Puerto Rico upping IT expenditures as economic activity trends higher, SAP says

Monday, February 21, 2011

SAP (NYSE: SAP) expects its Puerto Rican sales to repeat the 63% growth recorded last year, as the investment climate improves and companies migrate to industry-focused solutions, the company's Puerto Rico and Caribbean sales manager, Andrés González, told BNamericas.

Although the economy has not fully rebounded from the financial crisis, SAP sees local companies shifting software expenditures into higher gear as business confidence improves, González said.

With respect to Puerto Rico's economy, "there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "Many executives at the most important companies are investing in technology to optimize their business processes."

Start your 15 day free trial now!


Already a subscriber? Please, login

The German software provider is eyeing sales opportunities generated by changing software use in existing clients.

"What we are seeing is that the market has a need to go beyond basic ERPs from the past, which were basically transactional systems for finances, human resources and operations," he said. "Now there's a stronger tendency toward implementing industry-specific solutions... like banking, oil and gas and retail."

In the Caribbean, SAP operates with direct sales in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Bermuda, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, while serving other island nations through a mixture of direct and indirect sales. González said that aside from Puerto Rico, SAP is notching significant growth in Trinidad and Tobago, while higher penetration is translating to smaller advances in the Dominican Republic.

Regional clients include Puerto Rican banking group Popular (Nasdaq: BPOP), Jamaican state refiner Petrojam and BP's (NYSE: BP) Trinidad and Tobago subsidiary, BPTT.

"Customer service in the Caribbean has to be very personalized. There are a lot of direct sales, due to the fact that there are lots of countries with many different cultures," González said. "Many times, we can't use standard sales strategies such as selling by phone or webex; we must attack the market directly."

Representing roughly 8% of worldwide sales, SAP's Latin America division posted a 48% increase in software revenue last year, driven by a 91% surge in Brazil.

Globally, SAP saw sales increase 17% to 12.5bn euros (US$17.1bn), while net profits crept up 4% to 1.82bn euros.