SAP Partners Bring in Leads

When SAP partner T-Systems joined SAP’s new Rapid-Deployment Solutions Adoption Initiative, offered by the global Rapid-Deployment Solutions Center of Expertise (CoE) as part of SAP Partner Service Delivery (PSD), it did so with the expectation that the new program would increase both the credibility and visibility of its SAP-qualified rapid-deployment solution offerings.

So far, T-Systems has not been disappointed.

“We have several interesting leads and it is clear that there is really a gain in credibility,” says Axel Hermanns, consulting manager for spare parts management solutions at T-Systems. “I think without this it would have been difficult to survive the first conversations, because the customer wants to see what your knowledge in that area is. To be able to say, we purchased a rapid-deployment solution, we installed it twice, we’ve tested it back and forth – then this question is answered and you are into detailed discussions with the customer.

“Also for projects that have a larger scope – full implementations and big rollouts – we are a credible partner now,” notes Hermanns, adding that before joining the Rapid-Deployment Solutions Adoption Initiative, they may not have considered for some of these projects.

To raise visibility for their SAP-qualified rapid-deployment solutions, T-Systems has also published their solution packages – Rapid Deployment Solution for SAP Service Parts Planning (SPP) and a dedicated evaluation project for SAP SPP  – on the SAP EcoHub, where SAP’s inside sales team routinely scouts for prospective partners to bring into projects. For Georg Rätker, head of the business unit automotive and manufacturing industry at T-Systems, the value of the Rapid-Deployment Solution Adoption Initiative is clear: “It has a sales argument definitely, a visibility and credibility argument.”

Rapid-deployment solutions – SAP’s new delivery channel

For those unfamiliar with the concept, rapid-deployment solutions are SAP’s approach to providing customers with simple, scalable solutions that address an immediate need in their organizations. The beauty of these packages is that they can be purchased at a fixed cost, with a fixed project scope, and implemented quickly. In short, rapid-deployment solutions are SAP’s answer to the large-scale, endless implementations and business transformations that are no longer practical in today’s business environment. For an example, read article SAP HANA Revs Up Reporting .

For more information, see SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions. Or, check out some of the latest blogs on the SAP Community Network:  The Step-by-Step Approach to a Simpler SAP Project and SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions Do not Limit, They Enable.

Partner participation raises visibility

Since last year SAP has started offering its partners a means to gain visibility and SAP-backed recognition for their offerings of rapid-deployment solutions through its Rapid-Deployment Solutions Adoption Initiative. Participating partners mainly include SAP PartnerEdge partners, such as service providers and value-added resellers. However, as there is also interest from global SI’s (global service partners) and EBMs (extended business members), SAP is in the process of expanding the program.

The scope of the partner initiative covers on-boarding, solution enablement, qualification of the partner’s offering, and publication on the SAP EcoHub. Qualification through this initiative is a requirement before partners can sell their solutions as “Rapid-Deployment Solutions from SAP” and list their offering on the SAP EcoHub. A separate qualification is required for each rapid-deployment solution package that the partner offers.

Read on the next page: Process is easier than presumed

So far, more than 507 partners are participating in the initiative. They have presented 770 offerings, out of which 288 have been qualified by the SAP Solution Centers and 149 are already published on the SAP EcoHub.

Process is easier than presumed

Hermanns’s team, responsible for automotive solutions, has taken the lead at T-Systems with SAP’s Rapid-Deployment Solutions Adoption Initiative, having already qualified one package – T-Systems Rapid Deployment Solution for SAP Service Parts Planning – and they are in the process of qualifying another package for warehouse management migration. Other teams are now also looking into qualification for their solution packages, including three SAP HANA solutions.

Was the process complicated? Hermanns responds, “That was in fact easier than assumed before. I thought that was a very adequate qualification process.”

The qualification process is carried out in a series of meetings, typically 2-3 depending on the partner’s prior experience with the solution. Meetings take place either in person or as web conferences. During these meetings the partner becomes familiar enough with the technology to be able to test and demo the specific packages. As the solution center goes through the qualification process with them, the partner will have to show how they plan to present the solution to the customer, how they will implement it, and which technologies they will use (for example, the SAP Solution Manager).  The partner will also be asked to prepare a business plan that is specific to the rapid-deployment solution package.

“The value for us was the access to the project material we received from SAP,” says Hermanns, citing SAP’s step-by-step guides, which contain work breakdown and effort estimations, as well as a kickoff presentation, an in-and-out-of-scope list, customer questionnaires, and sufficient configuration documentation.

“The material that was delivered with the project really helped in understanding what do we want to do, how do we want to package it, how do we want to price it,” he adds.

Matthias Schenkelberger, Rapid-Deployment Solutions CoE expert for the DACH and EMEA regions within SAP PSD, was the main contact for Hermanns and his team throughout the qualification process. As a CoE expert, Schenkelberger’s role is to guide the partner towards qualification by raising awareness about the initiative, preparing the partner team through a pre-qualification session, clarifying requirements from the SAP Solution Center, and providing support for go-to-market and establishing a presence on the EcoHub.

“We are really there for them through the whole process,” says Schenkelberger, explaining the role of the Rapid-Deployment Solutions CoE expert. “If there is anything that does not work for them, we try to find a solution. That is really what we do – to support them in anyway and basically interact with all the SAP people who could possibly help them, and to make them feel as comfortable with the solution as possible.”

Net Result: Better selling together

“To me, the whole rapid-deployment solutions approach really closes a gap. It’s a good opportunity to enter new markets as a service provider,” says Hermanns.

Underscoring the sales benefit, Rätker adds, “In the SPP case, we were able to write clear fixed offers with generic fixed range, time scope, and so on. That was a good approach because it gave us security. When we now find that we can turn this investment into new project business, rapid-deployment solutions will become our model of choice to further expand our SAP portfolio.”

For Serge Hoffmann, the PSD Rapid-Deployment Solutions CoE global lead responsible for overseeing the Rapid-Deployment Solutions Adoption Initiative, qualification of the partner’s service offering is the first step towards deeper engagement between SAP and its partners to drive sales. “Within SAP we are working hard to make life easier for partners,” explains Hoffmann. “And not only to have their offering qualified and published on the EcoHub, but once this is done, the main purpose of this process is to engage on lead-generation activities, joint marketing activities, and to close deals together.”

Hoffmann emphasizes the road forward for partners who have qualified their solutions through the Rapid-Deployment Solutions Adoption Initiative: “This is not the end, once they are qualified and published in the EcoHub. It is really the beginning of their business journey with SAP.”