Bright Prospects for Partners

Feature Article | October 26, 2012 by Iris Nagel-Martin

Photo: iStockphoto.com

A young blond girl faced the audience, hands crossed in front of her chest, eyes fixed on the camera. “This is my six year old daughter,” announced Christian Wieland of RAAD Research at the IA4SP event held October 17, 2012, in Walldorf. “She is an SAP user.” And while the public was still deciding whether to be delighted or appalled by this news, Wieland went on to explain how Facetime and SAP StreamWork help him and his daughter organize events. According to Wieland, the ability to import photos across applications allows even preschoolers to decide via iPad whether to visit the zoo or go swimming on the weekend. It’s a great way for Wieland to stay in touch with his daughter during his frequent business trips away from home.

Reaching 1 billion users with Facetime

Wieland revealed in passing how this could help SAP reach one billion users in the near future. It’s a target that could benefit partners as well. “The world has sped up enormously and IT is a much more consumable commodity these days,” he said. Easy-to-deploy solutions play a significant role in SAP software becoming commonplace in the daily lives of users – and opening new areas of business for partners.

What’s more, companies still need help from SAP partners, whether it is their HR managers howling for more IT support, or heterogeneous financial systems preventing standardized reporting. Purchasing processes frequently involve isolated solutions that need to be skillfully integrated. And marketing departments often lack integrated customer data that enables quick and efficient monitoring. These are just some of the issues affecting individual business areas, says a customer survey conducted by RAAD this spring. Here’s one particularly interesting fact: More than 60% of all business areas asked are satisfied with the performance of their IT department as soon as there is sufficient internal know-how or when their company brings service providers on board.

This shows that there is either not enough communication between the company’s business area and IT department, or that they don’t understand each other. It is the job of sales colleagues and SAP partners to intervene. They speak the language of the business area, understand its needs, and translate those needs for the company’s IT department. These days, it is often the business area that is responsible for distributing the budget for IT solutions. So it can happen that business areas bypass their IT department when it comes to satisfying their IT needs – this results in “shadow IT”, which leads to a multitude of problems in the medium term.

Next page: Is BYOD passé?

The event, hosted by IA4SP and RAAD Research, covered many issues, including the classics like go-to-market, compliance, and safety, but the trend topics – mobility, cloud computing, and SAP HANA – drew the most crowds. It’s easy to spot lots of business opportunities there, too. Emmanuel Koch of RAAD is certain: “Companies are being hit by a mobile tsunami – and not everyone can cope with it.” According to Koch, Apple has changed the world, and existing IT worlds will change considerably. More than 60% of all companies already have some experience with tablet PCs, and a further 20% plan to expand their tablet usage in the next two years.

Is BYOD passé?

This would appear to be the end for the classic desktop PC in the medium to long term. Yet the companies surveyed had different guidelines when it came to selecting devices: While most (65%) still prescribed standard devices, a quarter of the companies allowed their employees to choose from a number of different devices. “Bring-your-own-device” has since become a redundant policy – too great are the legal problems associated with the concept of employees communicating securely in the company network with their own equipment.

On the solution side of things, all eyes are on the mobile field service, such as maintenance, or in SAP CRM for Sales, which would like to see faster customer segmentation – also a business field for Big Data. Surprisingly, users are also keen to call up business intelligence solutions while on the go. Mobile solutions face the following challenges: 1) Security and compliance, which continues to be the number one issue for users and specialists; 2) the ability to work across devices; 3) multiple operating systems for smartphones; and 4) the lack of applications for existing back office solutions.

A detailed presentation from the Charité hospital in Berlin, for example, showed how customers can benefit from SAP HANA: Thanks to database technology, hospital staff can access patient data sheets, including medical history, on their iPads. Querying info, even on complex issues such as the number of therapy sessions, can be done on the spot thanks to instant performance of relational databases. Five consultants were able to implement the “SAP HANA Oncolyzer” project in the Charité Cancer Center in just nine weeks. Partners can take advantage of systems like this to: 1) Submit analytical content; 2) compile and process medical data such as mass visualization; 3) establish connectors to external databases such as the Tumor Markers Reference Database, which are managed in publicly available databases; and 4) create back channels to SAP systems.

RAAD further predicts that market demand for SAP HANA will grow enormously, especially in Germany.

Support for Partners

SAP Business Intelligence Talent Initiative: SAP assumes some of the training for consultants

SAP Partner Summit on November 12, 2012 in Madrid

Thirty-day free text for partners: www.sapdevcenter.com

SAP partner apps are sold in the SAP Store: http://store.sap.com/mobile

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