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Hosted CRM Face-Off

This article was was originally published online in a different form.

The CRM on-demand market is a noisy place, with much of the sound generated by and its larger-than-life CEO, Marc Benioff. Rising above the din are two offerings--an update from a mature player in the hosted customer-relationship management space and a long-anticipated entry from one of the world's largest software vendors.

Salesnet's experience in the on-demand market comes through loud and clear in Release 25 of its software, as seen not only in its thorough treatment of sales and marketing functionality, but also in its inclusion of messaging and document-management systems. CRM newcomer SAP has a strong, if so far limited, entry aimed at attracting existing customers who want to get CRM initiatives under way quickly. I tested both products at our NWC Inc. business applications lab in Green Bay, Wis.

SAP CRM on-demand 1.0

Software behemoth SAP is targeting departmental projects in midsize-to-large enterprises that are without an existing CRM implementation, with the intention of migrating these users to the enterprise CRM module in the mySAP Business Suite. This first release of SAP CRM on-demand is focused on sales-force-automation (SFA) features, with marketing and services modules due later this year. SAP seems to want to avoid problems like the ones that have beset this year--that app was down at least twice in January and February--so it has partnered with IBM for hosting and support.

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