SAP now has such influence through its large customer base and range of product offerings that it will reshape how firms implement their next generation of business applications, according to IDC analyst Albert Pang.
In a new report, Pang said that the recent rise of SAP as the leading enterprise applications vendor across multiple customer and product categories has "created a booming economy whereby an increasing number of developers and resellers are jockeying for the attention of the market leader and its installed base of more than 41,000 customers."
Pang said the evolving technology market had "reached a stage where a number of tech vendors, including SAP and IBM, have amassed enough of a base of customers and business partners that could really reshape how companies are going to be implementing the next generation of business applications."
Pang said system integrator Satyam was an example of the reach of SAP's influence, with nearly 5,000 consultants and developers working for its SAP practice and plans to grow its ERP practices by 50% during the next few years.
"The average deal size of a SAP implementation at Satyam is about £800,000, just on professional services," said Pang.
"With 150 active customers, including the likes of Caterpillar, Mittal and Nestle, Satyam could be doing hundreds of millions of dollars in SAP-related projects in a given year."
Added to this, Pang reports that the two-year-old Duet deal between Microsoft and SAP alone could pull in at least £50m a year. "While SAP is on a run-rate to post more than £6bn in total revenues in 2007, the real size of the SAP-induced economy could be many times that amount."
"After all, the vendor has amassed a global network of more than 800,000 SAP service partners and developers whose livelihood will be irrevocably shaped by the SAP ecosystem, which appears to become a thriving economy in its own right."
Last week IDC estimated that the value of Microsoft's equivalent partner 'ecosystem' was $425bn but has put no figure on the value of SAP's just yet.
Pang said SAP's influence meant that CIOs can expect to see the establishment of "technology camps" among vendor partners, which he thinks will become "vital forces for end users." While CIOs have been trying to standardise and integrate enterprise systems for a long time, Pang is confident that this consolidation will make CIOs' lives easier.
"[CIOs] will now find a reliable set of vendors that they can turn to," he says. "And what I see is that the emergence of the SAP economy will facilitate that."