Acquired by IBM in 1996, SAP Italia Consulting now operates independently as part of the GlobalValue joint venture between IBM and Fiat. With 4 locations in Italy, 500 employees and an additional 400 external contractors, the company has grown considerably in recent years – expanding its SAP practice both in the scope of its expertise and number of consultants. Now covering outsourcing, application management and on-demand services, the company has grown from a Euro 6 million business in 1996 to a Euro 100 million enterprise in 2002. SAP has had a substantial impact on the company’s business with revenues originating mainly in SAP-oriented consulting and implementation services and a 40 percent share coming directly from the SMB market.
SAP Italia Consulting boasts a well-established Italian customer base of around 350 customers and has considerable experience in the SMB space. A successful SMB implementation, in the company’s eyes, is both low-cost and the “right fit first time”. A recent example of just this kind of project was seen at Roland Italy, a world leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of electronic musical instruments. SAP Italia Consulting implemented SAP CRM with marketing and Internet sales in less than 6 months at a budget of just over Euro 100 thousand. SAP Italia Consulting puts the success of the project down to clear criteria and expectations and the customer’s commitment to investing the right resources in the project.
Diversifying with mySAP All-in-One
So far SAP Italia Consulting has developed 6 mySAP All-in-One solutions – the largest number in Italy at this time. The company does not restrict itself to particular vertical industries, preferring instead to develop mySAP All-in-One based both on experience and opportunity. Through their association with Fiat, SAP Italia Consulting developed a mySAP All-in-One solution for the automotive industry. In another case, experience with large chemical industries led the company to build its recently certified solution for SMB chemical companies.
And SAP Italia Consulting is not afraid to explore unknown territory. When the company sees an opportunity in the market, it goes for it. This was demonstrated by its recent foray into ‘haute couture’. Having spotted the potential in the Italian fashion industry, the company developed a suitably ‘tailored’ mySAP All-in-One solution. For SAP Italia Consulting, the speed and flexibility with which it can put together new mySAP All-in-One solutions is not surprising. The company reports that mySAP All-in-One solution development is generally a relatively simple job. As much industry-specific knowledge as possible is built into the solution. And if the right expertise is not available in-house, the company may hire or use associates from outside to fill the gaps.
SAP Italia Consulting’s commitment to mySAP All-in-One is based on its confidence in the product and its suitability for the market. It expects the solution to generate high-volume business for its company. Eraldo Beltrami, Managing Director of SAP Italia Consulting explains, “It’s a good product for the low-end market. These companies have the same problems as large companies had 10 years ago – the need for consolidation of platforms, high complexity of software, and so on.”
With a 40 percent slice of company revenues, the SMB market represents the largest single part of SAP Italia Consulting’s business. The company is committed to reinforcing its leadership in the Italian SMB space. It is developing a channel strategy for the market based on complementary business, creating or engaging smaller companies to reach different regions or smaller businesses. With SAP Business One, SAP Italia Consulting will deal primarily in channel-related business.
The company’s long-term vision is to become the leading solution and service provider in the market – not just through direct engagement but also via its channel business. It also has plans to capitalize on its IBM relationship and offer complete solutions to its customers. SAP Italia Consulting sees this as an important competitive differentiator and it is already offering outsourcing and on-demand services using IBM resources.
A “yin-yang” relationship
In terms of its partnership with SAP, SAP Italia Consulting is clearly satisfied. Among the benefits cited by the company are – the close association with the SAP name and reputation, strong SAP product development, effective SAP support, and access to training and technical information – all of which help SAP Italia Consulting achieve its goals. According to SAP Italia Consulting, mutual accountability and trust characterizes the relationship between the two companies. SAP Italia Consulting sees SAP as a dependable business partner, a view that it feels is confirmed by SAP’s steadfast commitment to providing quality solutions for the SMB market.
SAP Italia Consulting also enjoys the complementary nature of the two partners’ businesses. The company appreciates that SAP is unambiguous when it comes to communicating its plans for expanding its services strategy. Partners know what to expect and where to slot in and complement with their own services. Roles and responsibilities between the partner and SAP are clearly defined. SAP Italia Consulting also sees employee dedication as a distinct advantage. As the company puts it, “employees live and die SAP – you can almost call them fanatics”. SAP orientation and focus is paramount – one of the main reasons, according to SAP Italia Consulting, why the company continues to perform well in a depressed market.
At the end of the day, the SAP partnership means three things for SAP Italia Consulting – commitment, support, and quality – and the ability to deliver on its promise to its customers: “complete solutions with flexibility”.