SAP Set To Disclose A1S Details, Role For Channel Partners

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The A1S applications are expected to target midsize companies with 500 to 1,000 employees. But an SAP spokesman emphasizes that A1S is a newly developed set of applications, not an on-demand version of SAP's BusinessOne software set for small companies or the All-in-One on-premise applications for midsize companies.

The A1S announcement comes as SAP is under increased competitive pressure from, NetSuite and other on-demand software vendors. This week Salesforce is hosting its annual Dreamforce user conference in San Francisco with some 7,000 attendees. And NetSuite sought to steal some of SAP's thunder Tuesday by announcing that textile maker Asahi Kasei Spandex America had replaced SAP's flagship R/3 applications with NetSuite on-demand applications.

SAP's own SaaS efforts to-date have been limited. Early last year it launched CRM OnDemand and the spokesman acknowledged that sales so far have been "very modest" without disclosing actual sales figures.

CRM OnDemand is almost entirely sold direct by SAP. While SAP executives say the channel will have a role to play in selling A1S, channel partners are waiting to learn just what that role will be. One SAP reseller who asked not to be identified worried that A1S could create market confusion or take away sales from BusinessOne or All-in-One.

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But other channel partners see A1S as an entirely different product that won't compete with SAP's existing software. "It's a new product and a new pioneering strategy," says Phil Haine, CEO of Business-First, a Minneapolis-based solution provider. Currently a BusinessOne reseller, Haine intends to support A1S and plans to form a separate division to do so, given that the A1S target market is so different.