Enterprise software and service provider, SAP has announced new features for its Customer OnDemand Suite which will give sales, customer service and marketing representatives the ability to communicate with customers offline and on the road, on the channel of the customer's choice.

A More Complete Suite

The SAP Customer OnDemand Suite is made up of four key marketing and sales tools: Sales OnDemand, Service Ondemand, Social OnDemand and Social Media Analytics by Netbase. While these tools offer companies customer insight and engagement solutions, SAP wanted to add to what they offered their clients.

In addition to a new Customer Insight Mobile App and added support for 19 different languages, there are a variety of updates that focus on improving the customer experience.

  • Everyone Needs an Assistant: With a new “sales assistant” feature, users will be access to a "guided selling" tool that shows sales representatives how they should be interacting with customers and what areas they need to work on.
  • Mobile: The OnDemand Suite is now equipped with mobile features and applications, such as offline capabilities for the iPad application, so that business can constantly be interacting and engaging with customers -- no matter where they are.
  • Better Communication: With so many ways to connect with a business, such as email, phone, message boards and social media, customers have the ability to choose how they do this. SAP has added to their communication suite buy adding a web portal and a computer-telephony integration (CTI) intefrace to the Service OnDemand and Social OnDemand products. This means that customers now have more ways than ever before to interact with a business and meet with that business on whichever social channel they choose.
  • The Focus Wizard: The focus wizard is a tool for the social media analytics solution where users can more efficiently research topics by seeing the quality of the topic and filtering out irrelevant information.
  • A FanAppz Contribution: Through a partnership with Fanappz, a personalized marketing platform, SAP users will be able to develop more personalized and engaging social media posts and campaigns, which can lead to a better relationship and customer experience with their targeted audience.

An Ongoing Problem

One of the most common problems that CRM applications face is not being able to get a complete customer picture, which can cause communication and engagement problems during the transition from a potential customer to repeat customer, as a company needs to be intuitive and "all knowing."

Today’s customers are hard to please," said Kai Petzelt, Senior Director Cloud Product Marketing at SAP. "Value-savvy, socially engaged, and better informed, their demands are higher than ever before."

While there is technology available to help gather this insight data, such as SalesForce SAP finds that many solutions aren't efficient or flexible and can be time consuming, which is why they've developed their Customer OnDemand Suite, to create a more personalized customer experience at all three stages marketing, sales and customer service. Although, as with any solution to a problem, updates like these show that there is always room for improvement.

When the Sales OnDemand solution was launched in 2011, Paul Greenberg of ZDnet found that there wasn't a lot to set it apart from its competitors.

It has all that you would expect of an SFA product that is geared to 21st century selling.” He says “With traditional functionality i.e. pipeline management, account management, opportunity management, contact management, etc, it has all that you would expect from a social standpoint - activity feeds, collaboration tools."

It remains to be seen how popular and intuitive the Sales OnDemand and the other solutions can become with these new updates.

These new features were announced at the CeBIT 2013 conference. Other recent product releases and updates include a Mobile Document Management tool and SAP 360, a customer experience solution.