Many may not have realized it, but SAP has been in the eCRM space since February 2006.

An Electronic Customer Relationship Management (eCRM) strategy and system should help companies in implementing policies and strategies to develop strong online relationships with their customers and clients, says Bill Wohl, SAP’s spokesperson on eCRM. eCRM, notes SAP, is crucial for any enterprise that plans to realize profitability through procurement of new clients and retention of existing customers and clients.

“We use internet based designs to develop online customized eCRM solutions for executing an organization's CRM practices. With the pure internet based architecture customers have the flexibility to access their data from virtually any device that is connected to the internet and has a browser. We can develop customized eCRM solutions that are highly flexible and easy to use for your business requirements. This solutions are simple to use and easy to maintain,” shares Wohl.

He adds that SAP’s customized eCRM software is aimed at providing organizations understanding of how a web-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can impressively improve their ability to effectively to manage a web based marketing campaigns, clients requirements, convert enquiry leads into sales, deliver satisfied service or support to customers or clients.

Additionally, such an online system offers a means to improve workflow and manage multiple issues, inquiries and tasks while completing work on time. “eCRM initiatives can make or break an enterprise. It is very important for organizations when it comes to developing an eCRM application to have well-defined business and operation restrictions,” states Wohl.

He stresses, “CRM is not a technology thing, though this technology is fundamental to making it successful. CRM is a business philosophy. eCRM systems apply technology to facilitate processes and services required for effective implementation of CRM in very fast.”

According to SAP, research and surveys have not found that it costs up to 10 times more to acquire new clients than to retain old clients. Still more studies have shown that most of the clients defections to competitors are because of service issues and not because of the products or pricing. An effective CRM and eCRM strategy is a significant step in responding to all these issues, says Wohl.

Elaborating on this, he says, “CRM is an enterprise system, which means that it spans multiple departments. Practically all departments within a corporation have at least some indirect access to customers and clients, or customer information, the goal of CRM and eCRM is to collect that information in a central depository, analyze it, and make it available to all departments in an organization.”

Explaining SAP’s eCRM software in a little more detail, Wohl says that the company’s CRM software, automatically gives the customer’s details such as caller information, and by the time the customer care executive answers the phone, important information, such as past purchase details, future requirements etc are known.

This "screen pop details" is made up of several bits of information from different databases, it may draw on information from the accounting department to show the agent what their current balance may be, it may draw on information from the sales and account department to show what has been purchased recently, and it may draw on information from the credit department to show the agent what terms can be offered.  In addition, a billing and inventory management system serves to create a customer relationship network and database where all customers’ requests and queries are attended on the spot.

In addition, in February this year, SAP unveiled its Business Objects BI on Demand, targeted at the everyday user that wants simple, intuitive access to data to analyze in report and dashboard form.

The new integrated solution combines all the SaaS-based BI offerings that reside in the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio. The solution lets users access data from other SAP systems (including on-premises), third-party software such as and their own desktops, combine that data and use tools such as Business Objects Explore to visualize different versions of the date for analysis in dashboard or report form. The information can be shared securely – inside and outside the firewall -- with other users.

According to SAP, the company will eventually bake a customer feedback feature into its SaaS offering that will monitor and analyze customer usage trends and automatically update the platform to reflect the various individual use needs of customers.

By Shanti Anne Morais