A Fruitful Partnership

SAP Stäfa became an SAP channel partner in 1995 and to date 50 percent of its client base comes from the SMB sector. Industry-wise SAP Stäfa concentrates mainly on the public sector, healthcare, and discrete manufacturing. The company also offers SAP development, support, and hosting services. SAP Stäfa prides itself on its industry expertise and SAP know-how. With remarkably high employee retention rates since its foundation, the company boasts an impressive knowledge base – an average of 12 years SAP experience per consultant complemented by first-rate project management skills and customer support.

Prized partner

SAP Stäfa has distinguished itself in the SAP arena on numerous occasions and its performance has not gone unnoticed by SAP. With a top-three placing in each of the last 8 SAP Quality Awards, SAP Stäfa is clearly doing something right. In 2003, purportedly the best year in the company’s history, SAP Stäfa was honored with the International SAP Channel Award for the “best performance worldwide” in an SAP SMB implementation. This kind of recognition is important to SAP Stäfa, as it sets the company apart from its competition and makes its customers sit up and take notice. As SAP Stäfa points out, “Implementing a good solution, quickly and cost effectively, usually translates into a quick return on investments for our customers as well.”
SAP Stäfa’s original decision to partner with SAP was based mainly on the quality of the SAP product portfolio and a strong confidence in the company’s potential. As an SMB channel partner, SAP Stäfa benefits from the integrated nature of SAP’s SMB solutions and the broad range of functionality. The security of a stable technology base is also a big plus for SAP Stäfa combined with the flexibility to integrate new technology or functionality. SAP Stäfa also cites continuity as an important criterion for its SAP partnership and its clients. SAP never “discontinues” products, something that SAP Stäfa believes is all too commonplace among other vendors.

mySAP All-in-One

With the advent of mySAP All-in-One, SAP continues to score points with SAP Stäfa. The company is convinced that SAP has pitched the product just right. To an SMB audience, the marketing message is compelling – a pre-configured solution at a predictable or fixed price and schedule. The simplicity of the product also makes SAP Stäfa’s life easier when it comes to managing its customers’ expectations.
So far SAP Stäfa has developed three mySAP All-in-One solutions – all of which are fully certified and also have ASP certification. With Techtrade, a logistics and finance solution for local and international trading companies, SAP Stäfa has already experienced a great deal of demand. The company’s mySAP All-in-One accounting solution is based mainly on SAP financials and used primarily by smaller SMBs. SAP Stäfa is also offering this solution on an ASP basis. For the company’s payroll solution, SAP Stäfa has customized the product to make it easier to get to grips with. By building a “user cockpit on top”, SAP Stäfa’s clients benefit from one-stop, one-screen functionality. The company’s total investment in its mySAP All-in-One development amounts to around 3 to 4 thousand euro and so far the payback has been excellent.

Size no object

Interest in mySAP All-in-One has not been reserved to SAP Stäfa’s SMB clients. “With large companies we have done regular SAP installations, as well as mySAP All-in-One installations. For their affiliates they can then use mySAP All-in-One to comply with the corporate IT structure, however the smaller affiliates do not need to get involved in extensive IT projects, which is seen as a big advantage.” In the case of SAP Stäfa’s payroll solution, the company has provided the product to larger corporations for both their own use and resale to the corporations’ client base. One example is a major accountancy client that not only employs the payroll solution in its own company but also offers it to its clients to create greater synergies and efficiency.
SAP Stäfa’s mySAP All-in-One implementations at smaller companies are not necessarily small scale when it comes to functionality, but they are always on time and within budget. In 2003, SAP Stäfa carried out a mySAP All-in-One implementation at Artoz, a Swiss paper trader. The company was up and running in just four months with 100 users and the full range of SAP functionality. The day the solution went live, 11,000 sales positions were entered successfully into the system – no mean feat for a small organization. And the project was not only on time, it was completed below budget.

Measured growth

Looking ahead, SAP Stäfa plans to use mySAP All-in-One to expand its market share. The company will also focus on the public sector and further exploit the potential of hosted solutions, having moved into ASP activities through an affiliated company three years ago. “The combination with mySAP All-in-One is very successful for the ASP concept. Our new SMB customers as well as existing SMB customers have a strong preference for hosted solutions.”
SAP Stäfa does not seem to have suffered from the recent technology slump. 2003 was “by far the best in its history” and the company has a fairly large customer base. In the coming years, SAP Stäfa aims to expand on its market position, but is choosing to stay away from typical ‘big bang’ approaches to growth. Currently SAP Stäfa has sufficient in-house resources to offer maintenance to its existing client base. This has not always been the case and SAP Stäfa wants to make the most of this enviable position. Corporate strategy has been set to maintain slow internal growth and concentrate on cultivating capacity by developing skills in-house, working with third parties, and outsourcing where required. “Over the past year we have had very positive experiences with outsourcing the programming of specific solutions for the health care industry as well as sales activities for hospitals.”

The fruits of shared labor

Throughout their successful partnership, SAP Stäfa’s evolution has been greatly influenced by SAP’s development. When SAP set up shop in Switzerland in 1992, SAP Stäfa adapted its scope to become a more consulting-oriented business practice and complement SAP. With the majority of the company’s business centering around SAP solutions, it is clear that there is an element of dependency in the relationship. Partnership with SAP creates a more favorable market position for SAP Stäfa and increases the company’s competitive advantage. However, in terms of its SMB strategy, SAP Stäfa feels more independent and sees SAP as playing a purely supportive role.
SAP Stäfa reports that a change of focus within SAP has done a lot for both companies. “Until three years ago SAP used to be very much internally focused, but now SAP is generating leads for us as well.” Image has also been an important factor in the success of SMB projects and SAP Stäfa is very satisfied with SAP’s marketing efforts. By positioning itself as a friend of both larger and smaller clients, SAP has created awareness in the SMB space for its products. This makes things a lot easier for SAP Stäfa when it comes to making bids and the company has won deals with a number of companies that would never have considered doing business with them five years ago. SAP’s partner management program for both SMB and large accounts also resonates well with SAP Stäfa and the company is still impressed with SAP’s efficiency and reliability.
Over the years, SAP Stäfa has witnessed SAP’s growth and shared in its evolution. Looking at the status of the partnership today, it seems that the benefits have been well worth waiting for. SAP Stäfa sums it up, “It feels as if we now can harvest the fruits of all the years we have invested into the relationship.”

Lindsay Johnson
Lindsay Johnson