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SAP aims new software at telecom market

The business software giant pitches its new customer relationship management software to the telecommunications industry.

Business software giant SAP this week announced new customer relationship management software for the telecommunications industry.

The German software giant said the new SAP Telecommunications customer relationship management software will unite all of a company's customer information, enabling sales and service employees to track customer service contracts and inquiries online in real time. The new offering will be shipped to a limited number of customers in December, with general availability expected in May 2000, the company said.

SAP doesn't expect to ship a complete customer relationship management software suite--which will include sales, customer service, and marketing capabilities--until the middle of next year. The company is trying to catch up to Oracle, which is already shipping some of its CRM product line. Facing a slowdown in the enterprise resource planning software market, most business software companies, like SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle, and Baan, have been shifting toward selling supply chain, procurement, and customer relationship management software to make up lost revenues.

SAP said users will be able to access SAP Telecommunications through the Workplace, the company's personalized business portal. SAP is hoping that many more customers--in addition to its traditional user base--will use Workplace to access their own internal applications, the Internet, and SAP's applications.

SAP said it jointly developed the telecommunications offering with management consulting firm Andersen, with whom SAP has entered into a strategic alliance to create customer relationship management products for the communications industry.

SAP also said it has partnered with Deutsche Telekom, which will test the customer relationship management software.