With product code names, companies tend to lean more towards whimsical and creative. Take Microsoft. The company has used locations, like “Whistler” for Windows XP (Microsoft held design retreats in Whistler, British Columbia) or “Longhorn” for Vista (the Longhorn is apparently a bar in Whistler).
And then there’s SAP, which for its brand new, on-demand, game changing midmarket offering, went with… A1S.
In an interview with SearchSAP.com about the new All-in-One improvements, Tom Kindermans, senior vice president for SAP’s SMB in EMEA, speculated that the A1S code name might be behind some of the confusion surrounding SAP’s midmarket offerings. And it makes sense. Says Kindermans:
Some of the confusion comes from the codename we are using — A1S — for the new suite we announced. This created some confusion because some people believe A1S will be the successor of All-in-One, which is not the case. The real commercial name will be announced in September. And we have a very clear positioning for each of the three [midmarket products].
SAP doesn’t think the error is fatal, though, it will just require that much more investment in marketing to differentiate the products. Still, we might expect a more innovative nickname for SAP’s next new product. Perhaps “Sylt” after the German resort town famous for its clothing-optional beaches?
Kindermans went on to echo what other SAP executives have said: That even with the release of A1S and resulting confusion, he doesn’t expect All-in-One’s growth to slow at all, because the products address different markets.
It’s out of the question that A1S can replace All-in-One for several reasons. One of the reasons is that we’re addressing another type of customer, what we call an unserved market. It’s a hosted solution which we don’t have in the portfolio for the moment. So we are absolutely convinced that the business A1S will generate will not cannibalize All-in-One business.
SAP will, obviously, be relying on the midmarket, and its 3 products, to generate significant customer growth on its way to the company’s goal of 100,000 customers by 2010. So, while some analysts and industry watchers have questioned whether that goal is realistic, Kindermans thinks it is within reach, with the SMB products being relied on heavily.
[The 100,000 customer goal] is definitely within reach. We haven’t changed our goals and there is no reason to change the goal. Our Business One product will contribute heavily to the 100,000 customers. But not only Business One, A1S will contribute. All-in-One has over 10,000 customers but we continue to invest in the product as before and we believe we will have the same growth in the next few years… so this 100,000 customers is within reach and we are very firm to confirm this number.