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It takes a few short seconds with Frank Kochendoerfer to understand why Qnovate is passionate about being a SAP Cloud Solution Partner.  Carolyn Horiel from the Cloud Ecosystem and Channels team spoke with Frank, Qnovate Vice President of Strategic Industries, to discover why they decided to partner with SAP and to explore the world of Qnovate.

Welcome to the SAP partner family!  Can you tell me about your company and its background?

Qnovate was founded by four former SAP Platinum Level Consultant leaders with deep domain expertise and more than 60 years’ worth of combined SAP experience.  We are headquartered in Columbia, Maryland.  Qnovate was formed to address industry specific needs of SAP customers in CRM and Analytics.  We build solutions based on SAP technologies such as HANA, Cloud, and Analytics.  The chemical industry is one of the key focus areas. 

With Qnovate’s extensive SAP background, it absolutely made sense for you to partner with SAP.  Did you consider working with other software companies?

We are 100% focused on SAP.  SAP provides integrated solution offerings – so we have the same goals regarding our development initiatives.  Cloud and HANA play a big role to achieve these goals.  For example, we try to help SAP “rip and replace” Salesforce.com.  We actually have an entire service package around that – again, industry-specific content helps to make that case.  I personally believe SAP’s Cloud solutions are cutting edge.  It is important for us to be part of the SAP Cloud Ecosystem – we are active around Cloud solutions for many years. 

You mentioned Cloud solutions; what do you see as the biggest benefits of Cloud computing?

I think there are three main benefits – Cost, Simplification and Flexibility.

Please elaborate why.

Experience has shown that on the Cost side, Cloud can lead to a 30% lower total cost of ownership.  No hardware, maintenance, or staff is needed to maintain the hardware and systems.  As for Simplification, there is no procurement of hardware.  From a budget standpoint, it shifts from capital expenses to an operating expense, therefore making the overall internal approval process much easier.  With no hardware to sustain, Cloud hosting gets decidedly easier and simpler especially in unexpected recovery situations.  And finally Flexibility – we’ve seen some great examples of large enterprises moving to the Cloud. Companies today are acquiring other businesses and spin-off or divest parts of their business.  As result, the number of software licenses needed is constantly changing. A MCaaS model (SAP: Managed Cloud as a Service) can really support that situation – you only subscribe to a monthly fee based on the number of users, that’s it. You can’t do that in a traditional on-premise environment.

So tell us about Qnovate’s Cloud solutions and what benefits they offer businesses?

We developed a solution currently focused on SAP Cloud for Sales – chemical industry specific functionality as well as enhanced usability. The industry functionality covers critical “customer facing” processes around chemical sample management.  Before a customer orders, material samples must be provided for evaluation. No sample – no sales. The challenge companies are facing is that they provide tens of thousands of samples per year, but the process is not connected to ERP or CRM.  As result,  a company may lose sight of which sales opportunity the sample is associated with, actual sample status,  and are likely unable to keep a record of customer requirements effectively. We find most businesses still use spreadsheets which are very labor intensive, error-prone, and with no tracking.

With being so active in the Cloud solution space, what do you envision for the future of Cloud?

Cloud is not a matter of ‘if’ but a matter of ‘when’. Compared to just a year or two ago, we see a tremendous interest from our customer base.  Admittedly, not everyone is ready, but even the most traditional, conservative companies now seem to like the idea to test the water with maybe putting a small, less critical application on the Cloud.  I think this a general trend.  At this point, only a few companies are really looking to go entirely Cloud – some examples are mid-market companies looking for a new, low-cost and flexible environment.  Medium size companies are much nimbler for such a change than the large multinationals or larger enterprises which look for ways to cut cost.  I also believe there is a difference in ‘acceptance’ on a regional basis.  North America is much more open to Cloud than for instance Europe, where security concerns are holding things back.

One last question, what does Qnovate have planned for 2014?

A main focus of our activities will be to help our customers move from on-premise solution to the Cloud, using hybrid deployment options.  Also, we just kicked-off a project around SAP’s Chemical Industry Solution Template (a.k.a. Best Practices for Chemicals).  We will move this ERP environment into the Cloud and integrate with Cloud for Sales and other Cloud solutions, so businesses can see the benefits of these integrated solutions. This will be a game changer.

We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to speak with us.  With Qnovate’s vast SAP experience, Qnovate is on track to reach its goal “to become the most innovative partner in the CRM space.”  Your drive and commitment is invigorating and truly value your insight on the future of Cloud.  Welcome once again to the SAP Cloud Solution partner team.

To learn more about Qnovate, visit their website (http://qnovate.com/).

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