SAP and Research in Motion Partner for Mobile CRM

BlackBerry-toting sales professionals will soon be able to view and update MySAP CRM data

At its Sapphire user conference, held last week in New Orleans, SAP AG announced a new technology alliance with Research In Motion (RIM) Ltd. to deliver an integrated sales solution for mobile professionals.

One analyst says that while the new offering should be a boon to users of SAP’s MySAP CRM software, it’s far short of a breakthrough. These days, wireless connectivity is an expected feature in any CRM solution.

The new offering combines SAP's mySAP CRM and SAP’s solutions for mobile business software with RIM's BlackBerry wireless handheld products.

RIM’s Blackberry was one of the first wireless devices to connect traveling business users with their corporate and personal e-mail accounts, thanks to its integrated support for enterprise messaging systems from Microsoft Corp. (Exchange) and IBM Corp. (Lotus Domino).

Officials say the combined offering will let sales representatives use their BlackBerry devices to access and update mySAP CRM data, which includes sales orders or CRM analytics reporting. What’s more, the two partners say, traveling sales professionals won’t have to manually synchronize their BlackBerry devices with MySAP CRM, resulting in a more or less always-on experience.

Ian Jacobs, an analyst with consultancy Current Analysis, says that while the combined MySAP CRM and BlackBerry offering isn’t exactly a breakthrough—CRM giant Siebel Systems Inc. has had a similar agreement in place with RIM for several years now—it’s nevertheless a very good thing for users of MySAP CRM. “In the grand scheme of things, this joint solution will not redraw the map of the CRM industry, but increasing the ease of access to CRM data by salespeople cannot be anything but a boon for mySAP CRM users,” he writes.

The new offering is significant because sales representatives can do more than simply view CRM information, Jacobs says. “[T]his is a two-way system—not only will salespeople be able to check order status, they will be able to use their BlackBerry to link up with the SAP Mobile Sales application to validate a sales opportunity while in a meeting with a customer,” he points out.

According to SAP, the new offering is actually a complement to SAP Mobile Sales, which is a component of mySAP CRM that SAP distributes in both laptop and handheld versions. SAP says that the online version of SAP Mobile Sales offers a range of mobile CRM functionality, and is powered by SAP’s NetWeaver integration and application platform.

The only downside to the announcement, says Jacobs, is that SAP doesn’t plan on delivering BlackBerry support for MySAP until later this year. In this respect, he notes, SAP is already late to the party: “Siebel … has been working with RIM since 2001 to feed its Siebel Wireless Messaging service to BlackBerrys, as well as other handheld devices. PeopleSoft and Oracle have also been working with RIM on similar ideas,” Jacobs comments. “This level of maturity in the competition makes the handheld access feature little more than a required checklist item for CRM purchasers.”

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.