Early last summer (2005), on the heels of a News.com report that contemplated SAP's interest in entering the hosted CRM market (and taking on the likes of CRM ASP poster child Salesforce.com), my colleague Dan Farber quoted SAP CEO Henning Kagermann as saying that the company is not going to be a hosting company (see SAP heading into software-as-a-service?). Even so, Dan concluded:
I would expect SAP to do something this year to let the market and competitors know that the elephant has entered the room and intends to do some squishing (or acquiring) of the smaller beings.
Then, after barely a month had passed, news came that SAP was indeed entering the SaaS market, but with a twist. Wrote News.com's Matt Hines of the news (Matt has since moved to eWeek):
The software giant says its on-demand CRM will surpass "overhyped" technologies available from its rivals by offering capabilities that extend beyond contact management and order entry and by addressing a deeper level of business processes.
But, in writing "SAP has a jaundiced and ill-informed view of the software-as-services market," ZDNet SaaS blogger Phil Wainwright was nonplussed by the news. Although something more concrete was expected to be delivered by the company last fall and never was, News.com is now reporting that this is the week that SAP will officially be in the hosted CRM house. Surprisingly however, it has been all quiet on the Salesforce.com front. We're still waiting for Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff (who is normally locked-and-loaded with chest thumping rhetoric when such news surfaces) to "leak" one of his company-wide memos to the press.