New Initiatives From SAP

By Heather Baldwin

SAP AG has been busy. Over the past month it has announced several initiatives aimed at making the process of CRM more effective. Here are details on four of its new products.

1. Channel Management. In early October SAP announced the addition of new channel management capabilities with mySAP CRM. The new capabilities include partner and channel manager portals; partner management and analytics; channel marketing; sales, service and commerce capabilities; and industry-specific channel management capabilities for the unique requirements of automotive, high-tech and telecommunications companies. The features give brand owners full visibility into all sales channels and empower partners with better tools to market to, sell to and service their end customers. By extending the value of channel management beyond the mere day-to-day management and monitoring of partner relationships, SAP says it provides a channel management solution that combines traditional partner relationship management with comprehensive CRM and e-commerce capabilities, enabling companies to develop collaborative relationships with their channel partners and end customers.

2. IT for finance. SAP and Accenture signed an agreement to develop and deliver IT solutions for banks and insurance companies worldwide. Under the agreement Accenture and SAP will develop and sell a comprehensive portfolio of solutions and services designed to help banks and insurance companies increase efficiency, reduce operational costs and improve business performance. Initially, the portfolio will consist of SAP’s and Accenture’s existing banking and insurance solutions, which support a range of business functions, including insurance claims management, insurance policy administration, core banking operations and risk management. The agreement makes Accenture SAP’s largest development partner in financial services.

3. Harmonizing data. SAP released SAP Master Data Management (SAP MDM), a solution that enables companies to harmonize data across disparate applications and systems as well as across business units and the extended enterprise. SAP MDM integrates both the data and applications necessary to support collaborative business processes, delivering analytical and search capabilities to identify identical or similar data objects across different systems and cleanse objects to keep master data consistent. For example, the manufacturer, suppliers and customers might identify an aircraft landing wheel assembly in different ways. The manufacturer might identify the assembly as Assembly 85467, while a supplier’s system tracks the same assembly as A330 Wheel Assembly. SAP MDM provides a framework to define the reference master data and meta data associated with this assembly so that the aircraft manufacturer, suppliers and customers, such as airlines, share a single definition they can leverage in their business transactions.

4. Customs Management. In late October SAP released SAP Customs Management, a new component of SAP Global Trade Services that assists customers in expediting the clearance of goods through customs, mitigating risks of noncompliance and reducing the overall costs of cross-border trade. With SAP Customs Management companies can classify their products in order to accurately calculate customs duties and taxes owed. They then can print pertinent import and export trade documentation, reducing wait time at the border. SAP Customs Management also helps companies meet strict standards for electronic communication with local customs trade systems to expedite customs clearance.