SAP launches new ERP, CRM software

SAP unveiled Wednesday a new hybrid on-demand and on-premise CRM product and a new release of its core ERP product.

New product launches are tradition at SAP's annual Sapphire customer conference in the U.S., and this year's event in Orlando is no exception. The company Wednesday unveiled a new hybrid on-demand, on-premise CRM product and a new release of its core ERP product.

The new products show that SAP is continuing to invest heavily in enhancing existing products and is pushing ahead with its strategy to move all its applications to a Web-based, service-oriented architecture, company officials said.

SAP CRM 2006, to be available in the coming weeks, will allow businesses to choose between either an on-demand subscription-based pricing model or an on-premise licence model or even a combination of both, said Leo Apotheker, SAP board member and president of customer solutions and operations, in an interview.

"The whole idea is to give customers choice," Apotheker said. Customers who want to introduce CRM (customer resource management) may want to start with an on-demand model and move to an on-premise model after they have built up their CRM operations or they may want to run one CRM application, such as marketing, on an on-demand model and the others on-premise.

Because the software is written on a single code base, users will be able to move back and forth, which is an industry first, according to Apotheker.

The new CRM suite, which will include SAP's new sales and marketing on-demand applications, is designed to offer easy-to-use interfaces and a range of enhancements, such as financial services leasing and account origination, public sector grants management and life-sciences contract management.

In Orlando, SAP also announced the global availability of mySAP ERP 2005, the latest version of the company's core enterprise resource planning software, which runs on the NetWeaver integration middleware. The application suite offers more than 300 product enhancements, such as simplified configuration and administration, a new interface, improved management dashboards, and new credit-management capabilities.

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