SAP connects to Blackberry

In a move to support mobile sales forces, German business software vendor SAP has agreed to combine its CRM (customer relationship management) product with Blackberry wireless handheld devices manufactured by Research in Motion (RIM).

The new service, to be available later this year, will allow salespeople in various industries, including consumer products and pharmaceuticals, to manage their customer accounts more easily and efficiently, SAP said Wednesday at its Sapphire international customer conference in New Orleans.

The application, which requires no manual synchronization, will allow sales representatives in the field to update and access information they need for their sales calls anywhere and at anytime, SAP said in a statement. For example, they could immediately check the status of an open order when consulting with a customer.

Demonstrating the technology at a news conference, Bill McDermott, chief executive officer and president of SAP America, said he has been using the service internally for some time to keep track of sales in near real-time and referred to it as a "powerful tool."

A customer survey conducted by SAP directly before Sapphire revealed that one of their biggest demands were mobile applications, McDermott said. "This is an example of how we aim to deliver solutions that meet these demands," he said.

The Blackberry application complements SAP Mobile Sales, a component of the mySAP CRM application, which can run on both notebook computers and handhelds, according to SAP.

Under their agreement, SAP and RIM will contribute engineering, marketing and sales resources as well as consulting capabilities to the partnership.

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