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SAP to tap platform to boost CRM analytics

SAP's new integration platform promises CRM customers some added analytics perks.

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- SAP said today that its CRM customers will benefit from real-time analytics enhancements stemming from the latest release of its integration platform, NetWeaver 2004.

In June, the Walldorf, Germany-based company will deliver an extension to mySAP CRM so that business users can build software agents to analyze data from multiple sources -- including information not housed in SAP systems. For instance, agents could crunch data stored in software from competitor Siebel Systems Inc. or from homegrown CRM systems.

That analysis could draw conclusions on customers' purchasing habits, preferences or lifetime value, according to Darc Dencker-Rasmussen, vice president of SAP's global CRM initiative.

A new search engine, due to arrive in September, promises to significantly speed up customer segmentation analysis by tapping database technology found in NetWeaver. SAP said that marketers will be able to segment customers in real time, and contact center agents will be able to sift through millions of records to quickly resolve a customer call.

The engine will offer "sub-second response time on up to 1 billion records," Dencker-Rasmussen said during an interview at SAP Labs.

Because licenses for most NetWeaver technologies are included with the mySAP Business Suite and mySAP CRM, customers won't incur charges for these new features.

Gartner analyst Yvonne Genovese said that the enhancements will help companies make sense of the overwhelming amounts of data pouring into CRM systems. "A lot of customers say, 'Where am I going to get the value [from CRM]?'" she said.

In September, SAP added analytics capabilities to mySAP CRM 4.0, the latest version of its CRM software.

SAP isn't the only CRM vendor giving non-statisticians better access to analytics. The recent "democratization" of the space has included Siebel's guided analytics for sharing best practices among sales staff and Oracle Corp.'s customer modeling tools for marketers.

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