September 17, 2012 // By: Andreas Horn
Interview with SAP Partner
Right now, our small customers are still too small for a complex ERP system, and given their particular requirements and set-up, operating and implementing an ERP system would overwhelm businesses with, say, 10 to 20 employees and an annual revenue of only €3 million. Our challenge will be to automate the services around implementation, and the implementation method itself. ERP software has to be easy for small companies to consume; they have to be able to deploy it at the click of a button. This is one of the key challenges, and SAP has to meet it, as do we, since we cover the last mile to the customer and we do the implementation.
Market acceptance is still rather weak. You really can’t count companies at the larger end of midsize, as they are not much smaller than large enterprises or subsidiaries. SAP already has an excellent reputation in that sector, and is automatically in the running. But that is hardly the case at the smaller end of the SME sector. Many companies whose revenue is less then €50 million would not choose SAP as their software provider. They think it is for the big league only. They only consider what their peers in other companies have recommended or what everyone else in SME circles is talking about. And that tends to be small industry solutions, perhaps Microsoft, but not SAP. We are not visible to a large number of small companies, and have no market acceptance.
We have to make ourselves much more visible. We have to raise our profile, as customers are not going to come knocking on our door by themselves. And we can’t go knocking on their doors either, as that is just too expensive. Raising our profile is the job of the entire SAP ecosystem, but primarily a job for SAP’s marketing.
We also need more solutions: We need subverticals, industry packages, subindustry packages – new solutions that use SAP Business ByDesign as a platform but that are ready-to-consume solution components for a given industry or subindustry. We can’t turn up at small businesses with a horizontal ERP solution. What they want to know is whether we can meet the needs of the industry they are in. And it is these industry solutions based on SAP Business ByDesign that we don’t have right now.
Read on the next page: “SAP has yet to make an impact in the small enterprise market”