SAP in SMB channel drive

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Big ERP vendor SAP has initiated a major channel recruitment drive in Australia, in the lead up to the October launch of its next SMB financial package Business One.

Better known as an enterprise financial and ERP application heavyweight, the company is moving down scale with a plan to derive 15 percent of its global sales revenue from the SMB market by 2005.

Recently, it recruited Sydney-based reseller Industry Data Systems (IDS) and RealTech in Australia to sell its My SAP All-in-One software package to this market.

SAP will initiate lead generation activity, pre-sales support and organisational development by providing resellers with sales methodologies as part of the drive. SAP deals direct with customers that have revenues above $200 million.

All customers that have less than this number in revenues are open slather for the channel. Entry-level profit margins from SMB product sales would be 35 points, SAP claimed.

Richard Duffy, who was appointed this month as SMB market development manager at SAP Australia, said to reach the SMB market, you have to have a deep understanding of what drives channel partners.

Duffy was previously solution marketing manager for Microsoft Business Solutions division in Australia. 'What we have now from the management team are people who have eaten, slept and breathed SMB channel for the last 15 years. It's fair to say we have a broad understand of what channel partners are looking for,' he said.

Tim Cavill, director, SMB at SAP, added that the company is now focusing on an 'aggressive' channel build strategy.

'That means that we are actively recruiting channel partners. We are looking for organisations that have experience in selling small to medium business financial or ERP applications, Cavill. 'We're not looking to take organisations who are new to selling our enterprise applications - we looking for organisations who have got that experience,' he said.

There are less than five partners today selling the company's SMB offering My SAP All-in-One, Cavill said.

SAP will launch Business One in October, a product that had come out of SAP's acquisition of Israeli company Top Manage last year. 'This is a product offering that will sit beneath the My SAP All-in-One [software]. It's a notch or two above MYOB or Quicken - I would position it above MYOB but probably below Great Plains Navision,' he said.

Cavill said the company is looking for market coverage across all of the major geographies throughout Australia and New Zealand. 'The organisations that can take that product [Business One] to market are probably organisations today that have got experience with those low to mid-range accounting and ERP [packages].

'There is a real opportunity for some of the guys that have fallen under the radar of some of the traditional larger vendors - for example, Microsoft Business Solutions.

There's a number of resellers who might be selling Attache or Arrow or Sybiz today and they might be thinking 'What does the future hold for me as a reseller? 'With our Business One offering, we believe we have a product that will fit nicely into that market space,' he said.

Meanwhile, Cavill claimed SAP enterprise business is continuing to grow at a significant rate, despite the SMB push.

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