SAP resellers are looking for a bumper year, with the German software maker identifying small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as a key growth area in 2002.
European president Leo Apotheker promised that SAP would be targeting new markets this year, with the focus on financial services and retail sectors, and that specific efforts would be made in attracting SMEs.
"The SME market is not homogenous. We will be targeting the sophisticated SME, with complex needs," he said.
Chris Tew, sales director at SAP reseller ROC Consulting, explained: "It is a huge boost. With SAP raising the profile of the sector, we will be looking for some big wins in the coming year."
SAP is not alone in identifying the SME sector as a potentially profitable market. Rivals such as PeopleSoft have courted mid-sized markets by offering pre-integrated bundles of software.
But some market watchers remain unconvinced about enterprise-class vendors selling to the mid-market.
"While they may be able to do deals on price, they provide a degree of complicated functionality that can require too much integration for medium-sized firms," said Kevin Lucas, senior analyst at AMR Research.
By tailoring its products and focusing on industry specific issues, SAP is still relevant to the SME sector, said Tew. "The SAP template solutions enable resellers to provide software that is tailored for the particular business," he maintained.
Apotheker insisted that SAP's products are suitable for smaller companies. "We will be delivering complex solutions. That is not the same as complicated ones. Our products will be for very specific markets," he said.
The European strategy will be vital to the company's future success. In 2001, Europe provided half of all its revenues.
SAP has promised investors a 15 per cent growth in revenues for 2002.
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