joanna erbel

CRM Software & SAP CRM

SAP is the largest enterprise software company in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. SAP operates three business segments of Product, Consulting, and Training. The German company has sales and development locations in more than 50 countries and is listed on several stock exchanges, including the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and NYSE under the symbol-SAP.

SAP CRM is particularly strong in vertical market solutions. SAP invests in 27 industry solutions in order to deliver vertically focused CRM and ERP software products. The few industries that seem to get the most attention and resourcing include business services, consumer product goods, financial services (particularly banking), government and public sector, oil and gas, retail and etail, telecommunications, transportation and utilities. The SAP business partner channels and online ecosystems provide broad support for other industry specific solutions.

SAP counts over 108,000 customers of all sizes, vertical markets and locations. While SAPs flagship ERP product, Business Suite, is designed for the largest enterprise-sized companies, that market is increasingly saturated and SAP is being forced to move down market in order to continue its growth. The middle market is not a new focus for the company but an increased focus, and one where the company has success but is also clearly challenged. SAP counts 78%, or just over 80,000, of its 102,500 customers as small and midsize enterprises (SMEs). However, the company counts organizations with 2,500 and fewer employees as midsize, which appears to be a self serving definition.

SAP customers have developed strong user groups that engage and collaborate with SAP at the highest levels. These user groups are normally not-for-profit entities made up of both customers and partners which deliver education, share their experiences and collectively influence SAP as their supplier. Their influence was notably recognized when SAP announced big increases in annual maintenance fees, which were later deferred and more closely tied to value, based on the user groups input and feedback. User groups are organized by territory, such as the Americas SAP Users Group (ASUG) or the German speaking SAP User Group (DSAG).