SAP Sharpens Its Focus on SMBs

SAP AG today announced the launch of the U.S. version of SAP Business One, a new solution that extends the company's software expertise to a new segment of the small and midsize business market (SMBs). SAP also announced that the Tax and Business Services (TBS) unit of American Express will distribute and provide support services for SAP Business One. The Business One solution is designed to provide smaller companies with better access to real-time data by integrating financial and sales management capabilities, says Gary Fromer, vice president of SMB and hosting at SAP America. "This announcement is part of an aggressive rollout of the Business One solution on a global level that started one year ago today," Fromer says. "SAP is already well entrenched in the mid-market, but this new product marks our entry into a smaller business space. Companies have been asking for this type of functionality for their business, but it wasn't affordable before." Fromer says that the solution can be up and running within a week, and can be deployed at companies with as few as 10 employees or as many as several hundred. Targeting the smaller end of the mid-market can be a boon for SAP, even if many other enterprise-level vendors are starting to enter the space. A recent AMR Research study indicates that 48 percent of companies with less than $1 billion in revenue that are considering CRM projects are still undecided as to which vendor they will select. In addition to the United States, SAP Business One is currently available in 12 countries and 14 languages. "Many companies can benefit from this, since they may be global companies needing versions of the software in several languages," Fromer adds. The relationship between SAP and American Express involves two major components. American Express will serve as an individual reseller of SAP Business One and is building its own national network of highly qualified channel partners. In addition, American Express is working with SAP to develop specialized versions of SAP Business One, to be offered exclusively by American Express and its channel partner network under the brand SAP Business One -- The American Express Edition. "This is a case of two global brands coming together to address the needs of SMBs," says Eric Worth, managing director of professional services at American Express TBS. "Companies have been telling us that they wish they could buy SAP, but it simply wasn't affordable. Now they can get all the functionality and quality of SAP, at a cost they can afford." Worth notes that SAP and American Express TBS are also working together to deliver vertical-specific versions of the Business One solution. "We have already planned to offer a solution targeting the wholesale distribution industry," Worth says. "And over time, we hope to have Business One solutions for all twenty-two verticals SAP services in general."
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