Well, SAP CRM modules needed to be discussed, but I initially expected a problem with it. While it’s a useful thing, I figured there’d be little I could say that wasn’t already said, with it. Well, that’s not always a sin, but I expected them to have not had much to say to begin with either.
This happens a lot, where smaller things are so important to our field that I can’t not talk about them, but they’re scarcely big enough to fill an actual article. Much to my surprise, SAP CRM modules gave me something a little more interesting to talk about, first.
See, for a long time now, Salesforce dominated the CRM market almost entirely due to a clever and cost effective design model. Not only were reports, fields, objects and forms completely capable of customization to extensive levels, but they also have a rich API called Apex, which made developing endless extensions possible.
This made Salesforce a beast, and not only did it dominate the CRM marketplace, but it began gobbling everything else up too, through either integration, or by extended app functionality.
Shortly after that, their greatest rivals, Microsoft and Netsuite followed suit on both fronts, and now offer similar expansive functionality and integration. This won’t cut into Salesforce’s existing market, but it damn sure will cut into future acquisition by large amounts.
All the while, SAP has been working dubiously, to create a module interface like this as well, though more refined and task-specific. Different modules are built off of different templates, meaning more of a funnel for different applications.
One of these is CRM. Various kinds of CRM functionality can be developed on standard SAP configurations to easily dispatch and implement CRM functionality that specifically meets the needs of your company.
It’s basically the reverse of Salesforce’s expansion model, but powered by the same phenomenon. But, the final result is more or less the same. Now, I originally wanted to review a few of these models, but as I look into them, this isn’t really mature enough for ruthless criticism just yet.
Many of the models out there show a lot of potential and capability, but it’s got a way to go yet.
These are similar to the BI and ERP modules also being developed to allow SAP to expand into the all-consuming core mindset which Salesforce has taught all SaaS companies to now strive for. Could we be seeing the beginning of a new kind of platform war, SaaS version?
Probably not, but if so, that’ll definitely be fun to watch.
Like I said, these aren’t very mature yet, and a big symptom of that is the lack of real innovation within CRM that would give it an intra-market competitive edge which it in reality tends to lack.
Now, these are modules being built by various third party designers, and not the SAP team themselves, so I can’t hold this against them. Not that there’s really anything to be held against anyone anyhow, as technologies always go through this awkward phase.
But, SAP CRM modules have much potential, and competition is healthy. I’d like to see how SAP fares in the future as an expanded platform.