An International Outlook

Founded in 1989, itelligence AG has served as a consultant to specific industries, including automotive, service providers, consumer products, machinery and equipment manufacturers, high tech, and metal and plastics processing. An official SAP partner since 1993, itelligence offers SAP consulting, proprietary industry-specific SAP solutions and managed service through its 33 branches in 15 countries. It is presently an SAP Business, Service, Support Alliance, Hosting and Global Services Partner.
One of the first to introduce industry-specific templates, the company made an early decision to shift from a mainframe to a client /server approach, which helped it take quick advantage of opportunities in the SMB market. itelligence relies on SAP solutions for over 90 percent of its business.

Growing in the SMB market

These days, itelligence is intent on growing internationally, based on its expertise with SAP, rather than depending on several “best of breed” products. Over the past 20 years, SAP has offered what Vogel sees as the best software in terms of both quality and industry focus. “SAP is not only a global market leader with an enormous installed base,” he says. “In my view, SAP also has the only truly enterprise-wide product offering. That’s why itelligence is involved, as prime or sole integrator, in more projects for both global and midsize companies than ever before.”
Vogel makes special mention of mySAP All-in-One as the best solution package for the SMB market because of its industry-specific focus. He also points to new technology initiatives, such as SAP NetWeaver, which he has found to be truly open and easy to integrate with other products. Taken together, these SAP strengths lead to shorter implementation time and a safer implementation environment, he says. And itelligence is one of the first partners supporting the SAP Partner Netweaver initiative.
itelligence now offers over a dozen mySAP All-in-One solutions, many based on shared templates with minor adjustments for specific industries. The company had previously worked intensely with its clients to develop functionality for preconfigured templates in a number of industries. “I would estimate that we already had 90 percent of the development work done in our regular project environment,” says Vogel. “We used the know-how from these projects to create preconfigured mySAP All-in-One solutions,” which have been certified by SAP and sold in Germany.
The itelligence mySAP All-in-One solutions can also be tailored for other countries. For the Dutch market, for example, the firm has translated solutions. Since the beginning of 2004 itelligence is SAP Business Partner for the metal, paper and wood industry in the Netherlands as well as Value Added Reseller.
Vogel says that itelligence is reviewing the potential for SAP Business One as well, focusing on subsidiaries of large corporations which have full SAP implementations at their headquarters. The subsidiaries, he believes, can benefit from small-scale implementations that fully integrate with the parent’s software.

Coffee break

A notable implementation of mySAP Customer Relation Management Mobile Sales was at Melitta System Service, with a workforce of 500 and an annual turnover of Euro 76 million. Melitta’s core business includes professional coffee machines, accessories, and technical service and support to customers in the food-service industry – hotels, restaurants, cafes and hospitals
The key to implementation success, Vogel notes, is the ability to react flexibly to changing customer needs and to anticipate market trends. These concerns spurred Melitta to adopt a customer relationship management system; improved communication between the field force and backend functions was essential for optimizing promotions and field service. The company chose mySAP CRM which provided immediate business results, he explains, such as synergy of sales and service and the instant capture of customer intelligence at all touchpoints.

International interests

Another major strength of itelligence which Vogel identifies is its international presence, an important aspect of the company’s future strategy, which focuses on exchanging knowledge between countries. SAP strongly supports this strategy, he says, by including the knowledge-exchange initiative in the partners’ joint business plan.
The company places emphasis on growing in the SMB market, where Vogel says they want to become the number one solution provider for SAP. Vogel indicates that itelligence can reach this goal because of its highly qualified personnel. “Our employees have worked hard to get into the first row with SAP. They are now benefiting from those efforts. In addition, I think that offering only SAP solutions, instead of various best-of-breed solutions, has created a better working environment for them.”
itelligence looks to SAP for a proactive marketing approach to the SMB market, he says, noting that SAP’s image today is still that of a software vendor to large corporations. Any extra muscle that SAP can put into marketing will help itelligence generate more leads and increase its SMB business. On an operational level, he sees smooth cooperation between the partners in sales, marketing, and communication. The partnership has improved over the past two years, he says, especially with respect to joint sales.

Derek Davis
Derek Davis