The companies Friday unveiled a co-development partnership that executives
called a "game changer" for the mobile business market at a press
conference at SAP's office in New York.
They did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, in which SAP enlisted
RIM to build a version of its CRM (customer relationship management) applications
for the BlackBerry platform.
SAP's CRM is the first application that will run natively on the BlackBerry,
but eventually the companies plan to build mobile versions of SAP's applications
-- including ERP (enterprise resource planning) and supply chain -- for BlackBerry
devices, said Bill McDermott, president and CEO of SAP Americas, Asia Pacific
"This is a major win for RIM and for SAP, but much more importantly for
any mobile professional that works anywhere in the world today," he said.
McDermott said that until now, CRM has failed salespeople because of the inherent
mobility of their jobs.
"They don't want to be chained to a desktop or tethered to the wall; they
want to be out on the street selling something to somebody who needs a solution,"
McDermott called putting CRM on the BlackBerry platform empowering them "at
the tip of the spear where the relationship happens with the customer."
AMR Research analyst Rob Bois agreed with McDermott that there have been challenges for salespeople in accessing information from CRM applications on the fly, and said he can't "really see the downside" of adding SAP CRM to the BlackBerry platform.
"Synchronization [of data] can be a challenge [and] a technical burden," he said. "A lot of IT organizations can