SAP is closing the functional gaps with customer relationship management (CRM) software leaders like Siebel and Pivotal, according to analyst AMR Research, with the launch of its mySAP CRM 3.0, due out at the end of August. Not known to wax too lyrical over new software releases, such a comment from AMR means it must be something. AMR consultant Rod Johnson says that whereas the existing mySAP CRM 2.0b “may not have led in any dimension, but was solid enough to compete for business in the installed base,” the new release is in a different league. “SAP adds order management, an area long avoided by leading CRM vendors, although it is a key component of the customer relationship,” says Johnson. “SAP has completely rewritten the sales portion of the SD module on the platform. The only major hole in the product is in terms of dedicated support for channel partners across the pre-sales, sales, and post-sales processes.” There’s more: release 3.0 does not depend on R/3 or other mySAP back-office modules – it’s open and can be used with other ERP systems. Says Johnson: “While SAP isn’t likely to sell much outside its installed base, the release represents an important step because it provides the integration to support other back-office systems that exist in most of SAP’s customers’ environments.” So impressed is AMR that it predicts that SAP will grow rapidly to occupy the Number Two slot among CRM vendors by the close of this year, with software and services revenue of an estimated $670 million.