Few years ago I participated in a strategic CRM consulting. The customer was using Siebel and SAP ERP. He considered other alternatives for CRM. My role in the consulting team was to analyze the CRM market and trends. CRM as a SaaS or on Demand was one of the major trends I mentioned. I wrote on SalesForce.com transforming the CRM market.
I wrote on Seibel on Demand as well as on other SaaS style CRM solutions. Sap was an exception. It was the only vendor with no On Demand CRM strategy or solution.
According to SAP, CRM should be integrated with ERP components and database, therefore it is not possible to properly implement CRM as a Service, together with Data Center based ERP.
I explained to the client, that sooner or later we will find SaaS CRM solutions by SAP.
However, about two days before we completed our paper Oracle announced Siebel acquisition.
The most important questions were: Is the acquisition is due to Installed Base or product features? will Oracle stop developing Siebel? What CRM product will be Oracle's strategic CRM product: Oracle CRM?, Siebel? PeopleSoft CRM?
My First Take was that Siebel will be the strategic CRM product.
Few months ago, I published a post titled: Future applications SaaS or Traditional? . The topic was the difference between SaaS ERP e.g. Workday or NetSuite and traditional ERP e.g. SAP and Oracle.
I recall these activities while reading Don Fornes's post titled:SAP’s SME Solutions – A Guide to the Product Portfolio.
Don's article described four types of SAP's ERP solutions related to enterprise size.
The most interesting product is SAP Business ByDesign. Yest, it is a SaaS style ERP suite.
Finally, SAP's product's portfolio includes not only CRM as a Service but also ERP as a Service. Don's observation of limited functionality in comparison to SAP's flagship SAP Business Suite is in accord with my conclusions as described in my post.
My other conclusion is that SaaS ERP products Agility is their advantage over Traditional ERP products. It should be remain seeing how agile is Sap's Business ByDesign product.
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