SAP targets Singapore SMBs with cloud

Enterprise software giant partners with local telco SingTel to deliver cloud-based version of business management tool to small and midsize businesses, promising savings of up to 60 percent.

SINGAPORE--Enterprise software vendor SAP has teamed up with local telco Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) to deliver its Business One business management software through a cloud model, which represents the company's first such attempt in Asia, according to an SAP executive.

At a Tuesday briefing, Tim Moylan, SAP's president for Southeast Asia, said the software-as-a-service (SaaS) is targeted at small and midsize businesses (SMBs) which he defined as companies with less than S$1 million (US$827,600) in revenue and fewer than 200 employees. He added that this is the first time SAP has collaborated with a telco in the region to deliver Business One via the cloud.

Moylan noted that the monthly subscription model can help SMBs save up to 60 percent a year compared with the traditional on-premise deployment of the same software.

Estimates by SingTel and SAP showed that for five users, the total cost of a traditional on-premise deployment for a year, including the cost of licenses, hardware and operating system, maintenance and setup, can set an SMB back by S$33,147 (US$27,432.45). On the other hand, the cloud-delivered model, including setup, one-year subscription fees for five users and broadband connection costs S$13,248 (US$10,964.04).

The new service, according to Moylan, is different compared with SAP's products targeted at large enterprises. It was "purpose built" for SMBs which typically do not have the complexities that large enterprises have and allows SMBs to focus their "finite resources" on their core business, he explained.

Bill Chang, executive vice president of SingTel's business group, added that SAP's offering "hits a nice sweet spot" as the application cuts across areas such as business intelligence, business process management, customer relationship management, financial and logistics.

Both companies also touted Business One's mobility feature. Users can access and manage information in their Business One database on the go via mobile apps that are currently built for Apple's iPhone and iPad.

Chang said SAP's ability to extend its app from fixed to mobile and cloud also differentiates the software giant's service from SingTel's other SaaS partners.

Moylan noted that the partnership with SingTel will not affect SAP's relationship with its system integrators (SIs). He explained that SIs usually target large enterprises and find the SMB segment "hard to reach".

In an interview with ZDNet Asia on the event sidelines, Kowshik Sriman, managing director of SAP Singapore, said the service is targeted mostly at new customers. However, he believes that there is a chance of a "trickle-down" effect as existing overseas SAP customers with subsidiaries in Singapore employ the service for their local offices.