SAP extends StreamWork integration to CRM

SAP AG is extending integration of its StreamWork collaboration app to its customer relationship management (CRM), in a move that sees the Germany-based software company continue on its promised direction to tie social collaboration with back-end business systems across the enterprise.

Jack Miller, SAP’s global vice-president for collaboration and cloud, explained that it’s important to capture the business conversations of employees because they represent the key business issues of that company, whether it’s a discussion on new products that must be put to market or how to turn the business around.

“That’s what people are talking about,” said Miller.

SAP already has StreamWork integration with for third parties through open APIs. Earlier this year, the company also extended integration for its product lifecycle management and Business Objects strategy management. Miller said SAP is still on track to offer integration with Business Objects business intelligence.

One Canadian customer, the Toronto chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, uses StreamWork integrated with Google Apps. The president of the Toronto chapter, Adrian Davis, said integration with a familiar app was necessary given board members, who are new each year, may not be technically savvy or even comfortable with technology.

“StreamWorks was presented as part of our intranet,” said Davis.

The chapter’s board of 12 members uses StreamWork to communicate with each other in between monthly board meetings. Meeting minutes are posted in StreamWork where members use a polling function to vote on whether to approve, amend or reject. Also, the platform is used to give feedback on projects such as a new Web site launch.

“In the past, we were inundated with e-mails. In this way, all the communications stays in one place,” said Davis.

And if a member is away and has missed a particular discussion, Davis said “they can just zero in” on a list of discussion topics that occurred among members.

The audit trail of conversation also lets board members review the logic behind a decision, said Davis.

The goal with StreamWorks, said Holly Simmons, SAP’s senior director of marketing for Business Objects, is to bring social into every aspect of the business, “as opposed to creating these little islands of social collaboration products” across the enterprise.

Simmons acknowledged that adoption is key for a collaboration technology such as StreamWork to be a success in any company. As a result, it must tie naturally into users’ processes and provide a user experience that has the familiarity of a consumer application, she added.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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