BT has stepped up its drive into the software as a service (SaaS) market with two partnerships with NetSuite and SugarCRM.

The telecoms giant is targeting small and medium-sized businesses across the UK enterprise standard business applications.

It will offer NetSuite's on-demand, integrated business management software products and customer relationship management products from open source supplier SugarCRM.

NetSuite's integrated business management software suites offer customers a single system to manage ERP, CRM and Ecommerce systems.

The SugarCRM offering will allow BT Business customers to integrate CRM applications with their communications and existing data systems.

BT said the new initiative was designed to meet a growing need for SME businesses to improve customer relationships. Recent research by BT Business has shown that client relationships is the area that SMEs believe is the most critical to their success.

BT is also looking at a range of other business applications from leading vendors and is set to make further partnership announcements in the near future.

"With this announcement we really are changing the way small and medium-sized businesses can think about and buy their business applications, delivering them the benefits of services previously available only to larger companies," said Bill Murphy, managing director, BT Business.

"We have looked across the market and developed these partnerships with best of breed companies delivering innovative applications to meet the needs we know our customers have."

Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, praised BT's "commitment to the software as a service revolution."

NetSuite is currently available for customers to purchase from BT Business, and SugarCRM will be available for purchase in the near future.