SAP Tuesday confirmed that it is closing down its SAP Anywhere small business focused CRM cloud service, which has only 30 active customers after two years on the market.
An SAP spokesperson told CRN that it is working with those 30 customers to find a new solution such as SAP Business One or SAP Business ByDesign. "Any customer that has a contract we will see out the entirety of that contract," the spokesperson said. "Once the contract is over then we will work them to see if there is another solution they will want to use." The length of the contract term varies by customer, said the spokesperson.
For the 25 to 27 inactive customers – who have not used the service for some time – SAP is giving them 30 days notice. "They haven't used it for quite some time," said the SAP spokesperson. "We are not talking a lot of customers here. For the ones that are active, we will work directly with them. Any partners that we are working with on this are already aware of this."
The SAP Anywhere product was primarily targeted at the small business/home office with only a handful of partners and was hosted by SAP.
The sunsetting of SAP Anywhere was first reported Tuesday by The Register. "We regret to inform you that SAP has made the decision to sunset the SAP Anywhere service," said a customer letter seen by The Register. "We understand this might come as a surprise to you, but rest assured we have not taken this decision without careful consideration. We would like to offer you a full refund of the fees paid by your company to SAP under the current term of your subscription. This offer is subject to your acceptance and confirmation to waive any claims against SAP."
The SAP spokesperson said there were not many partners selling SAP Anywhere. The primary partner for the service was China Telecom.
In a prepared statement, SAP said from time to time it evaluates its current solution portfolio and makes changes based on its overall cloud ERP strategy.
"As such, we have decided to sunset the SAP Anywhere solution," said SAP. "We will be working closely with our customers to help them transition off the product and to find a new SAP solution that best fits their needs."
Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Westborough, Mass. headquartered cloud services consultant focused on the small and medium business market, said the failure of SAP Anywhere shows that even large vendors are at risk of exiting a market if they step out of their core competency.
"SAP is a midmarket and enterprise player with a midmarket and enterprise channel," said Falcon. "That is what they do. It is the core of their business. You don't order fish at a steakhouse in Indiana because you know the fish isn't going to be fresh. It's a steakhouse – not a fish house. You need to align your buying decisions with core vendor competencies and markets. That holds true for cloud and non-cloud products."
The cost of migrating off a service like SAP Anywhere could run anywhere from just several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollar depending on the migration and what applications the service was integrated with, said Falcon. "I would expect that most small businesses would look to other vendors like NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics for an alternative solution," he said.
One top solution provider executive, who did not want to be identified, said SAP was apparently out of its element trying to make a go of it in the small business market. "When you think small business you don't think SAP," said the executive. "They would have been better off creating a separate company to build a business around a product like SAP Anywhere."