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SAP Broadens Range of Solutions for SMEs

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: April 10 2014

Not many are aware of SAP’s strong heritage in the small to medium enterprise (SME) segment even though more than 80 percent of SAP’s over 250,000 customers are small and midsize companies. Even if some might dismiss these figures for counting the users of the now-iconic SAP Crystal Reports as they are not necessarily true enterprise resource planning (ERP) users, SAP can counter with the figure of the 40,000 users for the SAP Business One ERP solution, which has been designed for SMEs from the word go.
 
Most recently in its bid to grow its number of SME customers, SAP announced general availability of SAP Business One 9.0, the version of Business One for SAP HANA, available on premise or in the cloud and hosted by partners. As the first business management solution for SMEs running on an in-memory computing platform, the solution helps businesses speed up application performance and analyze structured and unstructured data in real time.
 
With deep insights from the predictive analytics capabilities of SAP HANA, SMEs are able to optimize business planning, operations, and decision making while simultaneously gaining insight into new consumer trends and behavior. Some might wonder whether SMEs might indeed need those data crunching capabilities, but some small organizations need big data analyzing capabilities to support their tasks. Think of a clinical trial startup having to analyze genome research data, or a professional soccer team needing reporting and analysis capabilities to handle large data requests without issues, such as managing ticket sales, sponsorships, broadcasting rights, and the buying and selling of players—all in one integrated system. New planned enhancements for SAP Business One include production module enhancements, multi-branch enablement, and improved management of fixed assets.

 
New “Buy Now, Pay Later” Option
 
SAP is committed to helping its SME customers grow their businesses with technology that fits their needs, and through collaborating with more than 11,500 partners the company works with a diverse portfolio of solutions designed specifically for SMEs. SAP partners play a critical role in developing, selling, and implementing along the vendor’s hefty portfolio of products. SAP is aware that this generation of startup companies and millennial buyers believes in asking questions—though less in asking why than in asking why not—and seeing technology as a top-line growth opportunity. Small companies are leveraging technology as a way to engage with their customers in a personalized manner. These buyers are driven by social commerce, user-generated experiences for purchase decisions, and are used to getting the information they need anytime, anywhere.
 
With this in mind, SAP has recently started a few key programs to help startup companies use innovative technologies to bring new products to market. SAP’s new solutions for SMEs are designed to be easy to deploy, affordable to implement and operate, and the right fit for any industry and size. At the recent CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany, SAP announced a “buy now, pay later” offering that provides SME customers with zero-percent financing for up to 24 months for the purchase of any SAP product on the reseller price list. While the global economy continues to improve, many SMEs still face an issue of finding financing to enhance their technology solutions. The “buy now, pay later” offering gives SMEs a flexible option for their business to invest in new technology without the need for upfront capital. “Buy now, pay later” will be available initially in Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
 

New “Edge” Solutions for SMEs
 
Building on SAP’s portfolio of products for SMEs, including the SAP Business All-in-One solution, SAP Business One, and SAP Cloud solutions, SAP also introduced new solutions to its portfolio of Edge solutions. These solutions give SMEs the tools to analyze business information quickly and are flexible enough to allow a business to add capabilities as it grows. Edge solutions being announced at CeBIT included the following new solutions and updates:
 
  • SAP InfiniteInsight, Edge modeling and analytics editions (following SAP’s recent acquisition of KXEN) brings predictive analytics to a broad spectrum of users, including line-of business (LoB) users.
  • SAP IQ software, Edge edition, will help SMEs accelerate their access to analytics with a data warehouse solution.
  • Edge edition of SAP solutions for enterprise information management (EIM) have been previously available, but planned new, competitive pricing will enable SMEs to proactively govern their data at a price point that fits their budget, as well as help them combine data from disparate sources.
 
SAP is also introducing products for SMEs beyond the aforementioned Edge solutions. With SAP’s new visualization starter pack, SMEs have the power of viewing and manipulating data models through a compelling user interface (UI) with SAP Lumira software and then sharing them via mobile devices for instant insights. The visualization starter pack offers SMEs the ability to combine and visualize data from multiple sources that present both big picture and granular insights in a single view. Finally, as more SMEs continue to embrace a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, they can now manage the security of their employees’ devices with the cloud edition of the SAP Afaria mobile device management (MDM) solution, and have the option of working through the SAP ecosystem of partners to purchase and implement it. Companies pay a low price per employee this way, and have the ability to add additional devices as their business grows.
 
The aforementioned moves seem to indicate not only SAP’s seriousness about catering to the “lower” end of the market, but also the understanding of these target customers’ needs. SAP’s profile in the SME space is thus only likely to rise going forward.
 
 
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