SAP looks to boost SMB focus

SAP's newly appointed director for the small-to-midsized business (SMB) segment in UK and Ireland is hoping to grow market share with a multichannel and volume-led market strategy.

Following the announcement of his appointment last week, Stephen Read told IT PRO that SAP had been a victim of its own success in the large enterprise space.

"We have been doing well in the SMB sector, although we're not necessarily known for this," he said. "But we have 60 business partners and 1,000 SMB customers, plus those from our Business Objects acquisition. And now we have the opportunity to take this to the next level."

Read added that, although the market may grow more slowly during this recession, SAP was well positioned to grow its share of the market.

"We are now one SAP team, focused on bringing the value of our three, core product offerings Business ByDesign, Business One and Business All-in-One and those of Business Objects, together with our partners to UK SMBs," he said.

After making clear his intention to move forward with plans to further build a multichannel, volume business model at his appointment, Read explained: "SMBs often have just as much complexity in their businesses as any large enterprise, but they want the value of their IT systems delivered in a very digestible and affordable way."

He said SAP would concentrate on selling packaged solutions, sold on a fixed-price basis, with the potential for financing and hosting facilities included.

"We're also investing in state-of-the-art remote support and field engineering capabilities to support our partners and service some customers in a hybrid way, if that's what is best for those customers. This will also allow us to sell in volume to thousands of customers" he said.

Read added that SAP's SMB products would help this business segment weather the current economic storm by offering quick-to-implement business systems that reflected industry specific best practices for a quick return on investment (ROI).

The software vendor's stated global SMB ambition is to take the number one spot in every market it competes in, where SMBs currently make up 85 per cent of SAP's customer base.

Prior to taking on this role, Read was vice president of SAP business development in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. He joined SAP in April 2006 as senior director of midsize enterprise partners in EMEA, having previously worked for Sony Ericsson, Elateral and the Lotus/IBM Software Partner organisation.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.