SAP Thinking Big Campaign
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Holmes Report
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SAP Thinking Big Campaign

SAP has ramped up its focus on the SME segment, a cornerstone of the company’s strategy to double its customer base by 2010.

Paul Holmes

SAP has ramped up its focus on the SME segment, a cornerstone of the company’s strategy to double its customer base by 2010. SAP was more well known by large enterprises and not as established amongst SMEs. SAP commissioned The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to conduct a study of midsize companies’ growth strategies providing insights and a leadership platform. Research in 18 countries revealed the strategic priorities of 3,700 C-level executives and senior managers from SMEs. Their biggest fear: losing the unique characteristics of their company, or their “soul”. SAP has presented the Thinking Big findings at major international customer, channel sales partner, media and industry events shedding light on trends and providing IT insights. Events and publications have enhanced SAP’s reputation and knowledge of its SME product portfolio. The future looks bright: SAP’s SME market share and awareness are growing

 

SAP is the world's leading provider of business software. SAP has more than 36,200 customers in over 120 countries and more than 2,281 channel sales partners. Yet, in 2003, the company’s offering was relatively unknown by SMEs. Research conducted by Burson-Marsteller found that SAP was not seen as a thought leader in the SME space by media and analysts. SAP has partnered with B-M since 2003 to create awareness and understanding against local and international competitors. Since then, SAP has increased its recognition and customer base. For its next stage of growth, SAP has set an aggressive goal to increase its client base to 100,000 by 2010. 40% to 45% of new customers are forecasted to come from midsize companies. Part of SAP’s strategy is to attract more local channel sales partners. In 2006, to support a global communications push in partnership with B-M, SAP commissioned the EIU to address the principal question facing midsize companies today: how to grow without losing the flexibility and speed that are prime advantages against larger competitors, and to provide SAP’s Global President and SME leaders with a SME leadership platform relevant to smaller companies.

 

Challenges/Opportunities

How could SAP, a global software company best known by large enterprises, change the perception that its business software is not well suited for small businesses and successfully operate in a market that moves faster, is more agile and more price sensitive? What could SAP do to help SMEs, in developing and developed countries, understand and respond to issues, and engage in a credible dialog with media, customers, prospects and channel sales partners as a strategic business expert?

 

EIU Global Research Highlights Issues and Platforms for Growth: SMEs are the powerhouses behind many economies. SAP is sharing best practices, through its technology and business insights. Growth poses daunting operational challenges. SAP’s research with the EIU found that the competitive business landscape is forcing midsize firms to reevaluate their growth strategies. Nimble entrants and larger competitors, demands of even more powerful customers and uncharted territory of new geographic markets characterize the situation. Maintaining the competitive edge midsize companies are known for over larger rivals – the ability to execute on changes in strategy, sustaining innovation and deeper customer relationships – is crucial.

Regional and local market studies were further analyzed. In Europe, 6 out of 10 SMEs see IT closely aligned with business strategy, compared with 8 out of 10 in the U.S. SMEs in Asia Pacific (69%) and the

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