Hear from AG5 B.V. about their Co-Innovated with SAP program journey and certified solution “AG5 Skills Management Software”
The company AG5 B.V. was founded 17 years ago in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and serves now more than 200 global companies. Their solution AG5 Skills Management Software helps companies visualize and close their skills gaps. AG5 approached the Partner Innovation Lifecycle Services team end of 2019 to develop an application that is Co-Innovated with SAP and yet at the end of 2020 they released their SAP-certified solution.
Could you first give us a brief overview of AG5, what solutions and products you are offering, and who are your customers?
AG5 Skills Management Software provides companies in manufacturing, aviation, food production, and IT with an easy way to visualize and track their workforce skills without resorting to cumbersome spreadsheets.
Since the pandemic outbreak, we’ve been able to help global clients shift labor through reskilling and upskilling programs as their industries are upended in the aftermath of the immediate crisis. Through such training programs, organizations working with us have managed to prevent layoffs, while maintaining their workforce engagement and as such supporting social value throughout local economies.
Can you share your expectations towards the Co-Innovated with SAP service – what were the reasons for applying for this service and how was your experience during the project?
In the past years, AG5 has been massively expanding into international markets, now serving organizations all around the globe. Our exponential growth into a trusted market player for HR technology also challenged us to further expand our integrations to cater to our ever-growing customer needs.
What we were able to experience as a general market trend among our client base is the fact that a significant number of our clients use SAP, which triggered our interest to create a streamlined integration for SuccessFactors. Since it’s always crucial to our company’s continuous growth to keep up with the market trends and ensure a smooth experience for our customers, we realized the enormous potential of working more closely with SAP as a partner and having our systems technically integrated.
A couple of months later we were already working on our integration for a customer with almost 1600 teams in our system to synchronize their employee data with their SAP SuccessFactors system.
Apart from the empowering opportunity of working with a first-class, world-wide known IT provider, one of the first benefits we were able to identify quite early in the SAP certification process was the access to SAP infrastructure that we were granted. It allowed us to make live connections to SAP’s demo instances and also share resources collectively.
In addition, having SAP technically auditing our solution for certification was an exciting experience since we passed the audit with flying colors and great feedback especially regarding speed performance, a further confirmation we are on the right path with our AG5 software.
As a general remark, we’re very positive about the impact the SAP integration will have on our business since an extensive examination by the SAP experts puts a high-quality badge on our software solutions. We’re very eager to build upon the value and trust that have been generated in the process.
Can you tell us about the solution you built and its key benefits for your customers?
The application is extremely user-friendly and doesn’t require any programming skills. It’s a robust solution that also doesn’t require much manual work, especially when compared to Excel spreadsheets. On top of that, it allows valuable insights to become visual. This way, team managers gain an overview of their teams that’s easy to share across several organizational levels.
However, what really sets the AG5 Skills Management software apart from LMS and HRM systems is the complete dedication to skills management. Other platforms and tools offer skills management as an additional service, which is often too simplistic or basic for many organizations.
Our software centralizes skills management from multiple systems, papers, and files into one central solution. Users can easily update skill levels and instantly get an overview of skill levels across their organizations. With clear, concise, and audit-proof skills matrices workforce management becomes more convenient.
Were you already familiar with the referring architecture framework or did you make use of SAP´s technical guidance on the infrastructure?
To be honest, before we started with the SAP Co-Innovated program, we were not familiar with SAP systems or infrastructure. For one of our customers, we were only indirectly connected to their SAP system, through our customers’ middleware as a hub for HR data. Therefore, we were strongly reliant on the guidance of our dedicated technical contact at SAP – especially during our integration development phase.
The Co-Innovated with SAP service involves enablement sessions, architectural review, and sharing of quality guidelines – from which of these offerings did you profit most?
All resources SAP offered were valuable, but for us, the offering of quality guidelines was the most interesting, as SAP has enormous experience in the international corporate ecosystem which is reflected in their quality standards.
Setting high expectations also meant our solution had to make sure its users are fully satisfied and luckily, we also got some great constructive feedback for our interaction design, and we are currently working on those.
Initiatives like this Co-innovated program but also all the resources SAP is offering within their partner ecosystem are enormous and extremely valuable.
Resources like online courses but also SAP’s tools for having access to demo instances, reference architectures, and API specifications for their one domain model have helped us tremendously in moving forward to take our system on a whole new level with SAP.
What are your highlights of the Co-Innovation journey with the Partner innovation lifecycle services team?
For me the project start was exciting with us – all three AG5 founders – visiting the SAP headquarters in Walldorf in February 2020. The first European Covid-19 lockdowns had still to come – so this was one of the last “big” business meetings I was about to attend in person.
From a technical perspective, one of the highlights was Veracode’s static source code analysis, which confirmed our solution’s high performance.
The final highlight then was in December 2020 when we passed the technical assessment as the last step to receive the certification. As Head of Product, I was of course a bit nervous, but we succeeded and hence our team’s efforts were rewarded.
Looking back, we’re now quite proud of what we’ve accomplished – a success we wouldn’t have been able to celebrate today if it wasn’t for our Co-Innovation Services team, who really helped us prepare our certification.
How does the Co-Innovated with SAP program and certification help in improving the positioning of the solution to customers?
We are now about to be included in the SAP Store as a certified solution for integration with SAP SuccessFactors Solutions – i.e. in our case with SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and SAP SuccessFactors Learning. We strongly believe that certifications and marketplaces, such as the SAP Store are becoming crucial in this day and age.
Only when customers can trust a solution, they will frictionlessly install it and connect it to their critical business data. We’re confident that the SAP Store will disrupt the enterprise software ecosystem and we’re only looking forward to being part of that ecosystem.
Thank you very much for the interview. We are excited about the possibilities of working with you again and helping you in your Next Generation Partnering Journey with SAP.
For all our partners of the ecosystem, we would like to share the following message:
Your innovation journey starts with a choice. No partner gives you more resources, more experience, and more commitment to your success than SAP. Start your Partner Journey today to Ideate, Co-Innovate, Certify and Operate with SAP Partner Innovation Lifecycle Services. To get started please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partner Innovation Lifecycle Services is a global team of experts who help partners develop innovative solutions on SAP platforms and products to enable customer success. We offer a comprehensive set of guided services to partners who provide hardware, IT operations, and software extensions. These include co-innovation, certification, and technical services to help customers transform their business and run intelligent enterprises. Watch this brief video.
Visit us at SAP.COM: https://www.sap.com/partner/certify-my-solution.html
Visit us at PartnerEdge.COM: https://partneredge.sap.com/en/partnership/services/co-innovation.html