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A final look at SAP’s (news, site) Hanover CeBit show that has finished this week comes from the Sales OnDemand application, due to be put on general release  by the middle of the year -- and which might be able to give Salesforce CRM and Microsoft Dynamics a good run for their money.

The release, while not detracting from SAP’s existing online CRM offering, has some of the functionality of the CRM application, but is specifically designed for sales team collaboration around opportunities, without the product tracking and other marketing functions that come with its CRM big brother.

SAP’s OnDemand Applications

As part of a series of on-demand applications that will be released over the next six months and which SAP is marketing as an extension to its on-premise enterprise resource planning system, Sales OnDemand will be joined by applications for human resources and expense management designed for the SMB market.

The difference between this and the CRM application is that this is a sales tool for salespeople and includes the most commonly used tools in the CRM application in a social media setting that sets itself apart from similar offerings by tight integration with SAP’s ERP systems.

If offers ways to collaborate with sales teams on customer information and leads and to communicate with enterprise networks, offering access to real-time resources as well as information on clients.

In addition to this, there is support for analytics, content access and other CRM features without it actually being a full-fledged CRM application.

Business ByDesign, CRM

However, it is the tighter integration with Business ByDesign that is attracting the most interest. According to SAP, while Business ByDesign is the basis of the current batch of on-demand applications, a new development environment -- due to be released in the near future -- will offer Sales On Demand users the other functionality available with Business ByDesign that is not CRM-related.

This is largely as a result of the v2.6 feature pack released for Business ByDesign in early February. The result is an integrated on-demand business software suite that enables customers to run a set of end-to-end business processes while having the option to gradually deploy the integrated suite at their own pace.

Using v2.6, partners can customize the software, as well as offer enhancements to usability, support for additional mobile devices and on-demand integration of subsidiary operations into on-premise installations at headquarters. And this is on top of the v2.5 release in August last year that came with starter packs for CRM and ERP.

Will it challenge Salesforce and Dynamics CRM? Until the general release it is impossible to say how much interest this will stir, but certainly on a comparative level it does offer similar everyday functionality to salespeople and, with the possibility of adding functionality more easily, it might just do that.