportunities.

Customer Orders: An improved Web site will provide customers with a complete order management system while bolstering sales capabilities with personalized recommendations and detailed information about nutrition, similar products, recipes and videos.

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