Steve, itelligence has a long history of working with SMBs. What trends do you see in the current SMB market?
Today, we’re seeing an increasingly global economy for midsize companies, and they’re facing the same global competition that large companies are. Whether it’s reducing costs in their supply chain, getting closer to their customers and vendors or trying to improve operational efficiencies, midsize companies are experiencing the same competitive pressures as large businesses. So, midsize companies need the same competitive advantage. They need solutions with robust functionality that leverage industry best practices.
Further, they need these solutions at an affordable price and within a reasonable implementation timescale to maximize the time-to-value in their businesses, as well as their software investment.
How does itelligence help?
We right-size SAP for the mid-market. We base our mySAP All-in-One solutions upon the best business practices that are inherent in SAP software, then add industry-specific functionality on top of that. It’s a winning 1-2 combination. Mid-market companies get a turnkey solution, tailored to their unique business needs, for industry-focused functionality and business process automation based on best practices right out of the box. And they get it for an affordable price and with a reduced implementation timeline.
What micro-vertical industries do you focus on?
Our mySAP All-in-One solution it.auto supports auto suppliers that supply parts to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the big automotive manufacturers. it.complexmfg supports manufacturers that produce products with high variations, complex features, and complex pricing. For wholesalers and retailers, companies who sell or distribute products by phone, fax or showroom, we offer it.trade. We recently became qualified to offer the it.CPG mySAP All-in-One solution for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry for companies that specialize in the manufacturing and distribution of food products including meat, poultry and bakery items.
What are the pain points in the auto supplier industry?
Auto suppliers often have separate systems for manufacturing, shop floor control and inventory management, as well as separate EDI systems and customer systems. The redundancies in those multiple systems, and the lack of communication between them, makes implementing best business practices difficult. As an integrated mySAP All-in-One system, our it.auto solution eliminates redundancy and gives auto suppliers a more competitive business platform for doing business, both locally and globally. Built-in EDI transaction capabilities also facilitate communication with suppliers and distributors.
All this really allows mid-market companies to drive costs out of their supply chain, to deliver a quality product with ever-increasing price constraints from OEMs. OEMs are constantly saying to them, “You’ve got to give me the same product for less price, year after year.” For example, itelligence helped Batavia Transmissions leverage mySAP solutions to increase production and reduce the costs involved in supplying auto transmissions to Ford.
What challenges do manufacturers have today and how does your it.complexmfg solution help them?
Manufacturers have multiple lines of businesses, including a simple make-to-stock type of transaction and more complicated engineered-to-order types of products that have different variances and configuration capabilities, with multiple complexities. Then there’s full project management-based functionality, which integrates people, materials and time. Our it.complexmfg solution provides robust product configuration capabilities across those functions, an end-to-end solution that spans the quoting, building, ordering and cash cycles.
For example, itelligence customers like Schumacher Elevator say they’ve realized huge gains by automating and managing all their business processes with an SAP solution. it.complexmfg also addresses the biggest pain point for manufacturers – having true visibility into a product’s profitability. In an engineered-to-order environment, it’s often very difficult for midsize companies to get an accurate handle on both internal and external costs. It’s tough for them to tell if they’re really making money and, if they are, to tell which products they’re making money on and how much. it.complexmfg provides visibility into the entire manufacturing process, the whole build event, for an accurate picture of product profitability.
How does it.trade support wholesalers and retailers?
They have a number of challenges. They’ve got multiple sales orders, cash and credits from different stocks, drop shipments, multiple pay parties. They need integrated point-of-sale functionality, they need credit card processing, they have multiple distribution points where products are coming from, multiple pay points. Again, an integrated it.trade solution pulls that all together for them to reduce lead times and delivery times.
For example, Hillyard, a leading manufacturer and distributor of high-quality floor care products, chose it.trade to increase efficiency and communication by integrating valuable information from its manufacturing facility and 31 distribution locations.
What issues do CPG companies face and how does it.CPG address them?
CPG companies are often unable to efficiently improve and expand business operations due to dated systems that need significant modifications to support industry requirements. People-intensive management of customer-specific discounts and promotions, from order entry to customized billing through the financial settlement, are also a challenge.
Further, CPG companies frequently have disparate systems to support quality control, lot genealogy, recall management and shelf-life-sensitive order and inventory management, which is based on unique customer specifications. They also have incomplete solutions for handling catch weight requirements for dual units of measure (case vs. lbs) to support both inventory management and customer billing.
The it.CPG solution delivers extensive, integrated business process flows to support key business functions in accounting, costing, sales, manufacturing, procurement, quality, inventory and logistics. It supports comprehensive industry requirements across the entire order fulfillment cycle, including holistic recipe management, traceable lot genealogy with seamless quality control to enable food safety programs, accurate accrual and settlement of promotions and discounts and commissions as well as inventory and warehouse management that recognizes date-sensitivity and catch weights.
What differentiates itelligence from competitors who offer All-in-One solutions for these industries?
I think what makes itelligence unique is our level of experience in serving mid-market companies. Another thing that differentiates us is the global nature of our firm. We have over 1,000 employees who have worked on more than 1,200 SAP implementations around the world. We also bring some unique people to the table. On average, they have 10 or more years of industry expertise and 8 or more years of SAP expertise.
Further, we deliver the SAP solutions we sell, and we’ve been doing so for 15 years. So it’s a combination of experience, references, know-how, and people that makes up our overall value proposition.
How does itelligence benefit from partnering with SAP?
With SAP, we can offer customers industry-leading solutions based on best business practices, backed by continual R&D investments to enhance them. Combined with itelligence’s SAP, industry and mid-market expertise, we can deliver a solution that’s the best fit for midsize companies today.
What’s up for SAP and itelligence in the future?
If you look at the software market, 58 percent of SAP’s customers fall into the mid-market space. But this is still the largest growth market for SAP. The greatest challenge we face in the SAP mid-market is perception and awareness within these companies that SAP can, in fact, fit their business.
Because, when midsize companies invest in their business, they want to ensure they’re making the right choice. They want certainty and predictability. But they see the consolidation within the software industry and they don’t want to bet their company on a small niche player who may not be around in five years.
That’s something that itelligence works hard on every day. It’s our mission statement – to continue to work with SAP to further penetrate the mid-market, proving to midsize companies that SAP solutions do fit their business and are the right strategic choice for them for the next 20 years.