SAP, one of the last major holdouts from the on-demand application market, has finally announced an online customer relationship management service, called the SAP CRM on-demand solution.
SAP is describing its on-demand CRM application as a hybrid system that will provide an "isolated tenancy" model that combines the high availability and lower security risks of a single-tenancy on-premise application with the rapid deployment and user efficiencies of a multitenant on-demand model.
SAP officials said that this model would enable current and new customers to set up a combination of on-premise and on-demand CRM application services depending on their business needs.
The company announced Feb. 2 that it would work with IBMs Applications On-Demand Platform to provide hosting services based on IBMs DB2 database and on its eServer hardware. IBM also will provide consulting and deployment services for SAP CRM on-demand.
The first product in the SAP on-demand CRM offering will be SAP Sales On Demand, which is available now and will allow users to manage customers, contacts and sales pipelines. The company plans to introduce additional CRM applications, including marketing and customer service modules, later this year.
While on-demand competitors welcomed SAP to the fold, they also suggested that it faced an uphill battle to become a major player since it was so late in making the transition.
SAP is "just five years too late" in attempting to make the transition to on-demand application services, said Greg Gianforte, CEO of RightNow Technologies, a hosted CRM service provider based in Bozeman, Mont.
"They ignored this tectonic shift to the on-demand model for too long," Gianforte said. SAP hasnt had enough time to develop a real on-demand product, Gianforte said, and, as a result, the online product would likely prove to be little more than the SAP on-premise edition with a jury-rigged Web browser interface.