At the German IT trade show CeBIT 2013, SAP conducted a panel discussion with small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) to showcase how they are using SAP technologies such as SAP HANA, cloud and mobile to innovate in order to remain competitive and run a successful business.
Three companies – GCC German Computer Company, proaxia consulting group and ameria GmbH – shared their experience in using the SME solutions SAP Business One analytics powered by SAP HANA and SAP Business ByDesign as well as the SAP Mobile Platform.
Speeding Up Business With SAP HANA
The panel discussion was started by GCC German Computer Company, which was founded in 1995 as an IT system vendor. GCC currently has about 2,000 customers from various industries and offers cloud services as well as on-demand video conferencing services hosted in the company’s own data center in Hameln, Germany.
Bernd Schinkel, head of Sales, explained: “As a cloud provider we have sophisticated pricing models and therefore needed a solution with fast analytics and reporting capabilities.”
After conducting a proof of concept, GCC selected SAP Business One analytics powered by SAP HANA in May 2012. The company has been using SAP Business One, a business management solution for SMEs, since 2005. According to Schinkel, this was one of the best decisions the company has ever made – dashboards, analysis and enterprise search functions are now highly accelerated by SAP HANA, resulting in significantly increased productivity.
To illustrate this increase in productivity, he outlined a scenario that was typical before the new solution was implemented: Previously when a customer called us with a request, the service staff took the call, wrote the request down and told the customer that they would call back. Then the staff checked the customer’s data in the system, which with the former enterprise search tools took several minutes, then called the customer back. With SAP Business One analytics powered by SAP HANA, the customer’s data are delivered within fractions of seconds, and the staff can now answer the customer’s questions directly during the call. This results in immensely increased employee productivity and customer satisfaction.
“Running reporting and interactive analyses is now 20 to 40 times faster than before, and there was no disruption or any downtime during the implementation process,” summarized Schinkel.
SAP partner Uniorg was able to implement the solution without disrupting the existing IT landscape or business processes. In 2014, GCC plans the transition from the existing database, Microsoft SQL, to SAP HANA.
Schinkel explained: “We see that small and medium enterprises are questioning whether SAP HANA is applicable to them at all. With the great experience we have made with SAP HANA, we can say that the migration is just a logical step towards embracing the future.”
Creating Added-Value Mobile Apps With SAP Mobile Platform
Founded four years ago in Switzerland and with 115 consultants currently, the proaxia consulting group focuses on sales and services processes as well as mobile solutions for the automotive and discrete manufacturing industries. Also a partner of SAP for mobile solutions, proaxia specializes in developing “value” apps that help its customers generate additional business through up- and cross-selling opportunities, for example, by improving the dialogue between sales or service representatives and their clients .
Dr. Peter Lindtner, CEO of proaxia, demonstrated a mobile app that the company developed based on SAP Mobile Platform. The “Mobile Service Advisor” app enables automobile service consultants to provide superior service to customers who bring their vehicles to dealer workshops. Service employees can access necessary information about customers via iPads, including their vehicle data and open work orders created in the SAP back-end system. In a configurable and guided process, the service advisor app captures data on the condition of each vehicle and presents the data in graphic, three-dimensional models with configurable checklists. Additionally, the app provides information on sales promotions related to the vehicle. With minimal use of the keyboard, the app can generate work orders for customers to sign directly on iPad. The app then transfers the work order to the SAP back-end system.
“With our mobile app developed on the SAP Mobile Platform, we not only mobilize our customers and existent business processes but can also help companies create a new revenue stream,” said Lindtner. “According to a survey by DEKRA, with our app car dealers can generate additional revenue in total of 60 Euro per car per service representative. This means extra revenue of EUR 30,000 per year per sales rep. As a normal service station has about 20 sales reps, it is able to gain additional revenue of one million Euro per year. This shows the great contribution a ‘value’ mobile app can make to a company’s performance.”
Streamlining Business Processes with SAP Business ByDesign
The German IT startup company ameria GmbH, founded in 2001, initially developed its own business applications. Eight years later, the company still used Excel to manage its business processes instead of a dedicated ERP system. As a result, it had to wait two months to get analyses, reporting and company data, which were compiled by an external tax advisor, for example. In 2010, ameria, with 100 employees at that time, needed to focus on its core business and therefore evaluated several ERP vendors. The company eventually selected the professional on-demand ERP solution SAP Business ByDesign because it is easy to use, self-explanatory and has a beautiful design.
The implementation process was completed in seven weeks, and ameria has seen a multitude of benefits.
“SAP Business ByDesign enabled us for further growth, it offered an attractive total cost of ownership (TCO), and helped us to triple our turnover. We can now concentrate on our core business – not on administration or managing different landscapes, as we now have CRM, and accounting as well travel and project management capabilities in one system,” said Albrecht Metter, managing director of ameria.
Previously, the company used many proprietary solutions and needed two employees just for compiling all the data from the various solutions for bookkeeping and invoicing as well as time and project management. ameria was also able to streamline all its business processes by using SAP Business ByDesign. The solution delivers end-to-end processes, enabling startups to run professionally right from the start.
“In Germany, the security aspect of cloud computing is still a hot topic. However, it has never been an issue for us. We believe that a solution hosted by an external provider is more secure than a self-hosted one because providers have the appropriate resources to properly protect a company’s data,” said Meier. “I think to be in the cloud is much safer than not to be – whether you are a big or a small company.”