Why Join SAP’s Industry Cloud for Mid-market? An interview with channel partner ConvergentIS
Author’s note – This blog post series is for SAP’s channel partners and PE sell partners, but might be interesting for any partner considering building an industry cloud solution on SAP BTP, leveraging the PE build program. And the posts could be interesting for SAP employees involved in industry related activities (build, sell, etc).
In my previous post “Why should a channel partner consider SAP’s Industry Cloud” I talked about three main opportunities for channel partners. One of these opportunities is to leverage own IP to launch an industry cloud solution. A second opportunity is to start leveraging solutions build by other partners.
ConvergentIS, a SAP channel partner based in Canada did exactly this: they built a industry cloud solution based on their vast experience with procurement, some specific industries and the mid market needs . Below is an interview with Shaun Syvertsen, CEO at ConvergentIS and Julio C. Navas, Ph.D., VP Solution Management at ConvergentIS
Why did you join the SAP’s industry cloud program?
We saw a lot of advantages to participating in the Industry Cloud program at SAP.
- We are excited by SAP’s push to be a cloud company and we want to participate in that push. SAP BTP and the cloud unlocks a wealth of capabilities and opportunities that did not exist in the on-premise world.
- We see Industry Cloud as the next battleground between SAP and its rivals, and we wanted to be on the ground floor in this battle because we feel that this is where the greatest opportunity exists.
- We feel that we have a significant and complementary software product that is gaining a lot of attention both inside and outside of SAP. We are looking for a channel where SAP Sales can consider our Rapid Vendor Portal to be an officially approved solution that they can resell with confidence.
Can you talk more about the Industry Cloud solution you developed?
The Rapid Vendor Portal (RVP) is a cloud-based solution that acts as a single pane of glass for all of your procurement data, processes, and applications. It allows you to present one face and one voice to all of your employees, embedded contractors, and suppliers. The portal is based on SAP’s Business Technology Platform and the Work Zone collaboration hub. The RVP is composed of three main areas: procurement and supply chain management applications, procurement analytics, and sustainability reporting.
Which are the sweet spot industries for this solution?
While procurement is a horizontal process that applies to all industries, ConvergentIS has experienced more success in the manufacturing, utilities, oil and gas, public sector, and professional services verticals. First, ConvergentIS’ customer-centric approach using AppHaus and Design Thinking methodologies lends itself especially well to these industries because the human factor is especially key. Also, ConvergentIS extends SAP in ways that are important and targeted to these industries. For example, manufacturing tends to issue BOMs and Schedule Agreements with potentially thousands of line items. ConvergentIS extends SAP by being able to interact and collaborate on an individual line item level such as line-item confirmations or shipping notices.
Did you have to make any adjustment to your solution to get it approved as industry cloud?
We formalized our Managed Services offering for the Rapid Vendor Portal. We have four customers under managed services already – however, these agreements were all tailored for each customer.
What is the main value of the solution for customers?
- 30 – 50% Cost savings from improved operations
- 75% Reduction in administration efforts
- 7X Faster requisition approval times
What is the best customer/prospect profile for your solution?
Midmarket companies in the above listed industries that have SAP S/4HANA and have about $200M to $2B in revenue.
What makes your solution fit mid-market?
Our product is designed to fit the needs of the midmarket. The main differences between the mid-market and large enterprises are:
- Scale – Not yet digitalized or, at most, only scanning invoices
- Process Maturity – Procurement processes either not followed or not enforced
- Talent – Midmarket does not have the armies of IT staff
In order to accomplish this, midmarket procurement market needs:
- More guided processes, intuitive consumer grade experience, self-service, and handholding.
- Let business people update processes with Lo-code / no-code – they do not want to wait months for IT
- Change management: need to transform organizations with 100’s or 1000’s of people to follow procurement processes
- Need targeted fit-for-purpose procurement. By analogy, they do not need a Ferrari when a Ford will do.
Tell us a little bit about your company and how you ended up developing this solution?
For over a decade, ConvergentIS has been a Build, Sell, Service, and Design Gold Partner of SAP. We are also an AppHaus Partner. Over the past 5-6 years, the company has created 20-25 different applications that plugged into SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA. Many of these applications were in the procurement market space. When BTP and Work Zone were released, we realized that we had an opportunity to bundle our apps + BTP + Work Zone to be able to address larger scale problems across the 6 major types of procurement spend for goods and services. These larger problems and solutions allow us to approach VP-level and C-level executives at prospective customers and have proven to be popular.
Have you seen any benefit of having the solution on the SAP Store?
Yes. We have seen our software attract an international audience of customers. Also, we have logged several closed deals through the SAP Store. Our main product, Rapid Vendor Portal, has now achieved Spotlight status. This has led to greater collaboration and investment from SAP Store Marketing for our Rapid Vendor Portal.
Do you believe it will be easier for you to work with SAP AEs now that your solution is approved Industry cloud solution on the SAP Store?
Our hope and goal is to be able to offer our product as a complementary software solution to SAP customers through the Industry Cloud. We feel that Industry Cloud helps to certify that our product is an accepted and vetted solution for SAP customers that can be sold by any SAP Account Executive without running the risk of favoring one partner over another. As relatively new Industry Cloud participants, we are also still learning how to best use Industry Cloud membership with SAP Account Executives.
Are you open to let other channel partners leverage & sell your solution to their prospects and customers?
We are actively looking for channel partners to resell our Rapid Vendor Portal solutions in order to build our ecosystem of partners. We would especially like to find partners in other geographical regions who will do the services part for our software product.
Thank you Shaun and Julio for the interview!
To the reader: If you interested in this solution and/or interested in collaboration with ConvergentIS, please contact them directly. For example, via “contact publisher” functionality on the “publisher” tab on SAP store.