Carol Burch, senior VP of Global CRM Business Development for SAP, says customers can take advantage of SAP's latest CRM suite without having SAP on the back end. But Lance Travis, service director for AMR Research, says users can't get the full functionality without linking to SAP's financial and order-management apps, because the CRM software is dependent on business processes and functionality in SAP's ERP applications. And even users willing to forgo all capabilities will still have to tackle some tough integration issues. Travis says "bits and pieces" of the CRM apps are written in Java, but more than 50% of the CRM code is still written in SAP's proprietary ABAT language. That makes it difficult--and costly--to extend the suite to the Web or other vendors' applications.
Still, some of SAP's customers are ready for the new release. Brother International Corp., a machine manufacturer in Bridgewater, N.J., last week rolled out the SAP call center as part of a yearlong deployment of its mySAP 2.0c CRM release. Tony Serignese, director of MIS for Brother, plans to begin upgrading his company to CRM 3.0 early next year, primarily to leverage enhanced usability functionality in the new call-center apps. In CRM 3.0, reps can link relevant customers to a reseller record without switching screens.
AMR's Travis says that for existing SAP customers, the latest version of SAP's CRM software delivers better-than-average analytics, data mining, order-management, and field-service functionality. But, he adds, the suite lags behind Siebel Systems in sales-force automation.