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I just spent an amazing week at SAPPHIRE NOW and TechEd Madrid.  Despite the labor strike and shaky economic conditions around Europe, the event was packed, high-energy, and productive for all.  I wanted to share my overall views on SAP Rapid Deployment solutions, and what specifically I saw in Madrid the other week.

I’ve been working on SAP Rapid Deployment solutions since their internal inception more than 3 years ago (public launch ~2 years ago), and I must say it was so gratifying to see the market respond to SAP Rapid Deployment solutions in such a short time.  More than 2,500 packages purchased; companies of all sizes, industries and regions; hundreds of partners supporting; as well as internal sponsorship by senior SAP executives.  Simply put, the value proposition is resonating with customers and partners alike; the model is working and is primed to scale significantly in 2013 and beyond. 

Check out this video I recorded at SAPPHIRE NOW for a quick overview of SAP Rapid Deployment solutions:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=s1Xrs8dScP4

Coming out of Madrid, four insights / new ideas “strike” me (pun intended): 1) Assemble to Order; 2) Partners ramping up; 3) Custom vs. Standard “debate” and 4) SAP Rapid Deployment solutions for Innovation.

Assemble to Order

I mentioned before that ~2,500 packages have been sold to ~1,700 customers, meaning that many customers are purchasing more than one rapid-deployment solution.  In fact, in Q3, roughly 1/3 of all deals were multi-packages deals.  Why?  Customers are starting to see rapid-deployment solutions as sort of building blocks, where they can assemble them together to formulate a complete solution or fulfill some or all of an end-to-end business process, such as order to cash or end to end Supply Chain.  Internally at SAP, we call this model “Assemble to Order.”  I spoke with one Fortune 500 company in the consumer electronics space, which is considering “at least 20” as part of their IT Transformation (yes, I will share “assemble to order” references when we get them.  But believe me, there are many in the process of implementations and / or purchase consideration phases).  SAP Rapid Deployment solutions are becoming the new way that companies are deploying solutions. You’ll be hearing a lot more about ‘Assemble to Order” in an upcoming blog shortly…  

Partners are ramping up

Partners have always been a key element in the strategy for SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions.  The design was that there would be key functions that partners would play: 1) Implementations; 2) Reselling; 3) Co-innovation (building their own packages) and 4) Hosting / Cloud partners. 

This model is taking shape.  Today, we have 194 partner offerings published on SAP EcoHub.  Over 458 qualified offerings proposed by 200 Partners, and in fact, in Madrid last week, we qualified  57 offerings proposed by 40 Partners (check out this blog for more about Partners at SAPPHIRENOW Madrid)!  And we have a number of Partner-created packages aka “Co-innovation” that are in the process of being certified by SAP to ensure high quality.  You’ll be hearing more about the Co-Innovation in the near future. 

Partners like HP, Amazon, itelligence, Dell, and T-Systems are able to host SAP Rapid Deployment solutions in their private and public Clouds for customers.  In general, we believe the significant growth of SAP Rapid Deployment solutions in 2013 will be in large part to Partners. Check out this video with Eric Duffaut – President, SAP Ecosystem & Channels – to learn more about how Partners are ramping up with SAP Rapid Deployment solutions:

Custom vs. Standard “Debate”

Customers, analysts, and even colleagues at SAP often ask, “We understand the basic value proposition for rapid-deployment solutions, but when are rapid-deployment solutions  NOT a good fit?”  And I would respond that for complex processes that requires heavy customization they might not be a good fit.  But an interesting trend we’re seeing is that customers are still able to customize what they need to, but can actually do so in a much smarter and more efficient way with rapid-deployment solutions than without.  Let me explain with a customer example: 

Israel Electric Corporation recently deployed SAP Portfolio and Project Management (PPM) rapid-deployment solution. According to Yehuda Shruky, Deputy Head of Division, the out-of-the-box rapid-deployment solution met approx. 70% of their needs. This was good enough for the business, and they successfully deployed the rapid-deployment solution in roughly 60% of the time than what they had estimated it would have taken under a traditional model.  Great value!  But here is where it gets interesting.  After using the PPM module for 6 months, what they believed they needed to fill the approx. 30% functional gap turned out to be completely different.  Why?  After using the software in the context of their actual business, they learned what the real needs were and are now embarking on a small custom project to address them.  Had they tried to deploy the complete solution from the outset, it would have A) taken significantly longer & B) they would have built something that would have delivered only partial value to the end-users. 

My takeaway: Adopting a rapid-deployment implementation model can actually result in a more tailored, customized solution, while delivering immediate value (we will publish a video testimonial from Israel Electric Corporation in the coming days.)

Innovation – What’s Selling?

Among the best-selling SAP Rapid Deployment solutions are areas like Mobile, HANA, and Cloud.  Why?  Customers are excited about the latest technologies from SAP, but sometimes don’t know where to start, or don’t want to yet place a big bet on something relatively new to the market.  So why not try a low cost bet with a 3, 6, or 8 week implementation? For example, put your CO-PA data or Operational Reporting on HANA in less than 8 weeks? For Mobile, Lexmark installed the Afaria rapid-deployment solution and they were also able to support BYOD (bring your own device).  For Cloud, we just announced last week our first Ariba rapid-deployment solution and already have a number of rapid-deployment solutions that support SuccessFactor integration .

To learn more about SAP Rapid Deployment solutions and “Innovation”, take a look at this infographic.

As always, feedback is most welcome.

For more blogs about SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions, click here

Follow SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions on Twitter: @SAPRDS & @JeffWinter1

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