SAP continues to refine its offerings and eliminate any obstacle that might stand between it and new customers.
On March 19, at the Gartner Business Process Management Summit in London, SAP announced the addition of new capabilities to its PowerDesigner software. While many architecture tools focus on business process management (BPM), PowerDesigner "offers full support for all components of an organization's enterprise architecture, [BPM] documentation and data architecture using a single, integrated tool," SAP said in a statement.
With the new features, SAP added, organizations can visualize the impact of changes; understand the links between business processes, information, applications and technology; leverage data as a strategic asset driving greater value and efficiency, and more.
The new features "meet the demands of today's complex business environment," Darren Crowder, vice president and general manager of Middleware at SAP, said in a statement.
SAP's 'Thoughtful' SME Strategy
In a meeting with eWEEK a day before, SAP was keen to discuss a different customer segment: small and midsize enterprises (SMEs), which make up more than 80 percent of SAP's customer base.
SAP has been working on building what Kevin Gilroy, senior vice president and general manager of SAP's Global General Business Segment and Indirect Channels, calls a "thoughtful SME strategy."
Toward that end, SAP went on a "listening tour," said Gilroy, and came away with several key takeaways. One was that SMEs need to be respected as their own entities, not treated as "enterprise lite."
Another was that the SMEs are dominated by Millennials, whether they're starting businesses or taking over them, and that generational group presents tremendous opportunities.
"They understand that big data works. And they're into the cloud—they get it," said Gilroy. "They also want mobile everywhere, and they want it fast, and they want it intuitive, and they're not afraid. They're almost, by nature, de-risked."
On March 11 at the CeBIT 2014 show in Germany, SAP made a major appeal to SMEs, announcing a "buy now, pay later" offer with zero-percent financing for up to 24 months. The offer gives small companies "a flexible option ... to invest in new technology that will help the company grow as SAP eliminates the need for up-front capital," the company said in a statement.
"The customer gets de-risked because they're using opex, not capex," said Gilroy. "You can grow yourself out of business if you don't have enough cash, enough working capital."
While entrepreneurs are "cash conservationists" by nature, Millennials like the flexibility such an offer provides, Gilroy added.
They also like the flexibility of being able to choose whether the solution is in the cloud, on-premise or a hybrid of the two.
When it began offering in-cloud solutions, it assumed that interest in on-premise would fall—a necessary cannibalization, Gilroy said. Instead, its cloud offering saw double-digit growth, but its on-premise uptake also grew.
"We found that cloud was opening the door. A lot of folks would take the upgrade call, hear it out, and in a lot of cases, they'd say, 'I'm not ready for the cloud, but I'll take the on-premise,'" said Gilroy. "[The cloud solution] has become an amazing marketing engine."
SAP offers SMEs managed cloud services on a private cloud, hybrid solutions, full public cloud offerings. Whatever a customer's level of risk aversion, SAP has an answer, Hernan Marino, SAP's global head of marketing for Ecosystem, Channels & Routes, told eWEEK.
Apologizing for the blatant marketing pitch, Marino added, "We are the only company that offers the entire approach—every shade of hybrid."