A Canadian SAP partner says he might be able to double its annual sales of the company’s All-in-One suite with the release of a new version of the enterprise resource planning application.
Jason Mausberg, president of Toronto-based IDS Scheer Canada, said that last year his firm signed 10 new contracts for the software, and he can see the new edition – which will be released in March and include a hosted version partners can sell – could bring that to 20 a year.
“I’m optimistic for 2007,” he said in an interview this week.
SAP AG says that the new version, dubbed A1N, has a more intuitive interface, includes some CRM functions and can be installed faster than the current version.
All-in-One is a tailored version of SAP’s main mySAP suite for companies that don’t need the customization of the full application because it comes with a number of business templates. In addition, partners are encouraged to build vertical solutions around the application to appeal to certain industries.
But while Mausberg is hopeful A1N will boost sales, he’s not over-confident. “I’m also concerned that with the market segment that we’re dealing with in Canada (manufacturing) that segment is in trouble due to currency exchange rates. That market we’ve seen lower buying in the last three years.
“So while I’m optimistic with the suite it’s going to start off slow until we build it into more industry solutions.”
Among the changes in the new version, SAP claims a dramatically reduced implementation time by leveraging the company’s best practices, which have been built into an interface based on the company’s Netweaver portal. Online self-training tools the customer can take advantage off also are supposed to lower implementation time.
Sixty per cent of All-in-One implementations take up to six months to complete, he said, with 75 per cent done in less than nine months. With A1N, implementations “look much closer to one month or two months.”
Customers can also buy a version hosted through a provider arranged by SAP and resold through VARs, who will offer unique service: It starts with a seven day “conference room” consultation, during which the partner and the customer go over the details of how A1N is to be configured. During the evenings of that week, SAP staff alter the code so it’s ready the run the following day. After that, the partner promises to hone and help train the customer over the next 24 days with the expectation the application will go live after that.
Details of how the hosting will be arranged and partner compensation for signing up hosted customers hasn’t been worked out yet, said Conrad Mandala, SAP Canada’s vice-president for small and medium businesses. Initially, he said, customers will only be offered a subscription service.
He said A1N “dramatically broadens the marketplace” for the eight Canadian All-in-One partners.
“It does that by dramatically changing the way we go to market,” he said. “It gives them the opportunity to have a hosted solution, which we see growing, and it gives them the opportunity to change the dynamics by which the product is implemented by doing it in a more rapid fashion. That creates better time-to-value for customers.”
IDS Scheer Canada helped test A1N and worked on the product’s pilot hosted project, done for a Markham, Ont. high tech components manufacturer, which Mausberg said is an example of how the hosted version can push a sale. Mausberg and a VAR offering Microsoft NAV were competing for a contract, he said, but the manufacturer said he wanted to pilot an application before buying. As luck would have it, SAP was looking for a customer to test A1N on, so Mausberg offered the application.
Although his company was mostly an observer on that project, Mausberg is sold on A1N’s capabilities. “It’s only suited for some companies,” he said. “If the company has specific business requirements that are not out-of-the-box, it will not work. But for the companies it’s suited for, it’s revolutionary.”