ERP Vendors Compete For The Midmarket

As the big-company market for ERP software becomes saturated, application vendors such as SAP and Oracle are increasingly turning their attention to small and midsize companies to maintain their sales growth. And they're counting on their channel partners to help. To that end, SAP is shipping a new release of its All-in-One package of ERP and CRM apps the vendor says makes it easier for partners to build "microvertical" solutions.

All-in-One is designed for SMB customers, which SAP defines as those with sales under $1.5 billion. While SAP sells the product directly, resellers account for about 75 percent of All-in-One sales, says Michael Sotnick, senior vice president of the small-to-midsize enterprise business for SAP Americas. About one-third of SAP's 50-plus channel partners resell the product while the rest develop solutions based on the All-in-One platform.

From the solution-provider's perspective, the real enhancements are the new programs and tools that help channel partners build vertical apps more quickly at a lower cost.

The latest iteration of All-in-One, based on the mySAP ERP 2005 and mySAP CRM application sets, includes SAP's Best Practices portfolio of vertical-industry and cross-industry business- scenario templates. It also has new deployment tools, methodologies and documentation that channel partners use to speed up development of new vertical-industry solutions and implement All-in-One in less time at a lower cost. SAP also has cranked up a new program based on its PartnerEdge services that helps solution partners upgrade existing applications to the new All-in-One.

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"The bottom line is it makes it easier for solution providers to add new functionality," says John D. Clark, managing vice president of the SAP service line at Hitachi Consulting, which provides All-in-One implementation to midsize companies.

Montreal-based KBMS, a SAP solution provider that's also located in the United States, resells All-in-One in Canada. "We've really gone beyond the vertical to meet microvertical-industry requirements," says COO Moodi Mahmoudi.

SAP's channel partners say this latest version of All-in-One shows that the vendor is moving in the right direction. "They just get it," Mahmoudi says.