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Another potential opportunity for SAP channel partners is working with the company's HANA (high-performance analytics appliance) in-memory computing technology that boosts a computer's ability to handle high volumes of transactions and complex business analytics problems.
Last month, SAP outlined a strategy to use HANA and its Sybase database software to challenge leaders like Oracle, IBM and Microsoft in the data management software market. In February, the company unveiled SAP HANA for SAP Business One and SAP HANA Edge Edition, products made exclusively for the channel and designed to help small businesses solve "big data" problems.
That's an intriguing move, notes Alex Rooney, vice president at Vision33, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and SAP gold partner that resells SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign, the latter SAP's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or cloud-based applications for mid-size companies. Some of Vision33's larger Business One customers are wrestling with high transaction volumes and big-data analysis problems and Rooney, in a phone interview with CRN, said HANA could be a good fit for them.
"We're very excited about the potential opportunities this brings," said Sparta's Jain about adding HANA to business analytics systems and other Sparta solutions. The company is also buying into SAP's mobility push, using the vendor's mobility technologies for a range of business analytics and line-of-business mobile applications.
SAP is a relative latecomer to the cloud-computing arena where it faces stiff competition from Oracle, NetSuite and Salesforce.com, among others. The company struggled with early releases of Business ByDesign, the company's flagship cloud offering, before getting it right with a truly production-ready version of the software in late 2010. SAP had about 1,000 customers using Business ByDesign as of the end of 2011.
But, the company took a big step into the cloud-computing market in February when it completed its $3.4-billion acquisition of SuccessFactors, a developer of cloud-based human capital management software. While the SuccessFactors application alone is a significant addition to SAP's cloud lineup, McDermott has emphasized that the "cloud DNA" acquisition speaks to his efforts to change SAP's traditional on-premise software culture.
SAP's cloud efforts are being led by Lars Dalgaard, SuccessFactors' founder and CEO, who has been put in charge of SAP's cloud strategy. Last month, Dalgaard was named to SAP's Executive and Global Managing boards that set the company's top-level strategies and management policies -- a sign of how important the cloud initiatives are seen at the top.
NEXT: Changes In SAP's North America Management Ranks