Grow, RISE with SAP, and Fly – how we’re helping fast-growth, midmarket companies to transform


“You’re recommending SAP S/4HANA for my midsize business? Isn’t that like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut?!”. I hear some variant of this at least several times a week from prospective customers. It’s a common misconception and I’m keen to set the record straight on
this. To do some myth-busting. There’s a danger that growing companies could miss out on the
very thing they need because of this kind of assumption about our flagship ERP solution.

Yes, 92% of the Forbes Global 2000 run SAP but it’s a mistake to think that fast-growing companies don’t have similar business needs to the bigger players. Some examples I come across a lot include: needing full visibility of their organisation in real-time, getting a tighter grip on their financials and becoming more competitive through the efficiency and innovation benefits of intelligent technologies (which are embedded with SAP S/4HANA) such as AI, predictive analytics and machine learning.

You might be surprised to know that around 80% of SAP’s customers are SMEs. Even pre-revenue start-ups are choosing SAP S/4HANA to enable them to achieve their ambitious growth plans. To date, we have over 16,400 SAP S/4HANA customers and half of these are midsize businesses.

We know that the ability to be agile drives operational excellence. In the face of constant change you need to pivot quickly. SAP S/4HANA allows the office of CFO to plan in real-time, to innovate fast and to quickly respond to change.

I’d like to share a few examples of our SME customers’ successes with SAP S/4HANA. Founded in 2011 to shake up the UK broadband market with its “full” fibre optic technology, Hyperoptic now has around 940 employees. Their disconnected systems were limiting their ability to grow, and their CEO told us that they knew they needed a world-class ERP platform if they were to scale and progress.

SAP S/4HANA, implemented by SAP partner TATA Consultancy Services, is now an integral part of Hyperoptic’s technology landscape. They can access real-time data for deeper insights and to make better business-critical decisions especially in the area of inventory, supply chain and
finance operations. In fact, they’re achieving 25% faster decision-making and 60% faster financial close due to having ‘one source of the truth’ for their business.

We have some great commercial offerings which make SAP S/4HANA more affordable, and digital transformation more accessible, for the midmarket. For example, our new RISE with SAP makes SAP S/4HANA even more attainable for small, growing businesses.

To truly transform a business at your preferred speed and on your terms, you need more than infrastructure-as-a-service or software-as-a-service. You need a more holistic offering, business transformation-as-a-service. RISE with SAP is a subscription service which brings together everything you need to transform your business in a way that works best for you. It allows businesses to change not only once, but to continually evolve to address new challenges and changing business needs.

In March 2021, we signed the UK’s first RISE with SAP customer, engineering firm Briggs of Burton. They selected RISE with SAP as the vehicle to help them increase revenue to £100m by 2024, from about £16m in 2016. We are currently working with their SAP partner, Sapphire Systems, to ensure they go live by the end of this year.

[As per the recent ComputerWeekly.com article] Briggs’ Finance Director, Nathan Beddoe, realised that SAP S/4HANA Cloud was the right platform to achieve their ambitious growth targets and to provide them with the real-time reporting and efficiencies they need to proactively manage the business.

Like Briggs, many fast-growing companies get to a point where getting onto an intelligent ERP platform is essential if they are to continue their growth journey in a sustainable, controlled way. Data-driven insights can nurture growth as this Forbes article explains. Moving from an onpremise CAPEX model to a Cloud OPEX model also means they can reduce IT spend and have more cash to invest in their business growth.

For small and midsize companies, the digital transformation journey can sometimes seem pretty daunting. I liken it to running as fast as you can off the edge of a cliff and hoping that the drop is two feet and not two hundred feet. To make your digital transformation way less scary, you need a transformation partner you can trust, who is experienced and has the programs in place to support your growth plans.

This is where the security of almost 50 years of ERP know-how, along with our market-leading partner network, can reassure you that we have got your back. In fact, we focus on having some of the best people in the industry and the most advanced, yet easy-to-use, technologies to ensure that there is no drop ahead and to help you fly – or should I say RISE?!

I invite you to join us in the Midmarket (SMB) track at Sapphire NOW for thought-provoking insights from business leaders, industry experts, and transformational stories from your peers.