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The noises around RDS’s have been getting louder and louder over the past few months. It is clear that SAP is keen to push the solution and methodology; however there seems to be some scepticism about these by both customers and Partners. SAP have made some bold statements around RDS’s, one such boast is that by the end of 2012 there will be over 100 RDS’s available to customers.

 

RDS’s are part of SAP’s plan to “innovate without disruption” as they will be add-ons to existing SAP solutions or stand alone systems. This should reduce installation effort and therefore costs as well as integration effort and cost. The concept seems simple a packed solution offering a pre-configured solution that comes with accelerators that reduce the implementation timeframe and therefore the cost.

 

What does an RDS consist of?

 

The answer is pretty simple:

 

  • SAP Software
  • SAP Predefined services
  • Pre-configured content
  • Enablement content

     

 

RDS has its own area within the Ecohub – http://ecohub.sap.com/store/rds/ where more product and solution information can be found.

 

Areas for SAP to focus on:

 

Having the right product: 

 

As with most types of product launch knowing your customers and your market is key. SAP have around 40 RDS’s currently available, and therefore it they are to hit their target of 100 by the end of 2012, a further 60 will need to be released, or 15 every release cycle – as SAP have also announced that new innovations will be released quarterly. So this means growing at a rate of roughly 150% for 2012 – which is extremely aggressive.

 

Selecting the correct process and solution areas will be critical to SAP. Finding a further 60 to me sounds like a challenge in itself. I am privy to some of the new RDS’s that will be released in early 2012 and I believe some of them will be very successful. The reason for this is that they have chosen some processes and solutions that are widely used across different types of customers, both small and large and across a variety of industry sectors. They have therefore cast their net to a wide audience which means the uptake of these solutions will be in line with the RDS business cases that they are founded on.

 

A comment I like to playback on occasion is that customers do not buy solutions based on pretty screens and great code; they purchase solutions to satisfy business need and to resolve current business issues. With this in mind my advice to SAP would be to look at common business issues and try to align the new solutions with business issues and not product led.

 

Provide the right message:

 

OK, so once you have got the right product you need to have the right message to go with the product. Why should a customer buy SAP’s RDS what are the savings and benefits to the client? Let’s get one thing clear each of these RDS’s will be unique and therefore the messaging needs to be as well. Not all RDS’s will be available or suitable to all clients. That comes back to the first point of knowing your customer, but you also need to know how to position your solution and product so it is desirable.

 

Customer success stories

 

To ensure that an RDS is successful SAP needs to ensure that the solutions have positive marketing. Clients like success stories as this removes the fear and instils confidence in the solution and the benefits of the solution. Flagship events like SapphireNow could be the right venue to broadcast success stories, however if there are over 100 by the end of 2012 some of the solutions will be diluted. Early adopters of RDS’s should have success stories to ensure that the product (RDS) takes off. Without this the noise in the market will be lost. Lets also remember having 60 new RDS’s are 60 new products for the SAP sales team to learn and familiarise themselves with so it is important to get noticed.

 

Inter-action with Partners

 

60 new RDS’s cannot and should not be designed and developed by SAP in isolation as the delivery of these products will have to be by SAP as well. Most RDS’s will not be a 100% fit for most customers, so the Partner community should be invited to design and implement add-ons to core RDS solutions and where applicable Partners could be used to co-innovate the solution. This will remove the pressure on the SAP teams and enable the Partners to work out how they can benefit the most from the RDS Strategy. SAP should look to the Partner community to champion certain RDS’s and use the Partners to contribute to the sales process.

 

Summary

 

2012 will be a big year for the RDS community. I can see some of the new RDS’s being very well adopted and popular in the market place, and others not so. Some will be seen as a success and others not. What is clear is that SAP cannot rely on the sheer number of solutions to make RDS’s successful. Measuring the success at the end of 2012 may be slightly unfair as most of the new solutions will not be that mature. A better measure would be to look at the usage of RDS’s by the end of 2013 and gauge the market perception moving into 2014. I look forward to plenty more noise around RDS in the future.

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