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SAP tries to make latest suite easier to digest

Software maker expected to announce the launch of Business Suite 7, according to a prebriefing with The Wall Street Journal.

SAP is taking its on-premise suite and giving it a SaaS-y spin.

According to a prebriefing with The Wall Street Journal, SAP will launch Business Suite 7, which will allow customers to pay for just the modules they use. I'll be at SAP's New York office Wednesday with a handful of Enterprise Irregulars to get the rundown.

SAP's Business Suite 7 approach is a new veneer on on-premise software to make it more competitive with software as a service offerings. Typically customers buy a suite designed to run the back office operations.

That brain surgery, however, is a really tough sell right now. Let's face it: in the current downturn no one wants all you can implement software projects. The return on investment is dicey and the timelines are too long. As a result, SAP is going with the pick-and-choose-your-module approach.

What remains to be seen is whether customers-and prospective customers-see SAP's new approach as a real rival to vendors like Salesforce.com.

It also remains to be seen if SAP can successfully sell software with this approach. SAP is used to selling big software packages with equally large licensing and maintenance fees. This approach requires a lot of small transactions.