Last year, the iPhone was a play thing still hidden away, but now it’s come out of the closet and stolen the limelight in the business world. When the SAP.info editorial team attended the CRM-expo 2009, the BlackBerry was the star of mobile customer relationship software. But while exhibitors were still talking about whether the iPhone could break into the business segment, we picked up on the advantages of using it with enterprise software (see our article: iPhone or BlackBerry – Comparing the Future of CRM).
This year, there’s no doubt that Apple’s smartphone has taken the lead. SAP partner itelligence, for example, demonstrated how users can work with Sybase Mobile Sales – as well as with SAP CRM 7.0 – on their iPhones. With the Sybase solution, field sales employees have the most important CRM functions – such as leads, contacts, and opportunities – at their fingertips. While users can manage (potential) customer contacts with the “leads” function, they can calculate sales opportunities and map them according to region and industry with the “opportunities” feature. As soon as a data connection is established, the mobile application is synchronized with the company’s customer relationship management system.
Enhancement package 1 for SAP CRM 7.0
At the itelligence booth, visitors saw for themselves the improvements that enhancement package 1 brought to SAP CRM 7.0. For instance, credit checks are integrated with service processing, and marketing employees will be able to save time, because they can now easily select the candidates they need from the huge volume of customer data. If, for example, users want to select from their customer master all the male candidates who are teachers and live in the United States, they can do this in a matter of seconds. Then the marketing department has the data basis it needs for its campaign.
Sybase Mobile Service slated to be launched in 2011
For Sybase Mobile Sales to work, middleware such as SAP NetWeaver Mobile or Sybase Unwired Platform must be available. Tobias Philipp, presales manager EMEA at Sybase, calmed customers who are worried that SAP will drop SAP NetWeaver Mobile. The plan is for both platforms to exist side-by-side. However, Philipp admitted that he couldn’t predict what the situation would be like in two years’ time. Nevertheless, he guaranteed future-proof planning for customers and also announced Sybase Mobile Service’s appearance in 2011.
Mobile software for BlackBerrys
But BlackBerry owners weren’t left out altogether and new mobile software was on show for them, too. For example, IT service provider SystAG got together with Porsche service partner Mieschke Hofmann und Partner to develop a homegrown SAP solution for BlackBerrys. The client comprises the most important SAP CRM modules, such as “customer,” “call list,” and “activities.” The software is available for a one-time fee of €40,000. The disadvantage is that the mobile solution is automatically synchronized every 15 minutes. As a result, it may be the case that data is updated with a greater delay than with Sybase Mobile Sales.
Technology provider ISEC7’s Mobility for SAP gets by with no middleware whatsoever. In our tour of SAPPHIRE NOW 2010, we already presented the solution in detail. The BlackBerry hooks up with the server at headquarters using an ABAP-based Web service add-on. ISEC7 pledges a short implementation period of between just five and six days.
The ebf connector, which you can download here, was also presented at the CRM-expo. It synchronizes appointments, customer data, and tasks with the company’s e-mail system and with the SAP ERP application. Consequently, employees at head office can see when field sales staff have entered new appointments in their calendars while on the road. This prevents double bookings and overlaps when appointments are arranged.
Next page: Generating sales with Twitter
Generating sales with Twitter
With a total of 178 exhibitors and 110 presentations, visitors to the CRM-expo had the opportunity to find out about new software for sales and marketing and meet service providers face to face. While last year’s event focused on topics such as service, mobility, and security, social CRM was this year’s talking point. What sales channels and communication options have Facebook, Twitter, and co. brought to the business world? How can you create viral campaigns in the B2B environment? According to a survey by Deutsche Telekom, 80% of managers are active in social networks. Barriers are coming down, making it easier for people to contact CIOs directly through XING, LinkedIn, or Facebook.
Classic customer relationship management is changing as a result of social media. Twitter and the like have become new sales channels for companies. Georg Blum, managing director of CommunDia and chairperson of the Council Customer Relationship Management within the DDV (German Dialog Marketing Association) gave the example of Dell. According to its own sources, in 2008 and 2009, Dell generated sales of U.S.$6.5 million through social media. It used Twitter to advertise special offers and address customer complaints, and it also set up its own micro sites and communities, like Direct2Dell and IdeaStorm.
With its chat options, Facebook offers organizations the chance to communicate directly with their fans, enabling companies to talk to their customers, Blum said. And there’s no need to be afraid of undesired comments, he added. Criticism may look like it’s damaging the company’s image, but it gives enterprises the opportunity to react appropriately and iron out mistakes. In the end, this ensures that customers are satisfied. Prohibiting employees from participating in online social networks is pointless, Blum continued. Using LinkedIn and other sites, companies can position themselves and attract new employees – instead of just sitting back and letting their own people be poached.