Have you ever wondered at the workings of the modern airport and the ecosystem around it, how so many complex and disparate moving parts come together to deliver a high-quality travel experience to flyers?

Granted, those experiences aren’t always positive. But when everything is working in sync – travel and transportation infrastructure, aerospace technology, energy, retail, hospitality, and more – to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts, my thoughts can’t help but shift skyward, to another more familiar ecosystem.

Grow and find a competitive edge with industry cloud solutions from SAP and partners

Among the many developments I’ve witnessed lately as a result of SAP’s growing focus on industry innovation, SAP’s industry cloud and the partner ecosystem that supports it stand out. They’re proving my long-held belief that a high level of collaboration with partners across companies and industries, similar to what occurs at airports, can open boundless opportunities to cultivate new markets, customers, and revenue sources. SAP’s industry cloud has yielded close to 400 solutions across 25 industry verticals, 80% of which were developed by partners either on their own or in collaboration with SAP. About 1,900 unique customers are using these solutions, and they’re renewing them at a rate above 90%.

What’s driving the industry innovation momentum? And why should SAP partners consider engaging in the co-innovation effort if they’re not already, or get more involved if they are? Here are five competitive justifications:

  1. Future readiness: A business landscape that is perpetually shifting and evolving, often in unexpected ways, demands a business mindset that embraces change and seeks out opportunities to innovate – a mindset of future readiness. A focus on industry innovation fosters future readiness on multiple levels. It gives partners a portfolio of solutions to help their customers prepare for a future where cloud solutions will be instrumental to their digital transformation efforts. One leading global consulting firm predicts that by 2027, enterprises will be using industry cloud platforms to accelerate more than half of their critical business initiatives. What’s more, working within an industry cloud environment like SAP’s can give partners themselves a future-ready model for growing their business.
  2. Business ecosystems and networks: By bringing their industry knowledge and intellectual property to a business ecosystem like the one that supports SAP’s industry cloud, partners can become a multiplier for industry innovation, moving solutions through the development pipeline and to customers faster together than they otherwise could working individually. We’re witnessing this multiplier effect within specific industries like consumer products, life sciences, automotive, energy, and industrial manufacturing, where collaboration within industry-focused business ecosystems is fueling a fresh wave of co-innovation.
  3. Modularity and integration: One of my team’s responsibilities is to maintain the industry cloud opportunity map, a comprehensive architecture of potential and already developed solutions that comprise the present and future of industry innovation in the cloud. A glance at the opportunity map tells a compelling story about all the white space available to partners to fill out the portfolio. Intellectual property and ideas are the building blocks in this case. The door is wide open for partners to bring use cases that enhance, extend, or add to an existing solution, or that fill gaps in the opportunity map. Using SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) and SAP Store, they can rapidly develop their ideas and turn them into commercialized solutions that customers can readily integrate.
  4. Industry convergence: Just like at the airport, we’re seeing the lines between industries blur and converge as traditional value chains merge. This creates massive opportunities for SAP partners to develop new revenue streams around solutions that they adapt from one industry for use in another, or that can be used by customers across multiple industries. Electric vehicle charging is sparking a convergence among automotive, energy, oil and gas, utility, and retail and consumer products, for example. And that, in turn, is providing fertile territory for SAP partners with use cases and intellectual property in these areas to collaborate and create new solutions that can add value for customers.
  5. Customer experience: By focusing on industry innovation, our goal is to give customers exactly what they need to succeed from a digital solutions standpoint. The better SAP, our partners, and all of us collectively as an ecosystem are at delivering the solutions customers need, the more trust we create with them. And that opens even more possibilities for SAP, partners, and customers alike – possibilities that conjure the familiar feeling I get at the airport when I’m waiting to board my next flight.

Sven Denecken is senior vice president and chief marketing and solutions officer for SAP Industries & CX.

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