SAP is to set up new regional centres to expand its portfolio of industry-tailored business applications, the company said at its European Sapphire customer event in Paris.

The software vendor is to place teams of trainers, consultants and other experts in the Americas, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, according to company spokeswoman Astrid P"lchen. The teams will collaborate with local resellers, independent software vendors and other partners to develop new software applications targeting small and medium-size businesses, he said.

In the past, SAP has worked closely with partners to develop industry-specific applications for markets such as manufacturing and banking. The goal of the new SMB Solution Centers is to "accelerate this development process and fill holes in our portfolio of applications designed for the midmarket," in addition to reducing implementation times and costs, P"lchen said.

The teams will build localised industry applications based on mySAP Business Suite applications and the company's Best Practices offerings, consisting of a methodology, documentation and preconfigured systems. "They'll be looking at where we're strong and where we still need to develop solutions," P"lchen said.

SAP is targeting around 650 applications tailored for the SMB market worldwide.

The teams, consisting of a dozen or more SAP experts, will be based in Barcelona, London, Prague, Walldorf (Germany), Singapore and Pennsylvania.