The Last Mile: Returns on SAP with Partner Applications

April 24, 2012 Bertram Meyer


We’re here with Bertram Meyer, Founder of Taulia. Bertram, there are a lot of organizations that have put a huge amount of money into their SAP implementations. We hear organizations talking about investing $90 million into SAP, and looking for their promised returns? What are your ideas on the last mile in getting returns on ERP implementations in general?

Yes, good question. We see that situation on a regular basis, with both customers and prospects. They’ve made a significant investment into deploying SAP, and now they’re being asked to show a return on that investment (ROI), and fulfill the original business case on that investment. Sometimes people say, “Where are the savings and how have they materialized?” It can prove difficult.

And very often these organizations are basically in the situation where they are tired of making further budgetary investments and also tired of further IT deployments. They basically want a period of calm. Ironically, that often actually keeps them from putting the last mile in, and sometimes keeps them from actually realizing their objective.

If you look at it, SAP is the most reliable and the market dominating financial system that can be deployed, which is great, but it doesn’t guarantee or provide the business case in and by itself. However, just like you buy an iPhone not necessarily for the device itself but for the wealth of apps that go with it, when you have this incredible core platform that is SAP, you can easily extend it with a variety of applications. There are literally tens of thousands of certified partner applications and solutions in the SAP ecosystem, and very often this is the last mile that actually drives the key savings and helps you realize the benefits for which you implemented SAP in the first place.

We tell customers how to make the last step, to implement either a process lever, a workflow, an e-invoicing solution, whatever it might be, to reap the operational efficiencies that were hoped for, or to deploy some financial engineering on top of the wealth of data that is contained in SAP to reap other financial benefits, and therefore help our customers and prospects realize their ERP business case.

How we do that as solution providers is to tackle the two largest obstacles that we find, which tend to be two things: a lack of will to put further a) IT, and b) monetary resources out.

We answer that, as do other providers, by making the deployment as easy and free of IT resources as possible. This is done by being SAP certified and being out-of-the-box integrated in SAP, so that deployment literally needs no time and no internal IT resource effort. In our case, in Taulia’s case, we can be deployed and installed in five days.

The second thing is to provide a commercial model that provides the pure upside or a guaranteed-immediate ROI. And while that’s difficult, it’s actually possible because the savings you can reach on top of an already completed deployment SAP are so significant, many solution providers are actually ready to take just a share of savings or additional profits achieved through deploying their solutions, and therefore they actually help the customer stretch the last mile and realize the objectives they had in deploying SAP in the first place.

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