The best CRM suite

Summary:We look at seven CRM solutions, compare them and give some recommendations for where each would have the best fit.

SAP Business ByDesign


Comparing this CRM solution from SAP to the others in this review is a bit of an apples-to-oranges situation. SAP has several different CRM offerings as part of its business suites. For small businesses there's Business One, which is an all-inclusive package that covers CRM as well as production, purchasing and reporting.

For medium to large businesses, there's SAP Business ByDesign (BByD), which again has modules to cover CRM and all the other parts of running a small to large business. There are definite benefits to be had with ERP and other back-end systems integrated with a CRM solution across the company. And there's a strong interest from businesses in a combined solution offered by a hosted package. BByD was recently released here in Australia, and Tim Wilkes from SAP says that there's a strong interest from companies with 50 to 150 users, especially those that are growing rapidly.


As expected for a total business process solution, the user interface has more screens than other suites but it's still easy to find your way around. The interface also adapts to your job role and hides parts you don't need to see. Each activity has a Work centre that is displayed as folders along the top (the current area is shown by an open folder). On the left is a menu with shortcuts for common tasks.

The home screen, which has more screens than other suites.
(Screenshot by CBSi)


SAP has a lot of experience with ERP and business processes; this shows in the overall design of BByD. The company recommends starting with the CRM package and then adding on modules for finance, human resources, projects, procurement and supply chain until the whole business is operating in one integrated package. Provided the package suits and can be adapted to your business, it's a very attractive proposition. Due diligence is recommended, however, as this is a hosted solution only: all your data (not just CRM data) will be hosted in a datacentre located either in Germany or the US.


Setting up BByD to suit your business is done (with the help of consultants) via the Business Configuration tool, which basically asks a series of questions about how your business runs to determine what fields and settings are applicable. This method is less flexible than other packages reviewed here. More advanced customisation can be done using the SDK (called SAP Business ByDesign studio), which a software development partner would use.

Status of service requests can be seen on the one screen.
(Screenshot by CBSi)


SAP Sales OnDemand is part of Feature Pack 2.6 for BByD and it's the application that makes iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry able to interface with company data while on the go. The iPad application in particular looks very impressive; it was clearly designed for touch-based interaction. The next version of the Feature Pack (3.0) will also have a client for Windows Phone.

Social CRM

Support for Social CRM in BByD is somewhat limited, although Twitter feeds can be brought into the application and analysed; it's also possible to create Facebook pages to connect with prospective and current customers.


Business ByDesign is an impressive package that would suit a medium to large business that is looking for a solution that can grow with the company and take care of all business processes. As a stand-alone CRM solution it's not as flexible as the others tested here.

Product SAP Business ByDesign
Price Available on request
Vendor SAP
Phone: 1800 287 727

Interoperability 3/5 BByD is designed to cover all bases in the full suite.
Future-proofing 5/5 Business ByDesign is an interesting product that has the backing of one of the largest and most tenacious software companies in the world. If the product fits your company it's a good choice for any medium to large business.
ROI 3/5 To fully realise the benefit of BByD will require extensive customisation and set-up.

Topics: Microsoft, Enterprise Software, Oracle, Reviews, SAP

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