Thursday, May 24, 2007

Aberdeen's Glowing Report on SAP in SME - I've got a few questions

Aberdeen Group recently published a report on SAP's business in the SME segment of the market. It's a nice summary of SAP's offerings and their current customer/partner figures for Business One and All-in-One. I'd heard SAP shared those figures at their recent SAPPHIRE conference, and had the details on a few blogs, but it's still good to have it validated by a big name analyst.

Once you take a look at the report, you might agree with me that it reads a bit like something that might have come out of SAP marketing. I have a few initial questions (and I'm sure many more when I re-read it).

1. Don't you think defining SME as the market for companies with under $1 billion in revenues is rather broad and makes it difficult to compare one vendor against another? SAP has product for the top end of that range (All-in-One), and for the very bottom of that range (Business One), but no vendor covers that complete market.

  • Epicor, Lawson, IFS, etc tend to aim at the $250-$750M space
  • Microsoft targets the lower half of this space, but is moving up
  • Sage exists almost entirely in the <$100M space (maybe even lower)
  • Last year #1000 on the Fortune 1000 list was a $1.4 billion company. I’m not sure what the cutoff is for the fortune 5000, but would guess that it’s below $1 billion. So by defining SME as < $1 billion, you are describing a market (in the US at least) that includes all but a few thousand companies. It’s too broad to be meaningful.

2. What is Aberdeen's take on the comments by SAP’s Marketing Strategy guy that A1S will be customized “over my dead body”? How does that fit with the fact that All-in-One is all about micro vertical specialization and even at the B1 level there appears to be a thriving ISV ecosystem?

3. Does A1S target non-ERP customers (a comment made at SAPPHIRE), or just non SAP customers? In other words, does it target a gap between B1 and All-in-One which SAP has been reluctant to acknowledge exists?

4. What does Aberdeen say about the channel model around A1S? Is SAP going to put their channel at risk buy just offering the product direct? If it is going to be a non-customizable product, is there a partner (as in traditional reseller) opportunity at all?

5. From Aberdeen's perspective, is SAP’s goal of having 100,000 customers by 2010 reachable?

To me an obvious question is did SAP pay for this. I have already asked Aberdeen, and they tell me the answer is no. It was produced with no external funding. However, it is available for vendors to license for distribution. How much do you want to bet that SAP is already signed on for distribution rights (who else would want to push this)?

1 comment:

  1. Aberdeen is owned by Harte-Hanks: clue 1. The analysis was pretty skin deep and seemed to be using theory to support a skewed argument.