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SAP Launches New CRM, Data Management Suites As Execs Tout 'Intelligent Enterprise' Vision

CEO McDermott vows to take the CRM market lead with the new SAP C/4HANA offering, which merges a number of acquired customer sales, marketing, service and customer identity management applications.

SAP moved on two fronts Tuesday to update and expand its software portfolio, unveiling a new suite of cloud-based CRM applications that incorporates technology from several recent acquisitions and a comprehensive package of data management tools to help businesses deal with data sprawl.

The new software was announced by SAP CEO Bill McDermott in a keynote speech Tuesday morning at the company's SapphireNow customer and partner conference in Orlando.

"When it comes to CRM, SAP was the last to accept the status quo of CRM. And SAP will be the first to change it," McDermott said in introducing SAP C/4HANA. "Legacy CRM," he said, "can't do single-view of the customer. It's time to move forward."

[Related: SAP Reports That Quarterly Cloud Sales Exceed 1 Billion Euros For The First Time]

The new cloud applications come as SAP continues its shift to cloud computing. The company has projected that revenue from cloud software and services will surpass traditional software license sales this year.

The new SAP C/4HANA, which the company said changes the sales-only focus of earlier-generation CRM applications, will step up SAP's already heated competition with Salesforce.com, Oracle and others. The suite ties together a number of front-office functions including sales, marketing, commerce, customer service and consumer data protection.

McDermott, in a press conference after the keynote session, vowed to leverage the new suite and the company's position in the ERP application space, to surpass rival Salesforce.com and become the leading CRM application.

"We will not waver, we will not bend until we finally take over the CRM marketplace," McDermott said. "This is a priority of the highest magnitude of the company."

Throwing down the gauntlet to the competition, the CEO noted that Salesforce.com lacks SAP's broader product line like the HANA database and S/4HANA ERP applications. "It's a new generation, it's a new moment for CRM," he said.

The SAP C/4HANA suite incorporates software from a number of recent SAP acquisitions including Callidus Software, the sales performance application developer that SAP bought in January for $2.4 billion. At the time CEO Bill McDermott said SAP planned to incorporate the Callidus applications within a new comprehensive suite of cloud front-office applications.

SAP C/4HANA also includes some of SAP's current CRM technology, including the SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP Commerce Cloud and SAP Service Cloud. The suite also includes ecommerce/multi-channel software from its 2013 Hybris acquisition, which the company has been selling as the SAP Sales Cloud, and customer identity management software from Gigya, which SAP acquired last year.

SAP also said Tuesday that it has acquired Coresystems, a Switzerland-based developer of customer field service management applications.

The new CRM applications are also integrated with the company's flagship S/4HANA suite of applications. "The entire supply chain is connected to the customer experience," McDermott said. "SAP is the business process company. Integration fuels intelligence."

SAP's efforts in the CRM space haven't all been successful. Earlier this year the company discontinued its failed SAP Anywhere CRM cloud service for small companies.

The new SAP HANA Data Management Suite is designed to help businesses and IT organizations deal with the challenge of collecting, preparing and analyzing growing volumes of structured and unstructured data from multiple, disparate sources.

The suite incorporates a number of existing SAP products including the latest release of the HANA in-memory database, SAP Cloud Platform, the latest release of the SAP Data Hub, SAP Enterprise Architecture Designer, SAP EIM (enterprise information management) Solutions, and SAP Big Data Services. The suite is offered for both cloud and on-premise implementations.

Today data management and analysts waste time wrestling with data in different formats, different metadata "and distributed all over the place," said Bernd Leukert, SAP's top products and innovation executive, during the keynote while expounding on the need for SAP HANA Data Management Suite.

"We want to deliver trusted data. We want to deliver connected, intelligent data," said Ken Tsai, head of SAP's cloud platform and data management product marketing, in an earlier interview.

A lot of SAP's data management software sales are made through the channel, Tsai said, especially to SMB customers. The new suite will be particularly attractive to systems integrators who provide data management services to customers and attractive to VARs who can offer customers an integrated package of data management tools. And ISV partners can develop solutions around the suite.

Itelligence, one of SAP's leading channel partners, resells the SAP HANA database and SAP Analytics products as part of its business analytics, data management and digital transformation services. In an interview with CRN, Itelligence CEO and president Steve Niesman said the tight integration between the SAP HANA Data Management Suite components will make it easier for the solution provider to provide those services to its customers.

In a series of presentations during the Sapphire keynote session, SAP executives said the new CRM and data management suites are part of the vendor's efforts to help businesses become integrated, "intelligent" enterprises. "Change has never moved this fast," McDermott said in his keynote, "and it will never move this slow again."

In related news, SAP subsidiary SAP National Security Services announced a collaboration deal with Amazon Web Services to provide joint customers with tools and services to help them transition workloads to cloud computing using AWS GovCloud as part of the SAP subsidiary's Secure HANA Cloud.

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