Business owners know they’re only as good as their reputation. That holds for big businesses as well. But sometimes having a good reputation is a hurdle to overcome. SAP (NYSE:SAP), a global software company, for instance, has a sterling reputation for providing some of the best software for businesses — big businesses.
The truth is, however, SAP has developed several programs aimed squarely at the small business market. Last month at the SAP Global Partner Summit, I got an overview of SAP’s products. Here’s some of what I learned.
SAP for Small Business
SAP Anywhere is a cloud-based, mobile-friendly solution specifically designed for businesses with less than $10 million in sales. It enables small businesses to sell wholesale or retail, B2B or B2C, and integrates with both Amazon and eBay sales platforms.
There are a lot of components to SAP Anywhere, including inventory management, customer service, order management, eCommerce, multi-channel sales, mobile POS, CRM, marketing and social media and more.
Sean Thompson, the Head of Biz Dev and Channels, at SAP’s SMB Business Unit, says SAP Anywhere is so “easy to implement” a business can be “up and running in 10 days.”
David Blake, the founder of Blue-9 Pet Products started his business on a WordPress platform. Then he discovered SAP Anywhere at a trade show. He says using the program feels like, “I hired an IT department.” Once he signed up with SAP Anywhere, Blake had a new website designed (while he was on vacation!). Currently he uses the platform to host his site as well.
When he started, Blake “didn’t intend to grow that fast,” but he says SAP Anywhere has enabled him to double, and then triple his sales and do business with PetSmart — all for $500 a month.
SAP Business One
Business One is business management software (ERP) designed to automate an small or medium sized business’s core business functions — financial, operations and HR. Luis Murguia, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Business One, says its goal is to offer small and medium sized businesses “solutions for the problems you have.”
You can deploy Business One on premise or in the cloud. Murguia says about 90 percent of businesses are opting for the cloud version. And he adds, “the cloud makes it easier.”
In today’s digital economy, Murguia says, businesses must undergo a “digital transformation.” Businesses need to incorporate things like machine learning and chatbots, all of which are embedded in the ERP. And Business One can interface with new technologies like Amazon’s Echo and RFID readers.
SAP says Business One gives businesses access to “critical real-time data, enabling them to make quicker, better decisions to help [them] grow.” There’s a lot of functionality that comes with Business One, including:
- Stock control (managing your inventory)
- Office integration (it works with Microsoft Outlook)
- Purchasing (managing supplier contracts and transactions)
- Sales management
And Murguia adds, using Business One allows small businesses to “gain scale, be more competitive and leverage new technological tools.”
SAP Digital Commerce
There are several components to SAP’s Digital Commerce portfolio. In general, the Digital Commerce offerings make “it easy to connect and communicate with customers in new ways and to better understand how to chart a digital journey.” At the summit, SAP announced an expansion of its Digital Commerce programs.
One offering, the SAP Store, allows “anyone, anywhere, to buy and use SAP and third-party offerings, with minimal human interaction,” according to Madhur Aggarwal, the General Manager of SAP Digital Commerce. This means small businesses don’t need to engage with an SAP partner to get a solution. You can just head to the SAP Store and get what you need. Aggarwal says after buying, a business can start using the software in “under 60 minutes.”
As Aggarwal points out, “Small business and people who work at big businesses have the same needs. There’s a job to be done, a problem to be solved — and they need the tools to solve it.” They can find those tools at the SAP Store.
At the SAP Global Partner Summit, SAP also announced the expansion of the SAP App Center, (although the company says the SAP Store “remains the official channel” for buying in a “low-touch manner”). SAP consolidated its various marketplaces (there are more than 1,300 apps available from SAP partners) to make it easier to find the app you need.
There are a few offerings in the store that are ideally suited for small businesses.
- SAP Digital CRM is a “complete customer engagement solution,” incorporating sales, services and marketing.
- SAP Digital Consumer Insight is a very powerful tool offering small businesses a deep dive into consumer behaviors. There’s tons of demographics data you can learn about your customers and other consumers.
- WorkConnect by SAP simplifies the hiring process by allowing you to use one tool to post openings to multiple job boards, track and manage candidates and collect and consolidate team feedback enabling collaborative hiring.
SAP Startup Focus
The SAP Startup Focus program is designed to nurture promising startups that have Big Data, predictive or real-time analytics solutions they’re currently developing. Startup Focus “connects these innovative startups with established enterprise players who are looking for disruptive innovation to power their own businesses.” According to Manju Bansal, Vice President and Global Program Head of SAP Startup Focus, his team looks for businesses they can help take to market. Startups that get into the program get free access to SAP’s tech stack. They’re also assigned a solutions architect to help them. Then they’re given the opportunity to pitch their solutions to SAP’s customer base (about 340,000 customers).
Like Sherpas, SAP guides these startups, taking them to events and conferences, where they gain credibility due to their SAP association.
Bansal says the global program, which is free and doesn’t require a financial commitment or lock the startup in to working with SAP, was started because “everyone realized the value of innovation.”
The stats for Startup Focus are impressive: 5,579 startups in 25 industries, in 58 countries, producing 263 “validated” solutions for SAP customers.
If you’re serious about growing your small business, you need reliable, innovative software solutions to help you. As Reggie Jackson, baseball Hall of Famer, owner of a classic car business and one of my favorite New York Yankees says, “SAP Anywhere provided a simple solution for me so I could dwell on what I want to do and follow my passion.”