July 17, 2006
Salesforce.com Takes on SAP
By Robert Liu, TMCnet Executive Editor
In order to capture more of the enterprise market, Salesforce.com (News - Alert) on Monday will announce it has integrated its on-demand CRM platform into the SAP (News - Alert) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system as part of its Summer 2006 product release.
For $12,000 annually, Saleforce.com’s Enterprise Edition customers will be able to integrate their sales force automation (SFA) environment into back-office operations performed on SAP R/3 using the Salesforce Connector for SAP R/3 to gain greater visibility and transparency of customer data. In a press release, the company said the Salesforce Connector for SAP R/3 will be available upon request as a free option for Unlimited Edition customers – a new pricing model ($195/user/month) that was recently introduced in an attempt to extract additional value from the platform.
“I think this is a step in the right direction as they've continued to move up in this enterprise segment,” explained Liz Herbert, analyst at Forrester Research.
Salesforce’s SAP R/3 Connector
The product upgrade comes amid the German enterprise software giant’s own move into the lucrative software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert)) market. But despite SAP’s success in the enterprise market, it has arguably stumbled in its move into the on-demand space. Last week, SAP announced second quarter results would be weaker than expected due to a shortfall in licensing revenue and company officials cited competition as a primary factor.
Yet while SAP’s top-down sales approach has seemingly stalled, some believe that Salesforce.com’s bottom-up approach may yet prove to be effective.
“People are really trying to enable their business processes end-to-end. Often, a sales team goes out and buys Salesforce.com but down the road, they see they can't support the full processes,” Herbert told TMCnet. The Salesforce Connector for SAP R/3 provides the bridge into the accounting, finance, logistics, etc., so the efforts in the field can be fully supported by the enterprise.
Salesforce.com said the latest tally shows 22,700 customers and 444,000 subscribers worldwide using its CRM platform.
In addition to the SAP Connector, the Summer 2006 release also includes updates to Partnerforce, integrated with Salesforce SFA, and AppExchange Mobile, which offers full complete remote access to products and price books and Advanced Call Scripting.
“Interactive call scripting is very interesting for a couple of reasons. It allows customers to better script their conversations with customers” yielding a more effective call, explained Kendall Collins, vice president of product marketing at Salesforce.com.
Robert Liu is Executive Editor at TMCnet. Previously, he was Executive Editor at Jupitermedia and has also written for CNN, A&E, Dow Jones and Bloomberg. For more articles, please visit Robert Liu's columnist page.