Extensive Cooperation with Partners

September 17, 2003 by admin

The SMB market is one of growth. SAP is therefore pushing ahead with the ongoing further development of its two SMB packages mySAP ALL-in-One and SAP Business One. SAP’s Business Partners have a key role to play in terms of both content development and positioning on the market, e.g. via targeted product-specific services.

Partnership with a secure future

In today’s market situation, many companies are focusing on partnerships to help safeguard their future. SAP provides its partners with precisely this security. The goal behind the partner network is to work together constructively, to deliver mutual growth and to achieve sustained success. But developing partnerships involves more than just enhancing administrative procedures. It also includes a commitment that reflects SAP’s involvement and its full confidence in its partners in everything from the product itself to services and knowledge transfer within the partner community. This delivers a faster, more sustained return on investment for the partnership in question.

A partnership involves merging the best of two worlds. At the start of every partnership, SAP examines the partner’s business model to ensure whether it is viable and, through continuous feedback and a qualification process, maintains the quality of the developed solutions. Providing concrete support in development activities and training courses with regard to relevant SAP solution portfolios and associated marketing and sales aspects, SAP reinforces the foundation that may serve as the basis for the partner’s successes. Equipped with these instruments and their in-house know-how, partners can develop more specific SMB solutions that will augment SAP’s portfolio over the long term and, through their local presence, will establish a successful link to SMB customers.

The right solution for every customer

SAP Business One is the gateway to the SAP solution world. Over 1500 customers worldwide have already opted for SAP Business One. They are supported in both word and deed by over 150 partners. At the current time, 16 different country versions are available and this number is expected to rise to 22 by the end of 2003. In 2004, between 5 and 10 more countries will be added. SAP Business One is geared to small and midsize businesses whose requirements in terms of software solutions are not particularly complex. The functional scope of the standard software solution covers companies’ core requirements, dealing with everything from accounting and purchases to administration and banking transactions.
SAP Business One has been geared towards cost efficiency and user friendliness and can be implemented in just a few days. Partners augment the global set of functions available worldwide with local add-ons. The success of a global standard solution depends very heavily on the degree of verticalization and on the level of adaptation to local circumstances by the partners. This strategy is founded on sales via SSPs (Sales and Service Partners), SAP Business One Solution Centers and SAP Business One Service Centers. SSPs are responsible for sales, training, implementation, support, development, marketing and consultancy. SAP Business One Solution Centers sell their own software (e.g. PPS, POS) and their own vertical solutions which can be combined/integrated with SAP Business One via an SSP network. Like an SSP, a SAP Business One Service Center is responsible for sales, training, implementation, support, development, marketing and consultancy. It does not have any direct sales channels, however, though it does offer nationwide service management and channel management.
SAP supplies a Software Development Kit (SDK) so that partners can expand the functionality of SAP Business One quickly and easily. The package contains all the necessary information on interfaces, programming models, manuals and development tools. As customer expectations rise, users can migrate effortlessly to mySAP All-in-One and mySAP Business Suite. The aim is to work with partners in building up and selling a solution portfolio that is available worldwide and addresses broad groups of customers.
The mySAP All-in-One solution offering, developed by partners and qualified by SAP, is targeted at SMBs that place high requirements of software solutions and their industry-specific process support. There are currently over 270 qualified mySAP All-in-One solutions worldwide. Over 200 SAP Business Partners have already implemented a mySAP All-in-One solution for around 4000 customers. Synergies are already being derived from the partner network and the know-how transfer that goes hand in hand with this.

Help on the way to developing a dedicated solution for SMBs

Partners can benefit from this range of solutions by utilizing a whole raft of mySAP All-in-One packages provided by SAP. These packages consists of methods, tools, implementation accelerators and content which are derived from the mySAP Business Suite to create an industry-specific bundle of preconfigured business processes based on SAP Best Practices and thereby cover 50 to 60 percent of customer-specific needs in the standard version alone. The partners themselves are responsible for giving the solution its industry-specific form (e.g. ranging from consumer goods to foodstuffs and meat processing). mySAP All-in-One is thus ideal for the fast and inexpensive development of dedicated SMB solutions that are supplied at a fixed price and can be implemented in a short time frame.
Partners also receive further support in conjunction with mySAP All-in-One in the form of the Vertical Solution Development Kit which gives them the instruments they need to develop customer solutions even more efficiently and cost-effectively. These include, for example, adaptation to country-specific circumstances, verticalization and the development of a customer-specific user interface. The SAP One Server from SAP provides partners and customers with a package that provides the necessary knowledge for running selected SAP components cost-effectively on a server and database.
To ensure that the potential that exists in the partner network is used even more effectively in the future and delivers additional synergies, SAP is currently developing its Global SMB Solution Network. This network enables partners to exchange sales, service and development know-how. Pooling resources in this way leads to greater productivity, faster time-to-market and, ultimately, a faster return on investment.

The SAP eco-system offers additional potential

SAP has an extensive installation base embracing numerous large-scale enterprises. Both SAP Business One and mySAP All-in-One can be interfaced easily to SAP solutions used in such enterprises. Many SMB customers today work have links to these enterprises in one form or another, whether as a subsidiary, sales branch or supplier. This can provide partners with additional business opportunities that can extend to the large-scale company itself but also to its external business partners.

Conclusion

Truly successful partnerships are more than just a straightforward business relationship. What lies between the lines is also important. Namely, mutual trust and respect and the quality of what is done for each of the business partners. SAP underlines its commitment to its partner strategy through its extensive, constantly growing portfolio which it makes available to its partners exactly when they need it in order to deliver initial benefits but also long-term sustained success for SMBs.

Robert Viehmann

Robert Viehmann

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