SAP updates CRM suite

Version 3.0 of SAP AG's MySAP Customer Relationship Management (MySAP CRM) suite is now available, the company said here Monday on the first day of its annual Sapphire conference.

The portal-based software allows sales, marketing, and customer service employees instant access to data they need to manage customer relationships, SAP said. It taps into various information systems, such as procurement, supply chain management, business intelligence, and financial management. It can work with both SAP and non-SAP systems.

SAP's CRM technology has made call-center employees much more efficient, said Bibi Mészár, project manager at Dulux (Pty.) Ltd., a South African paint manufacturer which recently added CRM capabilities in conjunction with an enterprise software upgrade.

Average training time for customer service representatives has dropped dramatically, she said. "It used to take about a week before we'd turn them loose on the phones. Now it's about one to three days. It's really a big savings."

SAP is banking on continued demand for CRM as a cornerstone of its growth strategy, along with software products for online exchanges, enterprise portals, product lifecycle management (PLM) and supply-chain management (SCM), said Hasso Plattner, co-chairman of the executive board, chief executive officer and co-founder of SAP.

In the first quarter of this year, 60 percent of SAP's revenue derived from these systems, rather than from the company's traditional standby, ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, Plattner said.

"You have to believe us when we say that SAP isn't a back-office company anymore," he said.

More than 400 companies worldwide have purchased MySAP CRM over the past year, the company said.

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