CEBIT: SAP acquisition targets SMEs

Business-software maker SAP has acquired a small Israeli company, TopManage Financial Solutions, allowing the company to broaden...

Business-software maker SAP has acquired a small Israeli company, TopManage Financial Solutions, allowing the company to broaden its offering to the small and medium enterprise (SME) market.

TopManage, founded in 1996 and based in Tel Aviv, provides software handling small-business functions such as general ledger, sales, purchasing, banking, inventory, and costing. Its Windows 95-based product has been sold in Israel for three years.

Léo Apotheker, SAP's president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) said, the new parent company is known for serving large enterprise customers, but has decided to go after SMEs by integrating TopManage's offerings into its platform.

"Larger firms represent about 50% of IT spending, but there is a big chunk we can address with our strategy today," Apotheker said.

SAP chief executive officer and co-chairman Henning Kagermann said he expects the SME sector to account for about 15% of his company's sales within three or four years. But he insisted the acquisition does not mark a change in the company's original focus: integrated business applications.

"Everything we announce fits into the same category," he said. "The opportunities are so large in this space that we would be unwise to change our strategy."

Company officials would not say how much they paid for TopManage, a privately held company with some 70 employees. Nor would they say when or at what price the SME product will be made available to SAP customers.

"We'll offer an adequate price. We are analysing this deeply and hopefully within the next two weeks we'll announce the final price," said Hans-Juergen Uhink, SAP's vice-president for small and medium business in EMEA.

SAP plans to expand its own distribution network to service SMEs, and also to recruit channel partners to sell the product. The former TopManage will remain responsible for distribution in its home market.

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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