Article

Business One gets CRM, MRP juice

Ellen O'Brien

SAP today announced an updated version of its Business One suite for small and medium-sized customers that puts them in direct competition with Microsoft's Navision, according to one industry analyst.

The new Business One release is built on technology SAP acquired from Top Manage Financial Solutions. Instead of a scaled-down mySAP ERP solution, Business One was developed specifically for companies with less than 250 employees, according to a SAP.

"For very light, non-complex manufacturing sites, Business One is a comparable product to Microsoft's Navision," said Gartner Inc. analyst Yvonne Genovese.

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Business One now offers manufacturers new opportunities for material requirements planning (MRP), and allows CRM customers to access a fully integrated calendar to schedule sales and service for tasks and meetings, according to SAP. The new Business One release is also integrated with Microsoft Outlook, making it simpler for users to retrieve relevant e-mails from customers and partners.

One advantage to the newly integrated Business One package, Genovese said, is that it can tap SAP's integration platform, NetWeaver.

"They have really tied it into NetWeaver," Genovese said. Large SAP customers with satellite divisions are ones that could benefit from the new product, she said.

"It gives new integration—within satellite divisions-- for those customers who have already bought into the SAP ecosystem," Genovese sad. For non-SAP shops, Business One is a competitive alternative to the range of SMB offerings that were playing in the SMB space long before SAP.

PeopleSoft, Inc. recently announced similar integration capabilities in its Enterprise One line. SAP executives have repeatedly said the SMB space is large enough to accommodate plenty of companies. When asked about the line between partnering with Microsoft and poaching its customers, SAP executives have repeatedly downplayed the competition. Microsoft – according to SAP – is a partner and customer – and lastly a competitor.

In its new Business One release, SAP said customers will be able to track, compare and analyze data in order to provide real-time optimization of sales opportunities. In the manufacturing space, new MRP capabilities will replace spreadsheets with what SAP is calling 'five easy steps' for managing material and procurement processes.


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