When SAP‘s industry cloud journey began back in 2020, our vision was simple. We wanted to deliver more value to our customers and to our partners. And that meant reimagining our solution strategy to focus more on open-platform co-innovation with partners and less monolithic, more modular solutions for customers.

Now, close to three years later, this fundamental shift in approach, underpinned by new, attractive commercial models, is yielding better business outcomes and a solid value proposition for customers and partners alike. According to a 2022 study from Forrester, an organization that implements industry cloud solutions projects to realize a US$2.6 million net present value and an ROI of 283% over three years. The benefits come mostly in the form of revenue enhancement and assurance, increased employee productivity, and ongoing lower operating costs.

Our goal is to have 80% of the solutions developed through industry cloud come from partners. Each new solution that reaches SAP Store, each piece of intellectual property that a partner turns into a service that fills a customer need – and creates a new revenue stream for that partner – and each customer implementation that applies industry cloud solutions brings us closer to fulfilling our vision.

Nowhere is the progress in SAP’s industry cloud – and the business opportunity for partners – more evident than in the discrete manufacturing industries, including automotive and mobility, high-tech, industrial manufacturing, and aerospace and defense. Fueled by fascinating use cases, new tech wrinkles, and creative, sometimes surprising partnerships, industry cloud activity in these industries is increasing rapidly. Here’s a look at some of the developments and the opportunities they’re generating for partners on the build (independent software developer), sell (reseller and channel partner), and service (system integration and implementation) sides of the ecosystem.

Integrating and Monetizing a Solution That Fortifies SAP’s Portfolio

SAP knew industrial customers could really benefit from augmented reality technology to help frontline workers remotely execute tasks. Rather than trying to fill that void ourselves, we worked with a market leader in this space, TeamViewer, to integrate its AR-based workflow platform Frontline with SAP Field Service Management, SAP Service and Asset Manager, SAP Extended Warehouse Management, and SAP Digital Manufacturing, knowing this would likely lead to a quality solution offering faster. This collaboration is creating attractive commercial opportunities and customer pipeline for TeamViewer and SAP. More than ever, SAP is handing opportunities like this over to industry cloud partners.

Developing and Monetizing New Solutions Faster, to Stay a Step Ahead of Customer Needs

“Innovating ahead of customer needs” is part of Capgemini’s DNA, which is why, according to Josean Mendez, a Capgemini vice president and the firm’s global partner and ecosystem lead, the company has enthusiastically embraced SAP’s industry cloud as an accelerator for solutions it develops for customers in automotive, discrete manufacturing, and other industries. Among them is an automotive industry supplier portal, CSI4Auto. Capgemini developed this industry cloud solution in close collaboration with customer Brose Fahrzeugteile SE & Co. KG. It’s a self-service supplier portal for interaction between suppliers that makes collaboration faster and more effective.

Leveraging SAP Resources to Develop and Commercialize Valuable Intellectual Property

Sprint1 is a program in which SAP invites partners to submit ideas for developing a new industry cloud solution, then provides resources to help selected partners develop those ideas and bring them to market. With support from SAP, BearingPoint developed and brought to SAP Store an end-to-end solution for managing automobile and equipment leasing and rental. Have a use case you’d like SAP’s help in developing and commercializing? Check out these Sprint1 invitations that are currently open to partners.

Diversifying the Business by Adapting IP Developed for One Industry to an Entirely New Industry, Market, and Customer Base

Amperfied, a subsidiary of industrial-scale printer manufacturer Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, leveraged its parent company’s intellectual property to create a new solution for electric vehicle fleets by bundling the SAP E-Mobility solution with its own charging technology. The result is a solution that reduces costs for e-fleet customers.

Almost every day, it seems, I hear of another promising use case, partnership, customer implementation, or channel partner deal in the industry cloud pipeline. For partners with a cloud mindset, the opportunities in SAP’s industry cloud ecosystem are indeed real – and ready to bear fruit.

If you’re interested in being part of the industry cloud journey in the discrete manufacturing industries, find me and the team at Hannover Messe in person April 17–21, 2023, in Hannover, Germany.

Kerstin Tinter is a global vice president and global head of discrete manufacturing industry ecosystem at SAP SE.