After years of solid partnership with SAP, TDS was officially certified as an SAP Value Added Reseller (VAR) in 1995. In its pre-VAR days, TDS worked with SAP R/2 and over the years gradually extended its product coverage to become the full service provider it is today. Juergen Stransky, Country Manager at TDS elaborates, “The partnership with SAP enables us to be a full service provider for the SMB market in Europe. As an SAP Value Added Reseller (VAR) we offer mySAP licenses for sale or rent and consultants for the whole life cycle of an SAP project. Furthermore, we provide special 24-hour support with our Customer Support Center and services from remote consulting to application hosting.”
The company’s Application Hosting division attracts a strong customer base – TDS manages about 400 SAP R/3 systems for 130 customers out of one of Germany’s largest data centers housing 900 servers. The company’s consulting portfolio ranges from the design of tailored software environments to the installation and customization of business applications and systems maintenance. TDS also has a strong industry track record with specific expertise in industries such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, retail, and discrete industries.
TDS and SAP have grown alongside each other over the years. True to the TDS partner motto “to have a strong partner and be a strong partner”, TDS has been able to rely on SAP for consistent market leadership, demand-driven functionality, and high quality products throughout their cooperation. “It is very good to be an SAP partner because of the high quality products that are available, the functionality that is covered in these products as well as the professional business approach that the company has.”
Product quality is fundamental for TDS, particularly in its hosting business. The company provides a large proportion of its clients with hosted solutions. Winning and maintaining the trust of these clients hinges on dependable quality throughout the implementation and operation of the solution. Both companies also benefit from their shared ability to react quickly to changes in market demand. When TDS started out with SAP R/2, the company targeted the higher-end market and larger implementations, looking to SAP for the functionality required by these kinds of larger organizations. In response to saturation in the high-end market, TDS shifted its focus to the SMB sector. Again the company found a strong partner in SAP and its tailored solutions for the lower-end market.
The TDS partnership with SAP has a considerable influence on its revenues. Currently, around 16,000 end users in 400 SMBs are served by TDS and the revenue range of the company’s SMB client base is between €30 and 500 million. TDS sees its collaboration with SAP as essential to meeting the demands of its SMB customers, but is clear about the delineation of roles and responsibilities in the partnership, “Our clients request SAP solutions, so the SAP partnership is a necessity in this market. We keep the sales and pre-sales activities in our own hands, so we stay in control of our sales processes.”
Simplicity and scalability
Having identified industry-specific solutions as a strategic growth area for the future, TDS has moved into the mySAP All-in-One arena with confidence. The company has already developed several mySAP All-in-One solutions. The main solutions TDS brings to market are myTDS.Chemie <for chemical companies>, myTDS.Pharma <for pharmaceutical companies>, myTDC.Service <for service providers>, Easy3Fertiger <for manufacturing companies> and TDS Retail. Each software package includes a special ‘navigator’, comprising a pre-configured SAP system and documentation. Customers can opt to purchase a license or lease the software.
TDS’s mySAP All-in-One solutions are a result of collaboration between the company’s own consultants and its clients. TDS invests approximately 500 man days per solution and expects return on investment for each solution within 3 years. The confidence of TDS in the suitability of mySAP All-in-One for the market is based on the simplicity and scalability of the product. The company commends the low implementation requirements and flexibility of the product, “You can start with a very plain version, and build and extend the solution at the pace that your company requires. The solution is able to grow with the company”.
On the up
TDS has clear plans for its own strategic growth over the next couple of years and SAP is very much part of the picture. While continuing to focus on the SMB market and serving its SMB client base with hosted solutions, TDS has also set its sights on growing as a consulting company in the SAP market. The company adopts a differentiated approach to its various country markets. In Germany, for example, TDS is aiming to be a leader in the chemical and pharmaceutical markets, whereas in Holland the company will compete for increased market share in the retail industry. The company also has plans to expand its horizontal coverage. Currently TDS focuses on the HR segment. In the coming years, the company aims to move more strongly into areas like customer relationship management or business intelligence.
To support its expansion, TDS plans to recruit additional personnel with specific industry knowledge and seek new IT and consulting partners within its target industries. TDS has already signed up a valuable automotive industry partner in Mieschke Hofmann und Partner (MHP), a subsidiary of Porsche. The company believes this winning combination of skilled personnel and strong industry partners will help maintain its competitive advantage in the market.
And how happy is TDS with its SAP relationship? TDS seems very satisfied and is obviously impressed by the dedication and support it gets from SAP. “This support helps us to be more competitive in the market, and to continue to build and invest into this relationship.” In particular, TDS compliments SAP on its sales training and its technical and sales support. The company’s only criticism is that it would like to see more joint marketing initiatives. All in all, however, SAP seems to check most of the boxes on the TDS’s ‘strong partner’ wish list.