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SAP ponies up on CRM visions

Despite the disdain some analysts have for an ostensibly "too little, too late" CRM strategy on the part of SAP AG (see related article), the software company unveiled a new release of mySAP CRM at its international e-business conference, SAPPHIRE 2001, in Lisbon, Portugal.

The new release of mySAP CRM features the ability to mine customer data from internal sources, as well as external market and survey information. Additionally, the software is portal-based, available through SAP Solution Architect. This offers users additional business scenarios and new role-based workplaces, specifically designed to enable service and marketing departments to view and manage information essential to customer service.

The latest analytical capabilities of mySAP CRM allow businesses to integrate all customer data into a customer information hub, which gives employees the ability to manage customer interactions in a more efficient manner. The use of metrics improves customer interaction, according to SAP. For example, the CRM analytics in mySAP CRM can permit a chief customer officer to segment customers by customer profitability or the strength of the customer relationship, which in turn allows the company to determine better go-to-market strategies and make more informed marketing, sales and service decisions.

MySAP CRM also offers extended channel support, leveraging Web chat, e-mail and call-me-back features, which are combined with universal routing. This reduces the cost of service, while helping to better serve a customer's needs, according to SAP. By the end of the year, SAP expects to ship additional functionality for interaction centers.

SAP is also packaging a flexible application framework for mobile and handheld devices with this new release. It allows access to mobile scenarios, both online and offline, for CRM and other business functionality. For example, a field service force will be able to access technical and customer data to read and update information from a handheld device, SAP said.

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