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SAP Anywhere Cloud e-Commerce Software Debuts in China

More than just another enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solution in the SAP portfolio of software for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), SAP Anywhere is a natively mobile and cloud-based front-office software solution designed for the multi-channel e-commerce needs of small to medium businesses (SMBs). China Telecom and SAP have announced the general availability of the SAP Anywhere cloud e-commerce software in mainland China. 

China was picked as the first commercial go-to market because it is the fastest growing e-commerce market in the world, having reportedly recently overtaken the US for largest percentage of global online sales. In addition, two thirds of all businesses in China fall into the SMB category (10 to 500 employees). A vast majority of urban Chinese have smartphones, and “mobile” is the dominant mode of commerce. In China, social selling and mobile commerce with social interaction are also the norm. SAP Anywhere has been customized for the telecommunications infrastructure of the Chinese market. 

Given the ill-fated global release of SAP Business ByDesign cloud ERP software in 2007, this Chinese launch may be a way to test the product (and fix it if necessary), away from the global media spotlight. The next regions where SAP will be offering the cloud e-commerce software for SMBs are the UK and US. In the next phases of the rollout, the cloud e-commerce software offering will be sold via SAP’s inside sales and the SAP Store (in a low-touch and no-touch manner), as well as via partners.

SAP Anywhere, in a Nutshell

SAP Anywhere affords SMBs some digital economy savvy via a set of customer experience and e-commerce features, including inventory control and insight, online marketplace management, and business and customer engagement. It is a mobile application built on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform designed for SMBs to concurrently manage marketing, sales, inventory, and commerce activities in a single system. Chinese SMBs can manage their business across multiple channels of sale, from direct account-based sales, in-store sales, e-commerce and online marketplace sales (Taobao, Tmall), and social networks (WeChat).

There is a unified source of information for product catalog, inventory, and pricing management that operates across multiple channels in real time. The system keeps on capturing orders and transactions and enabling engagement across all channels. Users can gain insight into customer trends and activities to help drive value-based marketing and commerce generation activities for more successful sell, resell, cross sell, and upsell. 

The solution includes features that let SMBs create online stores quickly. Via unified order management capabilities, they can glean inventory and logistics visibility and insights, and share them with their customers and partners. Provided as a software as a service (SaaS) solution run by China Datacom, a subsidiary of China Comservice, in a public cloud, SAP Anywhere can be accessed via mobile devices and desktops (see Figure 1).

SAP Anywhere cloud e-commerce software look and feel 
Figure 1. SAP Anywhere look and feel

SMBs that run their business on SAP Business One SMB ERP software (on premises or in the cloud) or the SAP Business ByDesign cloud ERP solution can integrate to SAP Anywhere front-office software. They can also provide their trading partners with an application programming interface (API) to integrate with SAP Anywhere e-commerce software. Many SAP Anywhere customers and prospects also use QuickBooks and other SMB accounting software packages.

SAP Anywhere’s scope

Figure 2. SAP Anywhere’s scope

SAP Anywhere aims to be a system that combines customer relationship management (CRM), point of sales (POS), and e-commerce, so it may compete with solutions such as Shopify, eBay Magento, SugarCRM, and NetSuite. It was built from scratch for SMBs, so it’s not merely an adaptation of SAP’s hybrid commerce software for larger companies.

SAP believes that SAP Anywhere could be a cross-sales opportunity for about 50,000 SAP Business One SMB ERP software customers and 1,300 SAP Business ByDesign cloud ERP software customers worldwide. Since it was unveiled at SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 in June, the product has already garnered about 50 customers in China, with hundreds more evaluating it. Based on these early indicators, this new cloud e-commerce software offering for SMBs may see the same success as SAP Business One.

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