BizTeam A/S was initially in turmoil in 2003 after acquiring three other Danish companies that brought with them a SAP Business One partnership. Having uncovered a need for total solutions on the Danish SMB market, they acquired the companies in August and had integrated them by October. Last December alone, they sold 31 new SAP Business One licenses. Now, BizTeam offers a SAP Business One solution that includes implementation, consulting, outsourcing, support, hardware from IBM, and a range of electronic services such as e-education, e-support, and managed services.
BizTeam mainly targets clients in a cost-billing environment (architects, lawyers, accountants) and also sees an opportunity on the Danish Macintosh market. The companies they acquired have a Macintosh environment, and their ASP partner – ASP Europe – offers service contracts for the PC, hardware, storage, and Macintosh environments.
Fleming Rasmussen, BizTeam CEO, stresses the importance of quality and expertise in the company’s work: “We compare ourselves to heart surgeons, if they do something wrong the patient dies. This applies to the SMBs we work with as well because if we do something wrong, they will go out of business.”
A total focus on SAP Business One
“SAP has the power, money and professional attitude to develop an SMB strategy and to do it well,” he adds. He quickly discovered that SAP is also professional in its market approach and serious about its commitment to the SMB market. Once he realized this, he made the decision to drop the company’s other products in favor of SAP Business One. “The best business decision I ever made was to quit all the other products we dealt with and focus on SAP Business One.”
In Rasmussen’s view, the basic functionality of most ERP packages is about the same, but SAP distinguishes itself with its user-friendly interface and short response time: “You can tell that this is a German company – they have set the focus, and they work toward that wholeheartedly.”
Since BizTeam combines both product and business expertise, he says, it is perceived as broadly knowledgeable yet with an ERP business focus. And since SAP is serious about the product and the SMB market, BizTeam gets support in any area it needs, which has helped make it more competitive. It often competes with Microsoft/Navision, since Denmark is the homeland of Navision, but its clients are aware that the SAP brand guarantees long-term support and is a viable alternative to Navision. BizTeam has already picked up 50 SAP Business One clients, of whom over 40 have gone live. This year they expect to sell 200 to 400 new licenses.
SAP Business One has all the functionality needed by the SMB market wrapped up in a single standard package, he adds. This is important because the SMB market is not looking for new software and service investments when they shift focus. And SAP supports the product directly, making it relatively dealer independent. Even if a service provider goes bankrupt, the SAP Business One customer can rely on SAP to provide another dealer.
Off and running
BizTeam developed two add-on modules, covering project management and time billing, for its active Danish market. Later, it will expand them to international versions. Although Rasmussen notes that it takes time to develop these modules, he expects BizTeam to realize a ROI this year, since it already has the knowledge and experience in-house. The investment is also worthwhile because of its installed client base in this sector.
BizTeam has what he calls the “modest” goal of becoming the best SAP Business One partner in Denmark – and perhaps some day in Europe – through geographic expansion and partnerships. The company currently has two locations, will open an office in Copenhagen soon, and hopes to expand to southern Sweden and northern Germany by the end of the year.
BizTeam partner and sister company ASP Europe provides BizTeam SAP Business One solutions that its clients can rent, lease, host, or buy. BizTeam therefore can meet any requirements a customer may have – with the important caveat that the solution will be based on service and quality. Rasmussen warns, “If we receive a customer request for the cheapest solution, we do not even bid, since we don’t think this supports our strategy of becoming the best SAP reference partner.”
Marketing pays off
BizTeam has launched mailings, advertising, and briefings such as “going-home” meetings – product demonstrations to which they invite managing directors on their way home. Marketing initiatives are conducted either stand-alone, with SAP (using market development funds) or in a combination of partners such as SAP, IBM, and themselves.
SAP’s marketing involvement has exceeded all expectations, says Rasmussen, and covers diverse areas such as collateral, support for sales staff, support on client visits, market development funds, and support for lead generation. “SAP understands that they need the channel more than the channel needs them, and this is a change in mentality compared to other vendors,” he explains. All these marketing activities have paid off – as December’s 31 licenses attest.
SAP is doing an excellent overall job in developing the market and supporting its partners, says Rasmussen, and his company works “with” SAP, not against it. He adds that the Danish SAP team is a first-class outfit that really understands the channel. And although he thinks the service from the support center in Ireland is not yet up to par, it is improving, and the Danish support team is going all out for its partners. Training, he says, has been sufficient, though at a certain point it becomes a trade-off between how much can be learned in a classroom and how much by working in the field with the product.