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Sapphire: HP and SAP join to offer CRM suite across Europe

Hewlett-Packard and German enterprise software provider SAP have agreed to develop, promote and sell the CRM (customer relationship management) software suite SAP Business One jointly, throughout the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

The companies will start this month with the German market, the companies announced on Thursday at Sapphire, SAP's international e-business conference being held in Lisbon.

"We're taking the strengths of the two companies and combining them, specifically HP's strength in the channel and SAP's credibility in the end-to-end solutions market," said Jos Brenkel, head of commercial channel and SMB business for HP EMEA.

SAP Business One is a set of applications aimed at small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) based on technology that SAP acquired from Israeli vendor TopManage Financial Solutions in March. SAP Business One is aimed at businesses with up to 250 users, and is designed to address common user requirements in the areas of accounting, logistics, salesforce automation and business reporting.

HP will help SAP identify, qualify, preselect and manage local resellers as part of the HP and SAP Business One Certified Reseller Program. Both companies will staff the SAP Business One centres where SAP will certify partners selected by the two companies, as well as provide partner training and technical and presales support.

"We are trying to address the economics of the channel with value-added solutions. Our hardware partners will make their margin with value add, and Business One offers extremely good value add. We have to mix off-the-shelf software, which keeps the price down, with a level of customisation to make sure that the solution is fine-tuned to fit the needs of each customer," Brenkel said.

As part of the agreement, the companies will use HP's distribution channel in more than 30 countries in the EMEA region with the focus initially on Germany, which has more than 300,000 SMBs. The program will extend to Austria and Switzerland in about three months' time, and the UK and the Benelux countries in the first quarter of 2003, he said.

"Rolling out in Germany, where SAP knows the market so well, gives us a good feeling about how this process works and what resources are needed. There are many companies growing from small to midsized, but because of the complexity of solutions, many companies have not really delved into CRM software. At our Business One centres, resellers can come in and train with HP and SAP staff on how to provide their customers with end-to-end solutions that start with CRM software," Brenkel said.

Brenkel did not know if HP and SAP have similar plans for promoting and selling the product in the US. Brenkel also declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal.

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