SAP has gained fourth position in the European market with its ERP system for SMEs, a year after its launch.
Preliminary figures from analyst IDC show SAP's fledgling SME business has a three per cent share, level with Visma ASA, of a highly fragmented market. Even Sage, the clear market leader, has only 11 per cent.
Barbara Wiener, head of SME business at SAP UK, said the vendor will continue building its channel for both its ERP systems designed for the SME market - BusinessOne, for smaller companies - and MySAP All in One, for mid-market firms.
"It's very clear that we need more partners than we have today. We've got some way to go yet to establish our channel, and I think the next 12 months will be testing," Wiener said.
SAP has 25 UK partners selling BusinessOne, which was launched last year and had its first upgrade last week, and 16 partners selling All in One. Wiener said it has 170 UK SME customers out of 5,000 worldwide. SAP announced last year that 28 per cent of its worldwide business came from the SME market.
However, the vendor's definition of an SME is slightly unusual, in that it includes firms with up to $1bn turnover.
Bo Lykkagaard, a software analyst at IDC, claimed that SAP's success in the SME sector depends on recruiting enough high-quality resellers, and varies country by country.
"Relatively speaking, it has not picked up that much in the UK. It is up against Sage, which has a strong presence and a reseller network designed exactly for the small-business segment," he said.
The upgrade of SAP BusinessOne, which the vendor absorbed with the acquisition of Israeli firm Top Manage in 2002, comes after a £40m investment in the system, Wiener said.
Gadi Shamia, vice-president of solutions management at SAP, said the new version includes materials resource planning features to make the product suitable for small manufacturers.
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