Categories: Founder's Blog


Sam Bayer


SAP’s CRM (it’s not used for what you think!)

Last October, SAP announced that they were offering free CRM licenses to the market.  Coincidentally, over the course of the next several months, we heard of many defections away from SAP CRM and a couple of others where it was evaluated and dismissed as an unaffordable B2B eCommerce offering for the mid-market.

So that got me to wondering…who was actually using SAP’s CRM and what were they really doing with it?

My initial attempts to ask that question in a few SAP Developer Network (SDN) Forums got my posts expunged from the ether (so much for open and free communication).

From: SAP Forums
To: Sam Bayer
Subject: Sorry your SAP Community Network Forum Post has been rejected
Sent: Dec 7, 2009 13:56

So I decided to take a few different approaches to gain some intelligence.

I first created a LinkedIn poll asking a simple question:

Which is the primary reason you are/have implemented SAP’s CRM?

1. Prospect Management
2. Campaign Management
3. Service Management
4. Order Management

I posted a link to the poll in every SAP Linkedin Group that I was a member of (there are quite a few on LinkedIn!).  Here is a quick snapshot of the results:

CRM Poll
The bottom line is that most people are using SAP CRM for Service Management purposes, followed by the classic sales force automation requirements for lead and opportunity management.

Not many people are using the Campaign Management functionality, and the least used functionality is the one we’re concerned with most, Order Management.

I must say that those results don’t surprise me at all.  Service Management, or Call Center Management, requires an awful lot of integration with SAP data (customer records, service records, financial records etc.) and is almost entirely used by classic SAP users…internal employees.  No wonder it is the most popular module.

I was also not very surprised that Order Management was the least implemented module because of the fact that thousands of non-SAP users would be using the functionality, their high expectations for ease of use and accurate information, and the reported high costs and complexity of customizing SAP’s CRM to be “fit for purpose”.

In an effort to substantiate these findings, I also analyzed the customer case studies that are going to be presented at the upcoming SAPInsider’s CRM2010 conference to be held in Orlando in a few weeks.

I parsed the seventeen case studies on the agenda into the same categories of my LinkedIn poll and here are the results (my LinkedIn results are in parenthesis):

Service Management – 40% (41%)
Lead Management – 35% (29%)
Campaign Management – 15% (16%)
Order Management – 10% (12%)

Seems as if there is a pattern here :-).

SAP will always win over SOME clients to use CRM for B2B Order Management.  So far, they seem to be the largest of corporations with an immunity to costly implementations.  But Order Management clearly doesn’t appear to be SAP CRM’s sweet spot in the market, at least from the market’s perspective.

It is ours though.

It sure would be nice if SAP would focus on their strengths and invite us to help them shore up their weaknesses.  Until then, we welcome all mid-size manufacturers to evaluate the suitability of SAP’s CRM solution to their B2B Order Management needs and then come talk to us for a more usable, affordable and easier to implement solution.


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