SAP Develops Channel-Only 'Big Data' Systems For SMEs

SAP unveiled two channel-only products Tuesday incorporating the company's HANA in-memory computing engine targeting SME (small and mid-size enterprise) customers.

The new products, SAP HANA for SAP Business One and SAP HANA Edge Edition, are the company's first effort to bring technology for solving "big data" problems to SMBs.

"We do believe that big data is a big opportunity and challenge for small and mid-size enterprises," said Eric Duffaut, president of the SAP global ecosystem and channels, in a conference call.

Major vendors have been seeking the best route to bring advanced computing and analytics capabilities to smaller customers. In September, for example, Oracle debuted the Oracle Database Appliance that's sold exclusively through the channel to SMB customers.

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SAP HANA (high-performance analytics appliance) is an in-memory compute engine for rapid, real-time data processing and analysis. SAP initially debuted the technology in July in systems designed for larger customers. HANA appliances bundle the SAP software with hardware servers from Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi and IBM.

SAP has more than 96,500 SME customers worldwide, accounting for 79 percent of the company's customers, Duffaut said. SAP generally defines SMEs as businesses with annual revenue less than 500 million Euros ($662 million).

Many of those customers are served by the company's 3,000 channel partners who, as of the end of 2011, accounted for 30 percent of the company's sales. SAP has a goal of having the channel account for 40 percent of all sales by 2015 when the company expects revenue to reach 20 billion Euros ($26.5 billion).

"We believe that HANA is not only bringing speed, but is a complete game-changing type of solution to develop new types of applications," Duffaut said. In addition to reselling the HANA products, partners also will develop applications, content and use-cases that run with the HANA systems, he said.

SAP Business One is the company's application set specifically for small companies and the SAP HANA for SAP Business One will help businesses with operational reporting tasks, using SAP's Crystal Reports to analyze data processed by the applications. The product will be generally available later this year.

SAP HANA Edge Edition is targeted more toward mid-market customers -- typically those using the SAP Business All-in-One application set. The HANA Edge Edition can be combined with SAP BusinessObjects Edge Business Intelligence software for SMBs. That product is now generally available.