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SAP goes hostal with CRM

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After taunting customers for months, SAP has finally dished out its take on CRM as an online, hosted service.

The SAP CRM On-Demand Solution will go up against market darling salesforce.com and, now part of the borg, Siebel CRM OnDemand. SAP meant to push this service out the door months earlier and still hasn't delivered a finished product.

At the moment, you can only buy the sales module for $75 per month per user - that's $10 over salesforce.com. A marketing module should arrive next quarter, and a service module in the third quarter. SAP expects the per month per user cost to head toward $125, as you pick up more of the modules.

It's hard to imagine too many customers flocking to SAP's product when rivals are already offering the complete service.

"Based on salesforce.com’s focus on the small and medium sized business (SMB) segment, customers also running SAP back-end systems are a minority," AMR Research analyst Robert Bois said in a note to clients."That being said, salesforce.com has enjoyed some good success recently in moving into larger enterprises where SAP sits on the back end.

"In almost every case, these customers should stick with salesforce.com until SAP has further fleshed out the complete CRM offering. Today, salesforce.com has a much more elegant user interface, broader full-suite CRM functionality, and better customization and administrative tools."

SAP, however, disagrees with such tentative statements, declaring that it has changed the face of CRM as a service forever.

"The SAP CRM on-demand solution, a hosted, web-based solution built on the mySAP CRM platform, can help jump-start your CRM project," the company said on its website. "You can deploy the solution that best meets divisional needs - and move seamlessly to mySAP CRM as your needs evolve, without costly downtime, rework, and loss of data."

SAP has picked IBM as its hosting partner.

More information on the new service is available here. ®

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