Reaching New Markets for Mobile Apps

November 9, 2012 by Jacqueline Prause 0

(Photo: istockphoto.com)

Agility and awareness keep Smartsoft  on the leading edge of mobile app development. The Atlanta-based IT service provider creates mobile products for leaders in the B2C, B2B, and B2E segments, including household brand-name companies. The SAP partner is well versed in Syclo mobile technology and other development platforms, including Sybase Unwired Platform.

Questions about SAP’s mobile strategy

Smartsoft made a strategic decision to stay aligned with SAP as it moved assertively into the mobile enterprise market. Its approach was twofold: to focus its efforts to build apps that can integrate into various back ends and integrate location information, and to expand its footprint in retail, utilities, and the public sector. But Smartsoft was unsure about executing its strategy in light of some of the high-impact changes in the mobile IT market.

“We were kind of confused about how this platform is going to evolve with Sybase and Syclo together,” says Kumar Siva, Smartsoft’s SAP Practice Director. Smartsoft reached out to its SAP partner service advisor (PSA), Casey Ryan, to find out more.

Specialization starts with your PSA

Casey, whose role it is to be a liaison between partners like Smartsoft and SAP, recalls, “With the amount of information available around mobility topics, it’s easy to understand how partners could feel overwhelmed.” Casey activated his network within SAP and got Smartsoft the information they needed to move forward with their mobile business strategy.

Siva says, “We got feedback from Casey and through simultaneous discussions with the mobile team that helped us a lot with understanding SAP’s mobile strategy. That way we can talk to our customers in clear language.”
PSAs like Casey are the first point of contact for SAP partners in understanding how they can grow their SAP business. Every partner in the SAP PartnerEdge program has a dedicated PSA, whose job it is to not only manage the relationship, but also to help the partner find information they need to meet critical challenges.

One way in which the PSA works with the partner is to act as a business facilitator through regular reviews of the partner’s tailored enablement plan. During these meetings, the PSA identifies key SAP partner programs and services that support the partner’s own business strategy. In the case of Smartsoft, Casey was able to find synergies between where Smartsoft wanted to grow its business and programs within SAP that could help them specialize in new technologies and reach new markets.

“Smartsoft’s experience was a solid example of the importance of delivering an enablement portfolio that concisely targets and leverages a partner’s specific strengths,” says Casey.

Next page: The new Mobile Applications Partner Program

New services portfolio for partners

The PSA cannot possibly be a specialist in every aspect of SAP technology, so SAP Partner Service Delivery (PSD) has specialized resources aligning to each of SAP’s five market categories: mobile, analytics, database and technology, cloud, and applications. The PSA can direct the partner to more specific technical enablement materials and arrange meetings as necessary with experts to answer the partner’s questions along the value chain.

To find out more about initiatives for partner specialization in analytics and database and technology, read “The Real Deal on Partner Enablement” in SAP Business Trends, a new blogging space on the SAP Community Network.

“The PSA owns the relationship; helps the partner to grow his business; and understands the partner’s growth strategy,” explains Frank Bunte, vice president SAP PSD Services Portfolio. “[The PSA] then makes the link to the SAP strategy and to the right experts to help the partner to get it done.”

This year SAP PSD launched a new services portfolio with an added emphasis on helping partners expand their business strategies to include new areas of specialization, as well as simplify their business plans. To find out more, read Partner Enablement One Click Away in SAP.info.

One of the opportunities that Smartsoft wanted to learn more about was presenting its apps in the SAP Store. It was in the process of building its Spare Parts Lookup app to help automobile service personnel check warranty information and the availability of critical parts. So, Casey assisted in enrolling Smartsoft in SAP’s Mobile Applications Partner Program (MAPP), a program designed to support new and existing SAP partners in developing apps on SAP’s mobile development platform, as well as getting those apps SAP-certified and placed in the SAP Store. “Casey mentioned that certifying will help put us in the market and have more visibility with the customers,” says Siva.

Mobile Applications Partner Program

Announced at SAPPHIRE this year, MAPP continues to draw strong interest from companies new to SAP’s ecosystem as well as existing SAP partners, including software and technology partners, resellers, and service partners with a strong mobile focus. More information about MAPP, such as program benefits, enablement assets, and how to sign-up is available on the SAP Mobile Apps Partner Center.

Casey also directed Smartsoft to upcoming partner seminars and webinars that could support its mobile strategy. And he contacted SAP mobile experts who could answer Smartsoft’s questions.

Next page: Smartsoft executives on co-innovation with SAP

Spare Parts Lookup is now available in the SAP Store – raising visibility for Smartsoft’s expanded mobile offering. “One of the reasons for getting the app certified is so that the users can find us in the SAP marketplace and then it’s easy for them to understand what we can do,” says Karth Devarajan, Smartsoft’s CTO.

New partner services portfolio

PSAs also help partners get the information they need through the assets that the PSD Services Portfolio team builds, for example, materials for 1:1 focus sessions about topics like how to get apps certified and how to get an app into the SAP Store, as well as FAQs for focus topics.

Markus Pfeffer, global head of PSD’s Service Portfolio team for mobile, explains how his team supports partner specialization: “Our mission is to build services, to build assets, to build materials, and to organize enablement sessions, which will then be delivered to the partner to really push that topic.”

Pfeffer gives insight into SAP’s approach when he says, “The long-term strategy is that SAP offers 20% of the apps that are running on this platform and 80% are coming from the partners, meaning that partners will develop more and more of the available apps.”

“The engagement with PSD is a crucial component to drive rapid adoption of the new SAP Mobile Apps Partner Program and to recruit innovative, mobile-savvy partners from SAP’s existing ecosystem, like Smartsoft,” says Bernd-Uwe Pagel, senior vice president of SAP Platform Ecosystem and eChannels. “More than 100 partners have already joined the partner program within just weeks, many being new to the SAP family. This illustrates the tremendous opportunity for companies to partner with SAP in enterprise mobility and likewise validates the attractiveness of the SAP mobile platform and the associated partner program.”

Smartsoft’s executives had no question about SAP’s vision for partner co-innovation and the value of MAPP.

“We appreciate this initiative from SAP to connect with the partners,” says Siva. “It is definitely helping us a lot with SAP’s strategy for a product. When we are targeting the market for the latest products, like integrating Big Data with mobile apps, the interactions with SAP help us a lot.”

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