Partners are key innovation contributors in the SAP ecosystem. And it just became even easier for them to bring their innovations to market and help their customers’ transition to the digital age.
In the technology industry, hardly a day goes by without somebody mentioning the “digital transformation.” And in an age when a web portal like Airbnb (originally known as “AirBed&Breakfast”) can become one of the world’s largest accommodation marketplaces without owning a single hotel, only very few – if any – businesses will be able to withstand the pressure to “go digital” and become more agile.
In contemporary corporate parlance, “agility” refers to making business models flexible, for example by building them on a variable cloud infrastructure wherever possible. Yet most businesses that already have an IT infrastructure in place will not transition to the cloud entirely. According to a survey of IT decision-makers conducted by industry analyst Gartner, approximately 90% of all larger companies with at least 1,000 employees expect to be operating a hybrid IT architecture in 2017. These companies will continue to run certain applications on premise – for compliance reasons, for example – and will look to the cloud for the agility they need to adapt to changing business requirements.
The question is, how is it possible to remain successful in these hybrid structures without having to constantly adapt a stable and reliable IT base? The answer lies in what Gartner calls “bimodal IT”, which is the practice of managing both a set of stable core processes (those that are not subject to continuous pressure to change) and a set of fast-changing processes supported by innovative applications. All this in order to meet the specific requirements of business departments, industries, and challenging cross-topics such as the Internet of Things (IoT).
In SAP’s current framework, SAP S/4HANA supplies the stable digital core while SAP HANA Cloud Platform provides the global developer community with the means to flexibly extend and integrate existing solutions and to build and run new ones. What’s more, as an encompassing platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, SAP HANA Cloud Platform, delivers a wealth of tools and services to enable the quick development of innovative applications.
SAP HANA Cloud Platform Comes with the App
Many independent software vendors (ISVs) and seasoned SAP partners ‒ including In Mind, NGA Human Resources, and Reveal ‒ are already utilizing SAP HANA Cloud Platform in the context of the SAP PartnerEdge program to build cloud applications for customers who want rapid gains in innovation and productivity. Since January 2016, these partners and ISVs can collaborate even closer with SAP. Under an extended contractual model they can now bundle their applications with SAP HANA Cloud Platform and sell them as standalone cloud services without having to license the platform separately. As part of the deal, they pass on a share of the application subscription revenue earned to SAP once the customer actually uses the solution and begins consuming the SAP HANA Cloud Platform services. It’s a win-win approach: SAP partners get to position themselves as SaaS (software-as-a-service) providers without having to make hefty up-front investments; and their customers get to benefit from a complete cloud solution without the burden of dealing with the underlying platform themselves.
“In effect, we’re sharing the risk with our partners,” explains Marc Geall, senior vice president of SAP HANA Cloud Platform Partner Innovation at SAP. The new model, he says, makes it easier for partners to price their solutions and pitch their products to customers and prospects more effectively. What’s more, partners do not have to enter into any obligations in advance. “This approach makes the SAP PartnerEdge program even more attractive,” says Geall, who stresses the importance of giving partners more opportunities to monetize their applications. He hopes that the new concept will see the number of apps running on SAP HANA Cloud Platform increase by around 150 to reach a total of more than 400 this year.
Old Acquaintances, New Apps
The upwards potential may well be even greater than that, says Geall. Analysts from IDC except, that by 2020 customers will be using thousands of apps for the IoT alone. Which means that there is enormous potential for companies like Siemens and ABB to market their special expertise in the form of IT applications. And, with customers no longer prepared to dig deep into their pockets to pay for thousands of person-days in software implementation projects, the leading consulting firms also need to rethink their business models, adds Geall. Instead of re-implementing the same processes over and over again, consulting firms could shift to channeling their expertise into re-usable apps. And what better way to develop and run those apps than on SAP HANA Cloud Platform?
Startup Mexbalia is ready to embrace this new competitive climate. As an SAP partner, it plans to focus its attention on the small and midsize enterprise market. The multicultural, 30-strong Mexbalia team, located in Santa Monica, California, and Mexico City, specializes in technology consulting for SAP HANA and develops supply-chain and text analysis applications. Their product portfolio includes a Mobile Asset Management solution for tracking transports in real time, which is available from the SAP HANA App Center. Nowadays they are also developing Carbon Footprint Tracking to reduce carbon footprint and Digital Footprint Tracking – to follow user’s opinions around a product or political campaign on social networks.
Mexbalia was one of the first enterprises in the SAP PartnerEdge community to sign up for the mentioned commercial model enabling it to embed SAP HANA Cloud Platform into its own solutions. “Our CFO always had trouble pricing our products accurately,” says Mexbalia CEO Wulfrano Moreno. “This new approach makes the process a whole lot easier,” he adds, describing SAP HANA Cloud Platform as a good and reliable cloud product. “A Mexican customer of ours uses the tracking application to monitor its goods end to end and in real time as they journey to their destination. Unauthorized breaks in the transportation itinerary are reported immediately, which is vital information, in a country where security is a key factor,” says Wulfrano.
Without the SAP HANA Cloud Platform infrastructure, Mexbalia would not have been able to implement the solution in a satisfactory way. And it would not have been as successful in keeping expenditure and effort in check either.
At the end of the day, a quickly available, high-quality service at a reasonable price is ultimately what attracts customers. “When I’m trying to assess my apps from the customer perspective, I always put myself in my grandmother’s shoes; she runs a chain of bakery stores,” says the SME expert with a smile. “I’m pretty good at that. After all, as a Mexican, entrepreneurship is part of my DNA.”