In another attempt to tap into the burgeoning SMB market, SAP Australia has signed up IBM GSA to launch its mid-market software suite, Smart Business Solution.
SAP's new SMB suite is said to offer the same functionality as the enterprise software suite, SAP R3, at a lower cost. SAP's Smart Business Solution licence is priced at $5,000 per user, while the SAP R3 enterprise software suite is priced at $7,000 per user.
However, as Len Augustine, director of marketing and alliances at SAP, hastened to point out, "the Smart Business Solution does not feature the same number of fields as the comparable enterprise version. The difference is that with the Smart Business Solution, you can't customise your product to your process. We've taken away some of the sophistication."
In its efforts to enter the SMB market with the new product, SAP will only be targeting the mid-market, in which Augustine said there is greater demand for its e-business software. SAP will be pitching the solution to businesses with revenues of between $80 million and $150 million, he said.
SAP's decision to partner with IBM GSA seems decidedly at odds with what it claims to be its main objective: rolling out the most cost-effective e-business solution for SMBs. According to Augustine, SAP chose to partner with IBM GSA because it is one of six global partners and the two have a strong history as partners. One-third of SAP's customers run on IBM platforms, he said.
"They are big players within our customer base," Augustine said. "IBM made a significant investment in R&D and localising the product to the Australian market." In return for this investment, IBM GSA was assigned SAP's service provider for its SMB software suite in the Australian market. IBM GSA's appointment was subject to certain terms of exclusivity, he added.
SAP will expand its channel beyond IBM services after 12 months.