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Partners and Small Giants: The Fuel for SAP’s Business

November 22, 2016 by Eric Annino

Big companies get all the headlines, but it’s the little guys that power SAP. In fact, 80 percent of current SAP customers are small and midsize companies, and that number looks set to grow.

SAP has announced a more comprehensive applications portfolio for growing companies and a new partner incentive plan, both aimed at driving SAP’s plans to triple revenue in its general business by 2020.

The announcement was made to an audience of growing businesses, partners, media, and analysts at the SAP SME Summit at the new Hudson Yards offices in New York City last week, and builds on the momentum SAP has generated in the space with programs like the SAP Startup Focus program and recent events like Spotlight Silicon Valley.

For growing companies, SAP is a company that will grow with them

“What you may not know is small and midsized businesses are the giants of the economy,” said Susan Solovic, author, journalist, and small business expert, who hosted and moderated the event. “Of course that makes sense because they are the job creators. They’re the ones who drive innovation in our countries, and they’re the economic engines behind our economies.”

The challenge for small and midsize companies, however, is how to compete with larger competitors and grow their businesses. At the Hudson Yards event, Ken Redler, CTO of cSubs, a small company that specializes in information management for large companies and runs SAP Ariba, explained how SAP is helping to democratize the playing field: “Having a network like SAP Ariba sitting between us and a potential customer lets us stand shoulder to shoulder with other competitors, other vendors, who might be a hundred or a thousand times larger than us. By being in Ariba, we’re searchable. We have exposure. We become a predictable part of our customers’ processes and they become a predictable part of our processes.”

SAP helps small businesses like cSubs through simplification and integration. Monica Cleveland, vice president of eCommerce at lifestyle company Annie Selke, who also attended the event, noted that SAP Hybris has brought significant time and energy savings to her company: “We were able to take all of our brands, each of which has a different system, and bring them under one roof. We were then able to put the tools in the hands of our team to make changes to our website so that our IT department could focus on more important upgrades, like our upcoming move to SAP Business ByDesign.”

But SAP’s engagement with growing companies would not be possible without the help of partners — a network that is now 15,300 strong. Eighty-five percent of SAP’s net-new customers, and 58 percent of SAP S/4HANA deals, come through partners. They’re the lifeblood of the business, and the new incentive plan is an important step to building and strengthening the network.

Donald Dickinson, president of Dickinson & Associates, an SAP partner, shared his thoughts on the SAP model and outlook: “As a partner what I love about what SAP has done with cloud is the way they’re incentivizing partners to go out and build their own businesses on the SAP platform. There are some very good incentives and investments that SAP is making in the partners to give us a reason to grow the business.”

Dickinson & Associates are not just a partner, they’re also a customer, and according to Dickinson, SAP S/4HANA cloud has been “revolutionary” for their business.

At the heart of SAP’s efforts in this space is the digital core, which empowers small and midsize companies to execute basic functions, based on industry best practices, and remain adaptable. For Montreal-based startup McInnis Cement, an SAP S/4HANA customer since 2015, that’s really the most important reason to run SAP. In the words of McInnis’s Business Relationship Manager Laetitia Debout, “We make every IT decision based on the idea that we need to evolve and grow. We rely on the solutions to be able to keep evolving with us in the future.”

Dickinson perhaps summed it best: “You read Gartner articles about the post-modern ERP and it’s really about what SAP has been so good at for so many years, and that’s the digital core. . . . [The SAP] architecture allows you to plug in the solutions you need without disrupting the digital core—that industry template that SAP has already perfected.”

For growing companies, SAP is a company that will grow with them, enabling new innovation atop a digital core that is the product of 45 years of experience producing the world’s leading enterprise solutions.

Drive Medical, a global manufacturer of durable medical equipment, began as a $90 million business several years ago and has grown to a $900 million business with SAP at its core. Fresh Direct, an online grocery company, has a similar story, having started and continuing to grow with SAP for many years. Crediting SAP as a key enabler, the company’s vice president of Enterprise Applications, Nitin Chaudhary, said, “SAP has been with us every step of the way through this journey. Their partnership is key.”

Small and midsize companies are the passionate risk takers that drive global economies, and with the help of a great partner network SAP is pushing to become their provider of choice.

Learn more about SAP offerings for growing companies here.

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