Today, SAP is announcing its SAP Anywhere solution, a SMB-focused front-office suite designed to manage sales, marketing, e-commerce and inventory activities in one complete system.
“SAP Anywhere is a front office application, which takes accounting information and provides real-time analytics that will enable SMBs,” said Toby Davidson VP SMB Solutions Group, at SAP. “It provides intelligence about customers and their buying trends, and consolidates that information, to drive efficiency in businesses.”
Davidson said that to date, this kind of multi-channel e-commerce solution has been pretty much the domain of the consumer market, but that that is about to change, and SAP intends to be at the forefront of the B2B wave.
“The B2C market has been leading the way in adoption, but B2B is catching up,” he said. “We see a big shift coming in the next few years, to the point where B2B will be double B2C by 2020.”
SAP Anywhere is a cloud-based solution, run by SAP in a public cloud. While it can be accessed through either mobile devices or desktops, SAP is playing up the mobile aspect, emphasizing that it will allow SMBs to manage their business from anywhere using their mobile devices.
“This is a product built from the bottom up for the SME market,” said Kevin Gilroy, Senior Vice President of Global and General Manager of the SME Segment at SAP. “We are leveraging HANA to mine the data but the concept for the application and data structure is built from the ground up specifically for the product.”
Davidson said the application has a broad spectrum of functionality which will deliver a consistent customer experience, beginning with online and offline marketing campaigns and extending to shopping, sales and service functions. Users can centrally manage product listings, display real-time inventory and pricing information, and execute promotion strategies. Online stores can be created in minutes. Customer information is captured on the fly, and inventory insights will be leveraged into the unified order-management system in real time. The application will also support guest checkout, for a smooth buying experience.
“We think this is a new category of product, which fits what SMEs are looking for,” Gilroy said. “It is consumer-like in that it will be able to be deployed in hours, not days, weeks or months. It will also be priced at a very attractive level. It scales from 10 employees to 500, and of course is great news for the channel.”
The catch – and for solution providers in Canada and the United States, it’s a very big one – is that for the moment, SAP Anywhere will be limited to the Chinese market. SAP has customized it specifically for that market, working closely with China Telecom, one of the country’s top telcos. Davidson also indicated that China is not simply the first launch market on a road map which will roll SAP Anywhere out to North America In fairly short order.
“We do have other plans, but for the moment it is limited to China,” he said.
“We have broader plans, but we want to knock it out of the market in China first,” Gilroy added. “Stay tuned!”
Once SAP Anywhere is available here, it will also have integration capacity with other SAP solutions. For companies running their business on the SAP Business One application, SAP indicated that there are plans in place to explore options to evolve and complement their business model by SAP Anywhere. An API can also be provided to partners for integration with the SAP Business ByDesign solution.