When you hear a term like SAP Store, a place to buy branded merchandise probably comes to mind. A web site where enthusiasts can get logo-wear like baseball caps, polo shirts, coffee mugs, you name it … After all, Oracle has one, so does Tableau, ditto for Cloudera.

But the SAP Store isn’t about “stuff,” software downloads or even Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for that matter. Instead it’s a marketplace where enterprises can buy solutions, potentially even those built by competitors. If all goes as promised, it could be a big deal, even an industry first.

“Enterprise software has only been disrupted by the cloud on the implementation/consulting and product side,” said Holger Mueller, VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research. “Areas like marketing, sales and support have not been affected.”

Until now, that is.

A New Way to Sell

With the advent of the SAP Store, selling and scaling might depend less on sales people and long acquisition processes and more on marketing, referrals and going viral.

What’s the big deal? The cost of sales goes down, according to Mueller. The need for tedious RFIs and RFPs and approvals by everyone and their brother, could become more the exception than the rule. And only one or two touches would be needed to buy.

What a relief. A recent survey by ServiceNow indicated that getting something done in the Enterprise typically requires an average of 5 to 12 touches.

SAP, in following its newish “Run Simple” motto, now makes it almost as easy to buy BI Tool Crystal Reports, SAP Mobile Documents, SAP Lumira and even the SAP Hana Cloud Platform, starter edition ($1521 per unit) as songs on iTunes. And it’s implemented almost as easily.

When it comes to paying for your purchases, you can use a credit card or PayPal. Better yet, pricing is completely transparent. There are no slick salesmen negotiating deals on golf courses or offering discounts during the fourth quarter full court press.

Learning Opportunities

Better yet, the solutions are simply built. According to SAP, they can be configured in a few hours or less, leaving IT with more time to add value to business processes and spending less time on tedious implementation and administration. Upgrades, it goes to follow, can be completed without business interruption.

Partner Opportunities

The other bright spot is that SAP partners, and potentially even rivals, can have their solutions sold in the SAP Store as soon as they are approved. For developers the potential is huge because they’ll have the opportunity to build and have their solutions co-marketed by the largest software company in the world. Not just that, but during Sapphire Now, Steve Lucas, SAP’s President of Platform Solutions said that they expect to make a bigger effort of reaching out to Open Source developers who excel in MongoDB and the like. They too would potentially be able to sell approved solutions at the SAP Store

How is the news being received? The crowd at Sapphire Now seemed to like the idea. And while SAP’s Lumira, which was previously, introduced SAP Store style has had more than 500,000 downloads thus far, the other excitement might be even bigger than that.

SAP has a startup program that is a whole lot more than “go to Amazon, grab and instance, and let us know when you do something great." Instead they provide free guidance from SAP-paid business and technical mentors, and “go to market” help (hopefully via the SAP Store).

SAP partners who might have felt like they were at the mercy of account reps or consultants to pitch their wares might now have a chance to stand on equal footing based on their merits.

“It's a huge opportunity for partners to get visibility — so they will be eager, when they trust the business model and see revenue traction,” said Mueller.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by Tony Fischer Photography.