IT solution provider ERT Groupe, based near Paris, has been providing ERP solutions to the retail and manufacturing industries in the French market for a number of years. Its effective motto is professionalism, transparency, and know-how. The company is divided into four core activities: ERT Integration provides implementation of ERP; ERT Evolution does consulting in AS 400 architecture; ERT 3WS supplies CRM and data warehousing consulting; and ERT IS oversees outsourcing to SMBs.
Currently, the group partners with vendors like Intentia (Movex), Microsoft (for CRM and data warehousing), Sopra’s Axway, and IDS Sheer. ERT Groupe entered the SMB market though its outsourcing activities and through reselling Intentia applications.
To expand its offering to the SMB market, it signed an SAP Business One partnership in 2003. Company Roland Etienne realized that SAP was serious about the SMB segment and supported it with a product that is very much a business-focused application. “Other products tend toward a specific functionality like accounting or finance, but SAP Business One has a more general business approach,” says Etienne. “Business One is rich in data accessibility and information retrieval.”
He adds that the solution is user-friendly, and that ERT Groupe was impressed by SAP’s understanding of small businesses and its dedication to pursuing the SMB segment. In November 2003, SAP introduced a localized version of SAP Business One, which in his opinion will be very beneficial.
Going for volume
ERT Groupe does not plan to develop additional functionality, but rather to concentrate on volume and license sales. So far, it has signed two projects for SAP Business One, one with Fondis Electronic and one with Eurodis.
Fondis Electronic, a specialist in the maintenance and distribution of scientific equipment, hired ERT to implement SAP Business One for 25 users, opting for all the offered functionality. ERT Groupe delivered the project on time and within budget, and the client was satisfied, says Etienne. Eurodis, a vendor of electronic security equipment, chose to implement SAP Business One at four facilities with 26 users, also using all the functionality the product offers.
For ERT Groupe, increasing its presence in the SMB market involves three activities: Expanding the client base for SAP Business One, increasing revenue through more SAP Business One license sales, and organizing its SAP Business One-centric service offering to minimize costs; standardize consulting, implementation, support, and training services; use standard methodologies; and reduce its overall internal cost of deploying SAP Business One.
Although the company’s strategic goals in the SMB market are important, Etienne insists that ERT Groupe maintain its value proposition of professionalism, transparency, and know-how. The firm counts on support from SAP to accomplish these goals: “We rely on SAP Business One’s functionality, SAP’s involvement in the SMB market, and SAP’s lasting involvement in product development,” says Etienne.
Credibility and rigor
Working with SAP has enabled ERT Groupe to reach customers that it could not approach before. “The SAP brand is a door-opener, it guarantees quality and credibility,” he explains. He has also found that SAP takes its commitments seriously: “SAP says what it is doing. It does what it is saying.”
In his eyes, “SAP is a rigorous partner.” This has worked both to the company’s advantage and its disadvantage, he notes. He has been especially satisfied with the support received in sales and marketing – SAP has been actively involved in generating leads, and he expects this to continue. However, he says that training could use improvement, partly because the level of his company’s own consultants is already high. And sometimes ERT Groupe is overloaded with information from SAP – they could benefit from short summaries.