SAP will announce a partnership shortly to offer a hosted version of its Business One applications to small businesses in India, a spokesman for SAP India said.

This will be the first time that Business One has been offered as a hosted service, according to the spokesman. The service will be rolled out elsewhere in the world if the offering in India is successful, he said.

SAP expects to announce a partnership in two weeks with an undisclosed Indian mobile services operator who will offer the hosted service, the spokesman said. The service will be offered on a subscription basis, he added.

Hosted services aim to help companies save on their IT infrastructure costs, and offering Business One in this way will allow SAP to reach small customers in rural parts of India so long as they have an Internet connection, the spokesman said.

Business One is designed to be an integrated, affordable set of business management applications for small businesses. It is a single system for running business operations such as sales, finance, purchasing, inventory, and manufacturing. All the components of Business One will be available in the hosted version, the spokesman said.

SAP is also working on a brand new suite of on-demand applications, codenamed A1S, that's due to be launched next year. That service will target the lower mid-market, while the hosted version of Business One is aimed at small businesses, the spokesman said.