SAP trumpets new Calgary partner

ATLANTA – SAP has signed another Canadian channel partner to sell its All-in-One solution and is looking for more, the company announced at its Sapphire conference.

Open Business Process Inc., which has offices in Calgary, Vancouver and New Delhi, India, will work with SAP through the PartnerEdge program to deliver software and services and strengthen SAP’s position in Western Canada.

All-in-One products are targeted at mid-size businesses, while the Windows-basec Business One suite is designed for smaller enterprises. Based on SAP ERP 2005, All-in-One addresses industry-specific software requirements across vertical industries, from financials to purchasing to inventory.

Open Business has been an SAP partner since it was started last year by former SAP Canada employee Thando Moyo offering integration services with SAP ERP and the NetWeaver platform.

“Our focus right now is to grow the All-in-One channel,” Conrad Mandala, SAP Canada’s vice-president of SMEs, in an interview. While SAP is “aggressively” growing this channel, it’s looking for quality rather than quantity to build its regional footprint , starting in Montreal, Toronto and Calgary.

It’s also looking for partners with specific industry expertise in retail, public sector, utilities and services/construction. Meanwhile it wants its other VARs to beef up their ability to do rapid implementations.

Business processes are not all that different for small and large retailers, Mandala said, so it’s a matter of taking best practices and putting them into a format for small retailers. There’s no new code, he said, but it increases the time to value.

“How do we get our partners to handle more volume?” he asked. “It’s a paradigm shift for partners.” Instead of a massive project rolled out over two years, partners can take on a higher volume of shorter projects (say, four to six months). But this model requires partners to focus more on pre-sales, so SAP will offer partners help with demos and pre-sales through its PartnerEdge program.

Meanwhile, SAP said it has built up a core group of Business One channel partners in this country, including VistaVu Solutions Inc., a Calgary-based partner that has developed an application that focuses on field services. A partner since 2003, its primary audience is energy field services, with a secondary customer base in construction, utilities and telcos.

“SAP has intentionally been very strategic in how they built out the channel,” said Jory Lamb, president and CEO of VistaVu Solutions, in an interview during the conference. “They’ve limited the number of business partners, so they’ve been able to focus on those that they have. We get a lot of face time.”

VistaVu has carved out its target market in Alberta. “We’re not bumping up against other business partners of SAP because we’re vertically focused,” said Lamb. He also sees the Business One footprint growing. “Most opportunities that we’re finding, we’re getting invited to,” he said.

SAP is taking the sniper versus shotgun strategy, said Joel Martin, vice-president of enterprise software at IDC Canada. It makes for a more rewarding vendor/partner relationship, but SAP won’t be able to recruit as many partners – particularly if it wants to ramp up the program quickly.

“Microsoft’s approach is thousands of partners,” he said, adding that the software company knocks on a lot more doors.

While SAP is trying to move downstream, Microsoft is looking for more large enterprise customers. But there’s still a lot of room in the mid-market, said Martin, since there are so many niche, customized applications in that space. And there are more core investments taking place, particularly in governance, which eases the pain around the auditing process.


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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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