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SAP adds SCM, CRM functionality -- but is it too late?

Last week, SAP AG announced enhancements to its mySAP.com discrete industry packages, including supply chain management...

(SCM), customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise portal functionality. But one analyst isn't impressed and believes that this is just a natural step for SAP to take to remain on equal footing with its competitors.

"It's no better than anyone else's," said Jane McBrian, analyst, enterprise resources, Current Analysis. SAP is incrementally adding a little bit of functionality with the new releases of mySAP Aerospace & Defense, mySAP Automotive, mySAP Engineering & Construction and mySAP High Tech, she said.

"It was late to market," McBrian said of the functionality. "A lot of other vendors have this type of functionality, and (adding CRM, SCM and enterprise portal capabilities) helps SAP stay abreast of the competition -- but in no way differentiates them."

There were some positive aspects to the upgrades, according to McBrian. The increased SCM functionality in SAP's mySAP Aerospace & Defense, Automotive and Engineering & Construction packages will improve maintenance, manufacturing and project management, she said.

This functionality allows companies to better track ongoing maintenance, improve collaboration, inventory control, scheduling and cost tracking. In addition, SAP improved the collaborative functionality of mySAP High Tech, which allows supply chain partners to collaborate over the Web, according to McBrian.

"It's great for (SAP's) customers," McBrian said. "The functionality is partially customer-driven, so they are responding to their customers' needs." While the new functions will be popular with SAP's current customers, the attributes are not enough to encourage new customers to purchase the software, she said.

"The competition doesn't need to respond to this at all," McBrian said. "Competitors have equivalent or better functionality." For example, the SCM improvements do not come anywhere near the functionality of products from i2 Technologies and Manugistics, she said.

"The CRM (portion) is not doing well at all. The uptake has been poor," McBrian said. "It's not very well integrated, which is part of the reason why the uptake is so poor."

According to McBrian, the fact that the CRM functionality increase was so minor demonstrated SAP's continued lack of direction with regard to CRM.

As for other competitors, "ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendors with fully integrated suites should emphasize their front and back office solutions," she said. SAP "could really use a complete end-to-end supply chain solution. It was great that they added the functionality, but they're really not going far enough."

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SearchSAP Best Links: Applications and Modules: Supply Chain Management

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