Recently SAP acquired Success Factors to supplement their SAP HR with talent acquisition as well as make a serious play in the cloud computing space. And although the leaders in Waldorf generally tend to rely heavily on organic development and growth there are times when acquisitions obviously make sense. I believe I have the perfect acquisition for them to consider! That acquisition would be a scrappy CRM outfit that has been going directly after Sales Force and having a lot of success. Enter, SugarCRM. Frankly it makes perfect sense.
The Sugar application has been directly competing with Sales Force for quite a while. They have a great pricing model and a fair amount of saturation in the Small and Medium Enterprise area. Add to that the fact that the application is also based on PHP rather than Java and you are slowly steering away from Oracle too.
The SugarCRM offering is a bit more polished than what I have seen from SAP’s CRM application. Waldorf, I make a pretty good living working with SAP products but let me tell you, your CRM application really stinks! No wonder so many companies are trying to migrate to Sales Force. It is not easy to use, it is not as feature rich, many of the CRM “consultants” are blatant frauds (though not all), and few know how to leverage it for any real competitive advantage. [FN1]
Load in the fact that those customers who do not like SAP’s CRM application and choose something like Sales Force end up having to pay additional, incremental licensing cost for using a third party application and you have a recipe for some very upset customers.
The PERFECT SAP CRM Acquisition Target
Now SAP, come on here, do some homework. I am telling you now, SugarCRM is the PERFECT acquisition target for you! They have a tremendous cloud offering that is very stable and mature. They have a lot of polish and ease of use. There is a HUGE and vibrant developer community who supports the open source version of the application. There is a fairly decent ecosystem of third party add-ons to extend the functionality far, far beyond ANYTHING Sales Force might even dream of offering.
Even if you didn’t want to integrate it with the big boy SAP ERP (ECC) suite, it would still be a perfect compliment to your entry level ERP application for small businesses.
Anyway, I could go on here, but you get the idea. And SAP, NOW is the time to buy the company while it can be had for a reasonably inexpensive price. You have a very, VERY short window of opportunity on this one. Recently they received $46 million in VC funding. Right now is the time to pick this one up. If that doesn’t work, then buy in as a VC investor and partner as well. Begin the transition away from the Java stack. There are lots of great PHP developers out there and SAP supports PHP integration. In fact, one company in Germany who is both a SugarCRM partner and an SAP Partner has already developed the SugarCRM integration! [FN2]
What are you waiting for! This company IS the thorn in Sales Forces side. Buy the company! Put your marketing, development, and sales muscle behind it! Get a well developed cloud solution that can be integrated with your own applications without much trouble. And let’s be honest Waldorf, for the prices you generally end up discounting your CRM licenses for, and for the freebies from the past, the SugarCRM monthly subscription model is a little less than your CRM products but not significantly so. They already have mobile solutions developed, a fair amount of market penetration and LOTS of opportunity for growth! And most of all, it is more feature rich than the SAP CRM application and easier to use, develop for, and customize.
Even if you decide to roll it out in the SMB space with the entry level SAP Business All-in-One application you could still develop it as an eventual CRM package to integrate into the ECC suite.
[FN1] In the spirit of full disclosure I personally use the SugarCRM open source application and I absolutely LOVE IT! I’ve had the opportunity to extensively use the SAP CRM product and it feels clunky, difficult to navigate, not intuitive, and underwhelming. On top of that, some of the SAP CRM “consultants” I’ve had to work with indicate such a total lack of any knowledge, of any kind, of SAP processes, or of basic SAP CRM capabilities I am 10,000% certain that the vast majority of them are complete frauds. Is it any wonder so many customers go to SalesForce.com?
[FN2] Although the site is in German they do have a fully integrated bi-directional connector for SAP and SugarCRM. http://www.it-novum.com/sap-open-source/sap-open-source.html