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SAP, IBM Pair On 'Hybrid' CRM

As expected, SAP on Thursday unveiled its hosted CRM game plan. Somewhat surprisingly, its partner in the endeavor is IBM.

The new CRM offering is designed to suit hosted and on-premise use. SAP executives touted what they called a new "isolated tenancy" model that will foster both high availability and low risk. Multitenancy architectures used by true-hosted solutions enable the host to provision and maintain multiple customers on shared server infrastructure in a secure way.

However, recent outages at Salesforce.com, the San Francisco-based pioneer of CRM on demand, may have dampened public fervor for "pure play" hosted systems. NetSuite, San Mateo, Calif., and Salesnet, Boston, also offer hosted CRM capabilities. And late last year, Microsoft acknowledged to CRN that it’s working on a multitenancy CRM solution, code-named Titan. Microsoft currently emphasizes on-premise CRM.

SAP, which had planned to unveil hosted CRM last year but then pulled back, is now offering SAP Sales, a solution for managing customers, contacts and pipelines. Marketing and service services will be added later this year, the company said Wednesday at dual events in Palo Alto, Calif., and New York.

The news comes days after SAP heartened solution providers and other partners with a new, channel-friendly "comp-neutral" sales model and opened larger accounts to channel participation. The new hosted CRM, though, will be sold direct.

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