SAP loses CRM berth at Rakon

Microsoft had functionality out of the box and SAP's equivalent functionality was 12 months away, says marketing manager

It’s game-on between Microsoft and SAP at GPS component-manufacturer Rakon after the company ditched its SAP CRM software in favour of Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft says the win is an opportunity to spread its footprint at the iconic New Zealand technology company.

Rakon is, in most respects, an SAP shop and had opted for and implemented SAP’s CRM 4 software. However, after six months, the company found usability to be “incredibly poor”, says marketing manager Justin Maloney. Rakon then got excited about version 5, but discovered the interface was the same.

“It has a powerful engine and can be usable, but you have to throw money at it,” Maloney says.

He adds that he recently previewed the latest SAP CRM, in Germany, and it was “nice”, pretty much on a par with Salesforce.com’s and Microsoft’s products in terms of usability. However, in due diligence for the new CRM system, Microsoft Dynamics met the company’s requirements better.

“The only difference was Microsoft had functionality out of the box and SAP’s equivalent functionality was 12 months away,” he says. “Microsoft had it here and now.” It was also “significantly cheaper”.

Microsoft Dynamics’ manager, Stewart Gibbs, says the company is “rapt” over the win. “It’s always nice to get a great New Zealand brand using our software and it gives us the opportunity to increase our footprint.”

SAP’s local managing director, Ian Black, says Rakon had some specific requirements around mobile functionality that SAP couldn’t meet with its current release but which, he says, will arrive in 2008.

“Rakon’s need was pressing and so they have proceeded with another vendor. For SAP, this is more than offset by other recent business wins,” Black says.

“Rakon continues to run a spectrum of business functions on SAP: finance; manufacturing; distribution; quality assurance; production planning and more.

“Rakon has been a valued SAP customer since 2004, and the relationship remains strong and healthy.

Also weakening SAP’s case were internal changes at the Rakon. While the New Zealand operation uses SAP for its ERP, financials and other systems, new overseas acquisitions do not.

The company now has four different ERP systems globally, Maloney says. This devalued arguments about achieving tight integration with back-end systems.

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