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SAP signals intent to SMB customers

Software giant SAP used Gitex to outline its commitment to the region’s small to medium-sized business (SMB) customers, by releasing a business management software package designed specifically for that market segment.

Available as a single, integrated solution the software will allow SMBs to automate and connect their core operations — including sales, finance, purchasing, inventory and manufacturing — and to better interface with their customers, suppliers and distributors.

Essam Enany, president of SAP Arabia, said he believed demand in the regional SMB market space was strong.

“The conversation with small and medium-sized companies has evolved since we introduced innovative SAP solutions for the midmarket as a focused effort to serve their needs.

“Small companies that might not have thought of SAP in the past now clearly recognise that SAP can offer unequalled domain expertise, fast implementation and lower total cost of ownership [TCO] for companies of their size.”

He added that SAP Arabia, along with its partners, was establishing the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) space as the fastest growing segment of its business.

“Many small businesses start with accounting software as they develop and implement their IT strategy, but this can complicate life as point solutions are added to meet different needs,” commented Raymond Boggs, vice president of SMB research at IDC.

“Having an integrated business management solution can help small businesses benefit from a consolidated view of different operations, giving them the information they need to make informed decisions, rather than having just the rear view mirror to track past results.”

In an interview earlier this month, Phil Blower, sales director for SAP Arabia, said the company was hoping to take a significant market share in the SMB market space worldwide by 2010.

He said the firm had already put a team in place to focus on meeting the needs of SMBs and planned to launch its strategy toward the end of this year.

“The unique and different characteristic about the SME market is that you typically access it through a different channel,” he noted.

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