With the new "Enabled by SAP Business One" designation and brand for its solution provider program, SAP (NYSE: SAP) hopes to do for the ERP business what Dell did for the PC business.
The program will see select solutions from SAP partner ISVs certified not only on a technical basis as happens currently, but also on a sales, marketing and implementation support basis. When an implementation partner chooses to market and implement a vertical-specific ISV solution with the Enabled by SAP designation for a client, they'll know they have that extra support and expertise behind them.
Conrad Mandala, vice president, SAP Business One North America, SAP Canada, said the designation is an important part of the evolution of SAP's strategy in the SMB, and one of the primary tenets in its go-to-market aim of widening the market coverage of its Business One solution.
Mandala said he'd liken the program to what Dell and others did in the computers and peripherals space.
"If some one told you 20 years ago you could buy a computer over the Web on a whim I don't think they'd believe you," he said. "That's what this is doing for SAP, and the ERP. Productize our core solutions and leverage SAP's experience with the strong underpinning of the solution provider's expertise and market knowledge. That's what's enabled by this certification."
SAP's ISV program has been kept purposely small, focusing on quality over quantity, and has just 300 members said Ralf Mehnert-Meland, global senior director, Software Solution Partners, SAP. Technical certification has always been a part of that program, but the new designation will take that to another level.
"Technology is one thing," said Mehnert-Meland. "We want to make sure the ISV has what the reseller needs to really sell the solution beyond just the code. Blueprints, marketing information, integration assistance, and guides to help the reseller sell to the right customer."
In all, it will take an ISV a few months to go through the designation process, and only a select few ISVs will be invited to submit their solutions. The certification will also be done on a country-specific basis, said Mehnert-Meland, as tailoring the solution to the local market and complying with local regulations is an important consideration.
"We're picking the best solutions we have and saying OK, you have a good solution, now let's make sure the reseller knows hot to best sell it, and where it can best be implemented," he said.
Mandala expects the program to open-up new vertical market opportunities that would have never considered SAP or an ERP implementation before. For example, he says one of the solutions now being certified is for the spas and salons market. While there are thousands of spas and salons in North America, it's not a traditional ERP market.
"But now that we have a spa and salon-specific offering from SAP that changes the conversation," said Mandala. "We have an offering, we have a local implementation channel, standard implementation that lowers the cost for all users, and the user gets comfort from knowing the solution has been through rigorous approval by SAP."