Mention SAP, and it is not uncommon to see the eyes of SMB executives glaze over, sometimes from ignorance, but more often due to knowledge of SAP's formidable reputation as an enterprise-class applications vendor - one that sells to the really big companies. What many small and mid-sized businesses might not know, however, is how SAP has been working on creating software solutions that target SMBs through the years.
Beyond the "original" SAP Business Suite of enterprise-centric applications, a quick look at the SAP Small Businesses and Midsize Companies section of the SAP website reveals the presence of other software packages such as SAP Business One, SAP Business ByDesign and SAP Business All-in-One. The interrelation and functionalities of these software suites are not aspects that are obvious at the first glance, though.
So I was thrilled to check it out when it was brought to my attention that Don Fornes, CEO of Software Advice, had written a blog that expounds on the merits of the various suites.
In SAP's SME Solutions - A Guide to the Product Portfolio, Fornes made use of several well-illustrated tables pitting the software solutions from SAP positioned towards SMB with the enterprise-centric SAP Business Suite. Comprehensive comparisons were made in terms of function (Finance, HR, CRM, etc.), industry (banking, health care, retail, etc.), and size of business, as measured in terms of employee count. This makes it possible for readers to gain a quick overview of the various product suites.
Fornes highlighted that Business One is suitable for organizations with fewer than 100 employees, while ByDesign is catered to companies with between 100 to 500 users. ByDesign is a pure Web-based solution that is offered on-demand, though, and might not be suitable for organizations with a different deployment preference. All-in-One can support user requirements starting from 500 users and scales all the way to SAP's Business Suite offering.
Finally, Fornes also gave an estimate of the expected implementation and licensing costs, and whether the suites are easily customizable. While in no way the final say on this subject, the blog does offer a good depth on this topic. As such, I recommend it as essential reading for SMBs considering the use of SAP in their organization.
A word of caution, though, is that there is a lot of difference in an SMB with 50 staffers and $5 million turnover, versus one with 500 employees and $200 million turnover. As such, it is important for SMBs to keep their eyes opened, and keep a look out for a solution that truly fits their business objectives and budget.