Busting Myths

Pat, some small and midsize businesses (SMBs) think SAP solutions are just for large companies. Have you been able to change that perception?

Absolutely. SAP is not a newcomer to the SMB world. Globally, nearly 60 percent of all SAP installations are in companies with less $500 million in annual revenue. Nearly 40 percent are in companies with less than $200 million in revenue. That means roughly 10,500 of SAP’s 18,500 customers are SMBs.

What solutions do you offer SMBs?

We offer two affordable, easy-to-implement solutions for SMBs. SAP Business One is for smaller companies, typically with less than $50 million in annual revenue. mySAP All-in-One, the solution we’re talking about today, is for mid-market companies, including those well below the $200-million mark.

SAP recently received the “Best Execution of a Mid-market Solution” award from Gartner Group, a leading IT consulting firm. The award honors IT companies whose work has positively impacted mid-market enterprises.
mySAP All-in-One solutions are pre-packaged micro-vertical solutions that are created and delivered by SAP Business Partners to meet the needs of SMBs. The software is based on the core functionality of the mySAP Business Suite. So, SMBs can leverage the same solutions as large companies. For a small $100-million company, that’s a compelling message: It can benefit from the same functionality as a billion-dollar corporation, but at a price it can afford.
It’s a fallacy to think that, just because a company is small, it is any less complex than a larger organization is. Although they’re smaller than their big company brethren, SMBs can be just as complicated and have the same functionality requirements.

There are a lot of solutions out there for SMBs. What makes mySAP All-in-One different?

Our “micro-vertical” approach is what differentiates SAP solutions from other solutions for SMBs. mySAP All-in-One is extremely flexible, making it easy for our business partners to package their own mySAP All-in-One solutions. Each partner leverages their unique industry-specific expertise to add functionality, incorporating pre-defined business processes based on the best practices for that industry. What results is a solution that’s pre-packaged to meet a range of vertical industry segments at the “micro” level. For example, not just a generic consumer packaged goods (CPG) solution, but a more “hyper-focused” solution for beverage distributors. Not just a manufacturing solution, but a solution for semiconductor fabrication.

None of our mainstream competitors are taking this approach. There are small niche players in every market that do, but they lack SAP’s financial stability as well as research and development investments that continually bring new functionality to SMBs, such as e-business. Further, they lack the scalability that SMBs need. Because mySAP All-in-One solutions are based on the highly scalable mySAP Business Suite, SMBs have a solution that will grow with them, from a company that will be around in the future.

How do customers benefit from SAP’s micro-vertical approach?

They get a higher quality product that leverages best-in-class processes, based on the micro-industry expertise of the partner and the experiences of thousands of customers. There’s no need to debate over the right way to execute specific business processes for the best results. For example, there may be 15 different ways to take a customer order. But, if you’re an auto parts supplier to the “Big Three” auto makers, the software is pre-packaged to support electronic data interchange (EDI), which has been designated as a best practice for that industry.

Further, the tools needed for a successful implementation are bundled with each solution. Supporting documentation reflects industry-specific terminology, advising companies on issues from training to change management. Everything SMBs need is basically delivered right out of the box.

So, that addresses another misconception about SAP solutions, namely that implementation is too long and complex for SMBs.

Right. Because mySAP All-in-One solutions are pre-packaged for the needs of micro industries, implementation time is dramatically shorter and there are far fewer resource requirements. Our partners can deliver a solution, within a fixed timeline, in as little as 12 – 16 weeks. This minimizes business disruption and keeps internal IT resources – a scarce commodity in the SMB world – focused on creating value for the company.

What about implementation costs? That’s always a big concern with SMBs.

Affordability is always a big issue for SMBs. They want the same best-in-class SAP solutions as large companies, but they have really restricted budgets. Our partners not only deliver mySAP All-in-One solutions within a fixed timeline, they deliver them for a fixed, predictable price.

This abolishes another myth that implementation cycles are long, costly processes. In fact, rapid implementation lowers costs by as much as 40 percent over traditional approaches, speeding up return on investment at the same time. Also, because mySAP All-in-One solutions are so scalable, SMBs invest once and leverage that investment as they grow.

SAP has a solid reputation. How can customers be sure they receive the same caliber of products and services from your partners?

We evaluate partners based on three factors – vertical market expertise, proven experience in delivering high-quality solutions, and the ability to provide effective implementation support. To receive certification from SAP, partner-developed mySAP All-in-One solutions must meet stringent qualification criteria to ensure that they are complete, scalable and cost-effective. This provides customers with a turnkey solution that delivers predictable results and minimizes risks for SMBs.

Today we have over 20 mySAP All-in-One business partners in the US and 30 mySAP All-in-One micro-vertical solutions. The growing volumes of satisfied mySAP All-in-One customers are a testament to the success of our partner strategy.

What can SMBs expect to see in the future from mySAP All-in-One solutions?

We’re going to continue working with and supporting our existing resellers so they can carry on providing customers with the best in sales, service and support. Though we’ll be recruiting new partners as well. We’ve created quite a buzz in the market, so some of the best channel partners are coming to us.

The CD Group, a new reseller partner, will deliver mySAP All-in-One solutions to key regional markets. Summit Enterprise Solutions is also a new partner, offering mySAP All-in-One solutions for beverage distributors. Further, itelligence, one of our most successful partners, has launched a new solution for the consumer packaged goods/food industry.
Our goal is to expand mySAP All-in-One solutions across virtually every micro-vertical.
We’ll continue to build an elite group of partners to deliver affordable, low-risk solutions that can be implemented quickly for the shortest time to benefit for SMBs – busting through the myth that SAP is just for large companies.

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Susan Twombly
Susan Twombly