SAP AppHaus Network: Growing Ecosystem Drives Inspiring Innovation

Since its inception in 2016, the SAP AppHaus Network has been connecting like-minded SAP partners across the globe. What unites them — beyond owning a customer-facing, creative co-innovation space — is the consistent application of SAP’s human-centered approach to innovation in creating valuable solutions for customers and end users.

SAP Business Technology Platform provides the solid foundation on which the solutions are built and scaled. Even this year, with virtual collaboration only, the network has created inspiring customer success stories with tangible business impact.

Through an inaugural round of innovation awards, the SAP AppHaus team wants to honor them. The two winning projects are showcased here.

Thriving Community Rooted in Core Values

For more than eight years, the global SAP AppHaus team has been driving co-innovation projects in the pioneer location of Heidelberg, as well as Berlin, New York, Palo Alto, and Seoul.

The success lies in a strict focus on the needs of the customer, especially end users, from the very beginning. Extensive end-user research that uncovers critical needs plays a particularly important role.

This proven iterative approach to problem solving became known as SAP’s human-centered approach to innovation. The approach enables a seamless shift from design thinking to design doing, in which value-creating solutions with the latest technologies are developed. The creative spaces at SAP AppHaus location support room for exchange and new ideas, resulting in innovative problem solving. The extensive SAP solution portfolio and solid technological basis SAP Business Technology Platform provide the foundation to make innovation real.

Given the vision to establish human-centered innovation in all customer engagements, why not scale these values beyond SAP? With this initial question, the concept of the SAP AppHaus Network was born. Since the network’s inception, carefully selected partners have continuously joined the fold. Each member truly believes in the value of design thinking and human-centric innovation, benefits from unique technological and methodological competences, applies the proven innovation approach, and has a customer-facing creative space.
SAP AppHaus Network map

Four New Members and Counting in 2021

In 2021, four more partners joined the SAP AppHaus Network, making a key contribution to delivering human-centered innovation to SAP customers worldwide:

  • Miittech (Wenzhou, China)
  • Flexso (Antwerpen, Belgium)
  • Datacom (Auckland, NewZealand)
  • Deloitte (Sydney, Australia)

The network has grown to a community of 16 partners and spans almost every continent, coming a few steps closer to its goal of scaling human-centered innovation globally, united by shared values.

Inaugural Awards

In 2020, the network’s partners raised a question: “Why don’t we have our own annual awards program to highlight our unique approach to innovation and customer success?”

A few months later, the first round of SAP AppHaus innovation award submission and evaluation was announced and opened.

Beginning in April 2021, the SAP AppHaus team received project submissions from partners leveraging SAP Business Technology Platform across two award categories: “Best Experience” focuses on exceptional value creation for the end user; “Best Scaling” refers to the scaling of value creation.

Among a range of amazing innovation projects, partners Netconomy and ConvergentIS came out on top.

Best Experience

With 1,900 stores across Europe, German cosmetics and perfume retailer Douglas faced a significant challenge. Its product suppliers provided images, texts, and videos of the products sourced by Douglas. Extracting this information and matching it to Douglas’ product category structures was performed primarily manually. With 35,000 product offerings, this posed a resource issue for Douglas.

Screenshot: Douglas appA joint project team with SAP AppHaus Network partner NETCONOMY tackled the challenge. In a co-innovation project of less than four weeks, a machine learning-based solution that uses product images as the basis for product categorization was built. Now, a trained machine learning model recognizes image categories in a top 10 suggestion with accuracy calculation, and automatically categorizes products.

  • SAP solutions and technologies: SAP Business Technology Platform; SAP Commerce, B2C accelerator; SAP Customer Data Cloud; SAP Marketing Cloud; SAP Commerce Cloud, context-driven services; SAP Commerce Marketplace Management by Mirakl; project “Kyma”
  • Key results: Shortened manual maintenance process due to automation of product categorization; more than 95% accuracy in top 10 results
Screenshot: NETCONOMY team receives the award
NETCONOMY team receives the award.

Upon receiving the award in a virtual ceremony, Joerg Wesiak, head of Business and Innovation Consulting at NETCONOMY, said: “We are thrilled that we have been honored with this award. It’s a fantastic endorsement of all that we have achieved in this project together with our customer Douglas. Innovation is an essential part of our DNA, and this award shows that we truly step up to the expectations that come along with it.”

Best Scaling

FortisAlberta Inc, a regulated electrical utility in Canada, needed to speed up and simplify the processes for creating and distributing pick lists and issuing goods to maintenance field teams. The goal was to reduce manual effort and increase employee efficiency.
Fortis
Calgary-based partner ConvergentIS developed a solution to tackle the challenge arising from FortisAlberta’s current combination of outdated third-party technology and paper pick lists. Paper pick lists were replaced by mobile applications accessed via handheld devices. An application for administrators helped support the new paperless process. Manual administrative tasks are now automated by business rules. Self-service applications for field operators likewise replaced paper manifests. The solution enables warehouse operators to issue, backorder, and get final issue directly from handhelds, as well as see real-time stock levels and picking progress.

  • SAP solutions and technologies: SAP Business Technology Platform; SAPUI5; SAP Fiori; SAP ECC material management; SAP ECC warehouse management
  • Key results: A 75% reduction in daily administrative effort of editing, sorting, and organizing pick lists, decreased from more than 120 minutes to less than 30 minutes; 33% reduction in picking errors
ConvergentIS team
The ConvergentIS team proudly presenting the award document.

“We’re extremely honored to have been selected as the winner of an innovation award,” said Alissa Sylvestre, director of UX and Business Design at ConvergentIS, when celebrating their success during the award ceremony. “We believe in working with our clients to understand their end-to-end processes and drive meaningful change and we are thrilled to be recognized for those abilities.”

One Approach, One Foundation, One Vision

The benefits of a network are manifold; they are even more effective when all members pursue a common goal. In the case of the SAP AppHaus Network, all partners build their work upon an established innovation approach and a technological foundation like SAP Business Technology Platform. All rely on multidisciplinary teams of researchers, business experts, strategists, designers, engineers, and technologists who provide valuable input not only to customers but also as feedback to the respective SAP development teams.

“Sixteen partners, more than 5,400 employees, almost 3,000 workshops, and more than 75,000 visitors: The network is prospering, and the underlying values are proving their worth,” shared Birgit Fien-Schmalzbauer, global head SAP AppHaus partner network. “Thanks to all partners for submitting brilliant projects, all of which put the end user first. Continuously growing, we are doing another important step toward our goal of bringing human-centered innovation closer to all customers across the globe.”

The SAP AppHaus Network is ready to help tackle business challenges and write innovative future chapters together. Those iterested in collaborating can visit the SAP AppHaus Network website to learn more about the partner network, as well as the individual partners and their projects. Specific questions can be submitted to Birgit Fien-Schmalzbauer.