Vendor Perceptions and Realities in the World of SME
There is definitely a litany of advantages to working for a company as well known and world renowned as SAP–the primary one being our reputation as a first-class organization.
But the downside to having your logo on the side of stadiums and on billboards that people see as they walk through airport terminals is that there is the perception–and I stress the word perception–that SAP is too large to provide solutions for small and midsize companies.
I can’t tell you how many times I have attended different industry events and been told by VARs from every walk of life that SAP is too big for them, that we don’t have the software for their customers who are growing small and midsized companies, and that we are an “enterprise-centric” business focused on the world’s largest organizations.
Nothing, in their misguided perception, could be further from the truth.
These partners are shocked when I reveal that 85 percent of our more than 335,000 customers are SMEs. 85 percent. That is a significant number.
The counter-argument that I most generally hear is that most of that 85 percent was acquired when we were smaller, when we were growing, not after we became the monolith that we are now.
That may be the case with other businesses and other companies. But that is not our culture at SAP. That is not the way we think–and, if it was, we would certainly not have achieved the sustained success in the small and midsize markets that we have enjoyed to this point.
Industry analysts say that with 84 million small and midsized companies worldwide, this market is an awesome opportunity for SAP and our partners. No matter how large or small we are, we’d be foolish to ignore it, and even more foolish not to provide quality solutions.
Yes, we are large. But, we are not unwieldy. Don’t be intimidated by the name. Be attracted to the quality. Here’s a quick rundown of the SAP solutions that are priced and packaged specifically for small and midsize companies:
SAP Anywhere: This is an affordable multi-channel commerce solution built for small businesses with less than 200 employees.
SAP Business ByDesign: The perfect cloud-based ERP for mid-market companies and subsidiaries that allows them to gain business insights from anywhere, anytime with built-in mobile apps, integrated analytics and reporting powered by SAP HANA.
Concur expense, travel and invoicing solutions: This trifecta of solutions is great for growing companies. You can integrate them seamlessly into existing ERP, HR, accounting and other systems.
SAP S/4 HANA for SAP Business All-in-One: This ERP gem hits the sweet spot for upper midsize businesses, with an in-memory database to meet complex industry-specific needs. Many of our top VARs love this solution.
SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer: This cloud CRM portfolio helps you deliver a solution that drives customer engagement across all channels. Think retail.
SAP Hybris Commerce Edge edition: This market-leading e-commerce software meets the needs of small and midsize companies, integrating all customer touch points on a single platform–including online, mobile, point of sale (POS), and more.
Partners are our route-to-market for SMEs; together we capitalize on this massive opportunity. So, on the partner front, our belief and our mandate is that the best measure of a big vendor is the value that it places on its smallest partners. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hardware or software vendor, in the cloud or strictly on-premise.
I tell VARs that the SAP PartnerEdge program has a place for all types of cloud and classic on-premise partners, as well as those buying through distribution. We even have a program for the virtual tire-kickers: We’ve given these prospective partners access to our partner portal, so they can skim through content to determine if they like what they see and at a later point may want to join.
How a vendor manages its smallest partners, and what it puts in its product line, says a lot about the vendor’s emphasis and what it is trying to achieve. So, no matter how big or small the vendor is, don’t let perception fool you.
Ira Simon (@IraASimon) is global vice president, Partner & SME Marketing at SAP. Learn more about partnership opportunities at: http://go.sap.com/partner.html.
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