SAP Builds Up All-In-One Platform For SMB Partners

SAP's newest All-In-One solutions layer SAP's own best business practices for more than two dozen verticals as well as specific user interface, reporting and analytics atop what they already offered, said Michael Sotnick senior vice president of small midsize enterprise business SAP Americas.

In simple terms, SAP says it is giving its SMB VARs more capability they can repurpose for their applications. That means the partners need to write or build less of this functionality themselves.

"There's greater ease-of-use and superior experience and lowering the bar on investments required by partners to rapidly develop qualified applications," Sotnick told CRN.

The push towards verticalization is a big trend among ERP vendors with SAP and Microsoft saying they will come up the stack to raise the least-common-denominator of their platforms.

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The best practices, analytics and reporting layer is now available in SAP All-in-One. Some of this added functionalityincluding built-in CRMcomes from the company's high-end MySAP 2005 offering.

David Wasson, senior vice president of Chicago-based Technology Solutions Co., or TSC, says this will save his company time and money delivering its own applications for industrial manufacturing atop All-in-One. "These new tools compress a lot of time out of moving our own product to the new suite," he noted. Wasson is particularly enthused by new functions that will allow easy demonstration of the application for clients. He said that combination will speed the sales-and-implementation process "We closed three deals in December which is unusual, with our Edge tool atop SAP."

"SAP's ERP suite delivers to us a set of configurations a base that's tested and documented. Atop that we build additional configurations for our micro verticals," Wasson said.

Wasson is pleased with SAP's mid-market push. TSC used to have Oracle, PeopleSoft and Baan practices as well but shut them down to focus exclusively on SAP because of its' growth potential, Wasson said.

Hans-Peter Klaey, president of SAP AG's Global SME group will announce the updates Tuesday at an SAP event in Las Vegas.

The mid-market is an important focus for SAPas it is for all ERP players. Microsoft is focusing its Dynamics ERP applications on this segment, and Oracle is also making a push.

Last week, SAP which remains the ERP leader, pre "announced worse-than-expected results for its fourth quarter. And Oracle, still digesting its mega purchases of PeopleSoft and Siebel is having its own issues.

Sotnick would not talk about SAP results other than this: "I can say with clarity and certainty that we had a record-breaking year in small- and mid-sized markets. We blew away the channel records in new customer adds, top-line revenue growth and customer satisfaction growth. We couldn't feel better about 2006 performance."

SAP, like Oracle, is coming down from its historical enterprise, direct-sales roots into a more channel-friendly mode suited to the mid market. Microsoft, meanwhile, is trying to figure out how to apply its volume-oriented channel model to the higher-touch, higher-margin model that traditionally suits ERP sales.