SAP has been talking up its forthcoming solution for the mid-market, A1S, that will help the company grow from around 40,000 customers to 100,000 by 2010. According to Shai Agassi, president of SAP's Products & Technology Group, the goal of new suite is to dramatically reduce the tax across technology, operations, user training, integration and infrastructure for implementing and running ERP applications.
"We want to figure out a way to bring down the cost of operations by a factor of 5x to 10x," Agassi said during a presentation in December 2006. A company should be able to set up the software in one week, cost half of what it costs today and have a flexible deployment model (customers can build their own composites on top of it), as well as predetermined roles and an event-centric user experience, Agassi added.
1. The phrases “on-demand” or “Software as a Service” were never mentioned. Admittedly SAP will be presenting a hybrid model, but the product is going to be available web-deployed on a subscription basis. Are they avoiding those terms because they are inventing another one? Is it down to marketing and they want to avoid comparisons with the likes of NetSuite and Salesforce.com? Do they believe that their approach is something different? 2. Wow - taken on face value, if the product is as good, flexible, and cost effective as they say then this really is a significant announcement for the mid-market. 3. This will mean that SAP’s mid market approach will involve three products - B1, A1N and A1S. How much overlap and channel conflict will there be? 4. If the A1S approach is so good, so flexible, and with cost of ownership better by a factor of 10, what effect will that have on the rest of SAP’s traditional business, including ERP 2005? 5. Why haven’t they said more about the underlying architecture of the new product so that the SAP detractors can see that this is a new product rather than an evolution of one of their existing products?
As David asks, if A1S is so good, what effect with it have on SAP's other products--might as well scrap them and migrate then to the new platform. Does that sound familiar--perhaps like Oracle Fusion? Larry Dignan will be reporting today on what Oracle has up its sleeve. The wraps are expected to be taken off the AIS product in March.