Sheba, the Dhaka-based on-demand services marketplace, has officially introduced its MSME focused ERP product sManager in its recently held annual Service Awards 2019, an event Sheba organizes every year.
sManager is not essentially a new announcement. The product has been in the making for a long time and the company launched it with its service partners for a while now.
However, the fact that sManager is being officially launched with quite a bit of fanfare makes it an important announcement for the company.
Sheba has been talking about its B2B product for a while now. The company says it has a solid B2B strategy in place which is both tied as well as independent of its on-demand services marketplace business. sManager seems to fit the bill.
The ERP solution is not exclusive to Sheba platform merchants. Any small business can use sManager to manage their business. Apart from the regular ERP features, offline SMEs can have an online store on Sheba platform with a premium sManager subscription.
Over the past years, Sheba has been trying to build a service marketplace that offers almost everything - “one app that meets all your needs”.
The difference between Sheba and other on-demand services marketplace such as HandyMama is that Sheba does not work with individual service professionals. Instead, it works with small businesses that have a team and offers certain services.
In fact, Sheba helped many individual service providers to put together small operations. This is a strategically important move because working with individual service professionals and small SMEs comes with fundamentally different upsides and downsides.
Now that Sheba officially launched sManager, it makes perfect sense why Sheba wants to work with small businesses - it wants to build more services for them.
The logic is straightforward if you could help small businesses grow their business using Sheba platform, digitize them, and get access to their data, you could build many other things for them, including a good financing business.
Now Sheba’s sManager takes that logic one step further, sManager users who are not already Sheba merchants could have an online store on Sheba platform, adding new merchants and verticals to Sheba marketplace.
While this seems like a logical expansion strategy, I can’t understand why Sheba needs to build an independent ERP software that also comes with a hardware product, albeit optional, for a group of service providers who are already on its platform and for a group who are not but Sheba wants them to bring on to its platform because all of them can do as well with just a merchant panel with the facilities that now Sheba is offering through the sManager. The hardware product is a different case which any retailer could buy independently.
Nevertheless, it is an important and interesting move and it would be interesting to look into Sheba’s motivation behind the move.
More on that in a moment. First, a bit on sManager.