SAP is the giant of the enterprise applications world but it has failed to make headway in the SME market. Yet again though, it is making a strong marketing play to capture your hearts and minds. If you've not seen it, then I recommend looking at SAP's white paper Moving Beyond Accountancy.
The paper points up the need to move away from non-compliance work and throws out some interesting statistics:
SMEs are often disappointed by their investments in business software. the most common reasons why business software failed to deliver were:
- failure to change internal processes - 56%
- poor or inadequate implementation approaches - 33%
- lack of training - 25%
- benefits not adequately assessed in the first place - 14%Source: Revving up for the new regs, PMP Research, 2005
Naturally, SAP pours praise on professionals as being in the ideal place to offer practical advice. And as usual, the spinmeisters at SAP have done a compelling job in surrounding you with fuzzy warm words.
I have to give them credit for thinking about the overall process angle as a differentiator as opposed to punting pure accounting functionality. But the fact remains that SAP solutions for SMEs have not proven attractive. Whether that is the way they've been pitched, the complexity and relative inflexibility of the software or whether SAP just hasn't got the bodies in place that truly understand this market is a mystery.
Nevertheless, if you have clients that need process beyond accounting functionality, then you could do worse than to listen to the SAP pitch. Just be sure you've got your BS detectors on full alert. SAP is very, very good at sales execution. Much of that centres on your believing you're a member of an exclusive club. It works at the enterprise level. I'm not so sure that SMEs will be enamoured.