The Dutch company’s track record with SAP dates back to its pre-certification days in 1996, when the company mainly focused on maintenance and project management in the SAP R/3 arena. In the same year, Phobos was quick to get in on the application hosting act and was one of the first in the industry to start managing applications for its clients. This ability to recognize the specific requirements of a target market early on seems to have characterized the company’s development. Next, Phobos set its sights on the SMB market having pinpointed a particular demand for ERP solutions in this segment. Again the company was quick on the uptake and able to differentiate itself on the market at an early stage by modeling its business towards the needs of SMB clients.
Making the move to mySAP All-in-One
Having made the transition from buying and implementing best-of-breed solutions toward implementing integrated solutions, Phobos is currently providing a combination of outsourcing capabilities and industry-specific mySAP All-in-One solutions to the Dutch market. At present, Phobos covers a limited set of industries but its micro-vertical coverage within these core industries is extensive. For example, in the care sector, the company not only covers hospitals but also looks at niche areas such as home care, nursing and disabled care. To date, the company offers SAP-certified mySAP All-in-One solutions targeting the care sector, the business services market and the environmental industry. Capitalizing on its SAP R/3 knowledge and industry expertise, Phobos developed its own industry-specific templates for mySAP All-in-One – building about 80 percent of the solution itself and integrating 20 percent from a third-party provider.
From the Phobos perspective, mySAP All-in-One works for its company because it offers reliability – not just in the SAP name and reputation but also in the quality of the software. Frans Damen, CEO of Phobos Groep BV, comments, “SAP offers stability and continuity, and we have confidence in the technical developments and potential of the products.” SAP’s support in the development and rollout of industry templates is also seen as invaluable as it allows companies like Phobos to operate more efficiently in a market where cost and time constraints are second nature. Equally important in the case of Phobos is the web technology provided by mySAP All-in-One, which facilitates hosted or outsourced solutions – a market identified by Phobos as a key growth area for the future.
The company’s combination of implementation and application hosting was put to the test at S&L Zorg, a Dutch provider of healthcare services. Phobos implemented its application for the care industry – Care Solution in SAP (CaSiS) – and now acts as application service provider (ASP) for S&L. Exploiting the industry template to its full potential, the implementation was managed well and delivered on time. The added ASP element allows S&L Zorg to concentrate on its core business while Phobos keeps the company’s IT system up to date and in good working order – all at a fixed price.
Primed for growth
Phobos sees its attractive pricing policy and “no cure no pay” approach as a unique competitive differentiator on the market. This combined with its industry expertise and dual role as both a solution and an application service provider allows the company to compete on both a price and a service level with other vendors. In terms of expansion, Phobos has concrete plans for the future. Its long-term growth strategy is to almost double its workforce in the next 5 years, enabling the company to move into new industry groups and develop new niche solutions for micro-verticals in sectors already targeted. The company will also focus on expanding its ASP and outsourcing activities – hoping to harness the potential it sees in this area of the SMB market and double its revenues in the segment. Phobos is confident of achieving its growth plans based on both its own business potential and its cooperation with SAP.
The SAP/Phobos affiliation
The attraction of SAP for Phobos was threefold. Firstly, Phobos sees SAP as one of the few vendors able to offer an ERP product that is truly suited to the needs of the SMB marketplace. Secondly, the company was impressed by SAP’s ability to create demand and awareness in the SMB market. “SAP is the only vendor that really focuses on technology and is able to bring this to the market. They have a strong development team, which guarantees continuity in product development.” Last but not least, Phobos reports that SAP has shown partner orientation from day one of their cooperation and always ensures that partners are kept up to speed with the latest developments.
After years of partnership, Phobos can now say with confidence that it is generally satisfied with the SAP relationship. The company puts this down to the clear focus SAP has adopted towards the SMB market in recent years and an internal reorganization that has enabled SAP to better support its partners in the SMB space. Moreover, the clear vision and message that SAP communicates to the SMB market backs up Phobos’ own strategy. Mutual support is also an element of the partnership. Phobos and SAP have initiated joint marketing initiatives in the form of road shows and exhibitions as well as joining forces on training programs. Currently SAP and Phobos are working together to plan additional marketing campaigns and events to fuel the pipeline and create more demand and awareness on the market. “SAP supports Phobos in reaching its strategic objectives by means of joint marketing initiatives, sharing knowledge and trading technical expertise with SAP, both in the Netherlands and internationally.”
Phobos firmly believes that the SAP partnership is necessary to jointly develop the market, but the company also stresses that the final word on its sales and marketing activities lies with them. SAP plays a welcome but purely supportive role in this area and Phobos fully intends to retain this element of independence and freedom.