William Band, Principal Analyst at independent market research company Forrester Research and main author of the study “The Forrester Wave: Enterprise CRM Suites, Q1/2007,” recognizes SAP CRM’s (formerly: mySAP CRM) end-to-end process integration and comprehensive functionality. “During the past tree years, SAP has worked steadily to fill out its CRM offering resulting in end-to-end process integration support,” he writes: “Most recently, the company has focused on improving usability and deepening support for strategic business processes.”
In the report Band notes that the solution offers particularly powerful capabilities in the areas of sales and distribution, marketing, partner channel management, and analytics. SAP Customer Relationship Management can be scaled for global deployments and offers numerous industry-specific scenarios, for example for the automotive or high-tech industry. The Forrester analyst regards the solution as the best suited for companies working on an international scale that already use ERP applications from SAP and need support for end-to-end processes.
Movement in the market
Thanks to these features, SAP CRM is one of the leading solutions in a market that is simultaneously consolidating and growing. According to the study “CRM Market Size And Forecast, 2006 To 2010”, Forrester Research, Inc., October 2006, the worldwide revenue for such software will increase from the current 8.4 billion dollars to 10.9 billion dollars by 2010. This growth shows the importance effective, IT supported customer relationship management has for customer oriented companies.
There are several reasons for introducing a software of this kind. Primarily, modern technologies help an enterprise achieve its business goals. They optimize processes and thus give customers a positive impression. Effective procedures also make innovations easier and drive sales growth. With comprehensive CRM solutions, marketing, sales and distribution, and customer services departments are able to analyze customer data in the way they require, which in turn increases profitability. The same applies for user-friendly user interfaces and workflows geared towards the work processes within the enterprise. In addition, modern CRM applications are based on service-oriented architectures (SOAs), which enterprises can use to adapt their processes rapidly to the requirements of the market.
Strategy of continuous enhancement
According to William Band there has been movement in the global CRM market. “The CRM application vendor space has been in turmoil during the past 24 month as larger players have been acquiring smaller vendors to gain access to customers and fill in product gaps, and disruptive technologies, such as Saas, have emgerged”, he wirtes in the study “The Forrester Wave: Enterprise CRM Suites, Q1 2007”, Forrester Research, Inc., 2007. “Meanwhile, SAP continues its drive to become the CRM market leader through functionality enhancements.”
The software manufacturer is meeting the growing demand for on-demand software – also known as Software as a Service (SaaS) – with its SAP CRM on-demand solution. With this solution the software manufacturer’s flexible deployment model offers companies a high degree of flexibility in implementing their growth strategy.
Almost 500 evaluation criteria
Forrester subdivides CRM software into three groups. Enterprise CRM suites are primarily geared towards enterprises with revenues of more than one billion dollars or over 1000 employees. They have a broad range of functions in numerous language or country versions. Midmarket CRM suites, on the other hand, generally offer more restricted functionality and are less suited to global implementation. CRM specialty tools concentrate on particular tasks in large enterprises and SMEs, for example marketing automation or partner channel management.
For the study, the market research company looked at 13 providers of CRM solutions and evaluated them in terms of 493 criteria grouped into the following categories: current offering, strategy, and market presence. The current offering category looked at the software’s range of functions and its suitability for various industries and global implementations. The study evaluated performance for data management, user friendliness, and the manufacturer’s technological platform, among other things. The second category dealt with the vendor’s product strategy and vision. Important issues here included the length of time required to achieve added value with the solution, and the services provided to customers by the vendor before and after software procurement. The software manufacturers’ market presence was evaluated using criteria such as the size of the customer base and the vendor’s available resources in development, sales, and service.
In the selection of the CRM suites it analyzed, Forrester placed great value on multifunctionality. The software had to provide solutions or tools for at least three of the numerous task areas within CRM, which include marketing, sales automation, field sales, partner channel management, e-commerce, customer analytics, and customer data management. Forrester also asked for references in the case of enterprises with complex CRM requirements. The criteria here were scalability, support for end-to-end processes, and the ability to manage a large volume of data.