It was just a few months ago in December 2011 that SAP and Google revealed their plans to collaborate on several new cloud-based initiatives. The announcement entailed not only integration of Google Apps for Business into SAP Business ByDesign (see “SAP Integration with Google Apps”), but also support of the Android OS and Google’s platform for app development, Google App Engine.
The latter initiative in particular is expected to add a tremendous amount of functionality to SAP’s on-demand offerings. By supporting Google App Engine, SAP has now made it possible for independent software developers (ISVs) who build solutions on the Google platform to integrate them with SAP Business ByDesign and SAP’s cloud-based applications for lines-of-business (e.g., SAP Sales OnDemand). Furthermore, developers can sell their solutions in the SAP Store.
But ISVs are not the only ones who stand to profit from this collaboration. Ultimately, SAP On-Demand partners and customers will benefit from the added functionality and enriched business processes that these solutions bring to SAP Business ByDesign and SAP’s on-demand line-of-business applications. In fact, the promise that this partnership holds is already being fulfilled.
The first cloud application to be developed by a partner on Google App Engine and integrated into SAP Business ByDesign is now available in the SAP Store. The new app, called SnapEngage Live Chat, enables companies to communicate with their customers via an instant messaging tool – a service that previously was not possible in SAP Business ByDesign. On the next page, we take a closer look at the features and functions.
Instant messaging with customers
SnapEngage provides a live chat tool – think Google Talk – that companies can integrate into their Web site, online shop, or Facebook page. Customers who visit any of these company sites can then simply click on the tool to initiate a conversation with a customer service representative. The customer will immediately receive a welcome text, while on the company side, the available service reps will be notified of a new chat.
The first company rep to respond will automatically receive some basic information about the customer directly in the SnapEngage tool, such as a rough estimation of the customer’s location and whether the chat was initiated via the company’s Web site, online shop, or Facebook page. If the customer provides an email address, SnapEngage will search for it in SAP Business ByDesign and provide the company rep with the related customer contact sheet and account information. This way, company representatives will know whether they are dealing with a new customer or a key account and can act accordingly.
Turning a chat into a sale
The second point of integration with SAP Business ByDesign occurs after the chat is finished. If the company rep thinks that someone should follow up on the discussion as a possible lead, she can type a shortcut in the chat window (for example, “/record”) and the conversation will be saved in SAP Business ByDesign. Companies can customize this feature so that every chat is automatically saved as a lead. In both cases, the complete transcript of the chat is saved in the customer account along with a link to the original conversation in the live chat tool.
It goes without saying that SnapEngage Live Chat also works on Android-based tablets and smartphones. And since the release of feature pack 3.5 at the end of January 2012, SAP Business ByDesign now supports Android-based mobile devices as well.
SAP Business ByDesign customers who are interested in purchasing the app can visit the SAP Store for more information on pricing and solution details. Users can also easily find out if their version of SAP Business ByDesign supports the app simply by clicking on the solution compatibility check. A video demo of the app is also available.