SAP Canada’s president looks forward

Since taking over SAP Canada last January, Bob Courteau has been overseeing Netweaver 2004 growth — its Web-based cross-application platform — along with its efforts to move downstream to the small- to medium- sized market.

How is Netweaver 2004 faring since its debut earlier this year, and in a general sense, the application server market as a whole?

If you took a poll with analysts, for 2004, heading into 2005, we’re headed for a three to four per cent growth in the applications market. My take is that our competitors — and we’ve done some research on this — are actually seeing declines in the market. We at SAP North America have had 50 per cent year over year growth in software licenses. In Canada, we’ve had 5 consistent quarters of double digit revenue growth. I think that we’re a market leader right now and that carries over throughout the marketplace. We’re really delighted with the penetration of Netweaver. If you look at customer adoption, as a percentage of our customers…it’s worked quite well. How successful has SAP Canada been in moving downstream into the mid-market space? We’ve actually been doing well, particularly in the part of the market under $100 million where we’ve had an unbelievable year. We have 22 new customers in the last quarter for our SAP Business One product which is targeted at companies under a $100 million dollars. In the mid-market, with our partner channel we’re seeing a real pick up in those companies as well.

How does SAP see the IT Market as a whole?

Companies are really moving from a best of breed to best of suite perspective. When we think some of the reasons for this is that enterprises are really trying to get transparency not only for business decisions but governance as well.

What are some of the major customer concerns and challenges?

This year is one of the first stages for being SOX (Sarbanes -Oxley) compliant so that’s on the minds of executives. Also the Canadian dollar is causing companies to think a lot more about productivity. Capital expenditures usually go up when the Canadian dollar is closer to the US dollar. As Canadian companies think about competing globally, they can’t count on currency to be a competitive advantage so they’re looking at other ways. Certainly IT is definitely one of those ways. People are really looking at getting better access to information, whether it’s controlling projects, understanding inventory or making decisions about cashflow.

Heading into 2005, what is SAP’s current product roadmap?

We’re taking the capability of our ERP Business Suite and now building industry applications on top of that, like merchandizing applications for retail, specific applications for the financial industry and billing applications for utilities. With Netweaver, we’re also pushing an agenda of inter-company operabilities.

What changes might enterprises expect to see in the new year?

I think companies are really looking at the financial supply chain. It’s about getting visibility to the whole enterprise. If you’re a distributor, how are your clients consuming technology, how is the product being consumed and getting some visibility to that? Also figuring out what’s backward integrated in terms of inventory or purchasing patterns? To be able to set up a financial supply chain that goes from acquisition to usage is a trend that you’re seeing more and more of. We’re trying to be at the forefront of that to try and provide the solutions with NetWeaver that allow integration across multiple enterprises.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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