SAP drops dot-com from mySAP brand

SAP AG is ditching the dot-com from its software, re-labeling the product portfolio this week as the mySAP Business Suite.

The company is also altering its marketing tagline, dropping the e- from its former mantra, “The best run e-businesses run SAP.”

In the wake of the dot-com meltdown, having a product carrying that branding no longer makes sense, a company spokesperson said.

No changes are being made to the software, or to its licensing terms, he said.

The new product naming is a good move for SAP, and an overdue one, said Gartner Inc. analyst Yvonne Genovese, in Atlanta.

“SAP (created at a time when the dot-com era was all the rage,” she said. “It doesn’t really describe what the product does very well, anyway.”

SAP introduced its brand in 1999, pledging to design its applications for use via a Web browser. But other initiatives have drifted in and out of the umbrella, and the brand has become a muddled one, Genovese said.

“There is tons and tons of confusion in the marketplace about what SAP’s offerings are. I think the last rebranding efforts have not really come close to making clear what the product offerings are, until now,” she said.

SAP, based in Walldorf, Germany, also said the change reflects a marketplace shift it’s seeing, from the modular, “best of breed” buying popular when it introduced, to a more integrated buying approach now pursued by customers seeking to avoid integration woes by purchasing entire software suites from one vendor.

The timing of the change fits in well with SAP’s recent unveiling of the new integration and application server middleware, NetWeaver, it plans to use as the foundation of its business software, Genovese said.

“What they’re doing now is now just a rebranding. They’re putting out into the market a statement of what their product does, and NetWeaver is a very important piece of this announcement,” she said. “The fault with this is that they need to get this message out more broadly than I think they are.”

Marketing has not been a focus for SAP in the past few years, and consequently, their market positioning has slipped, she said. The challenge the company faces now is communicating clearly to its worldwide sales force and to its existing customers its vision of its product lineup, according to Genovese.

“There’s going to have to be a lot of training at SAP, all the way down,” she said. “This is just the beginning.”

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