Exploring SAP BTP EMEA North Roadshow Insights: Top 10 Questions about SAP’s Industry Cloud from Partners – Part 1
Over the past months, I have taken part in the EMEA North 2023 SAP BTP Roadshow, helping promote SAP BTP as a development platform for SAP partners. My primary responsibility was to present SAP’s Industry Cloud as a go-to-market program and a business opportunity. The majority of participants at these events were SAP channel partners.
During the roadshow, I engaged with over 150 individuals from more than 50 partner organizations. In addition to delivering standard presentations on SAP’s industry cloud strategy, I conducted numerous one-on-one interactions. This blog post consolidates the top 5 questions raised by channel partners throughout these discussions (another 5 questions will be answered in my next blog post).
1) Would SAP disapprove if I create an industry cloud solution in an area where an SAP solution already exists?
Several partners shared their concern that their mid-market clients need additional capabilities beyond S/4HANA, but standard SAP solutions catering to these needs can sometimes be too extensive, rendering them too expensive for mid-market customers. The partners proposed utilizing SAP BTP to develop highly targeted, out-of-the-box applications tailored specifically for mid-market clients. Some partners expressed apprehension that SAP might not be supportive of this idea.
The response, however, is quite the opposite. SAP actively encourages this type of innovation! Customer requirements vary based on their size, and thus, demand uniquely designed solutions. I have personally encountered numerous examples of this over the past year. For instance, in another blog post, I discuss the case of SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud from SAP, alongside the Smart Factory solution developed by a channel partner for smaller clients. Both solutions cater to the same functional needs but target entirely different customer segments.
2) Are all solutions on the SAP Store considered Industry Cloud solutions?
No, not all solutions on the SAP Store are Industry Cloud solutions. With over 2,300 solutions available, the SAP Store features a diverse range of offerings. Some examples include a simple report that customers can integrate into their SAP system, custom code that clients need to deploy and run themselves, efficiency tools without industry-specific aspects, system monitoring tools, horizontal solutions, integration content, and solutions that don’t utilize SAP BTP. None of these examples would qualify as Industry Cloud solutions.
An Industry Cloud solution is a genuine SaaS offering that adheres to FIORI guidelines, leverages SAP BTP, and addresses industry-specific challenges in one or more industries. If you are interested in learning more about the defining characteristics of an Industry Cloud solution, please refer to this blog post. Out of the 2,300+ solutions on the SAP Store, over 270 are true Industry Cloud solutions.
3) If I want to develop an industry cloud solution, does it need to work with SAP S/4HANA public cloud edition, and must it be multi-tenant?
The answer to both of these questions is no. SAP strongly recommends that partners develop industry cloud solutions that are compatible with SAP S/4HANA public cloud, but it is not a strict requirement. The essential criterion is that the solution should be able to work with at least one component of the SAP Intelligent Suite. This could include SAP S/4HANA Cloud private edition, public edition, on-premises editions, ECC, SuccessFactors, or CX.
It is worth noting that most industry cloud solutions developed by partners are designed to work with multiple editions of SAP S/4HANA. However, this is not a mandatory requirement. Additionally, there is no strict stipulation that the solution must be multi-tenant.
4) If I list my solution on the SAP Store, should I be concerned about others stealing my code, especially if I offer a free trial? Also, will SAP own my solution and IP if I go on SAP store with my solution?
If you are concerned about putting your solution on the SAP Store, fearing that others might steal your code or that SAP may own your solution and IP, let me reassure you that you do not need to worry about these issues.
Firstly, when partners showcase their solutions on the SAP Store, they are not actually placing the entire solution there. Instead, they provide information about their solutions, which is then published in the store’s catalog. It is crucial to understand that the SAP Store serves as a platform for displaying solution information to potential buyers. To obtain the solution, interested parties must contact the solution partner directly, who will then grant them access. If you choose to offer a free trial (which is not required), users will access a hosted solution. There is no obligation to provide your code to anyone.
Secondly, SAP’s solution and GTM strategy depend on partners developing industry cloud solutions. SAP does not aim to build everything in-house and has no interest in stealing ideas from partners. So, how does SAP benefit? The business model for SAP is that partner solutions drive the usage of SAP BTP and SAP’s APIs, generating revenue for SAP in the process. This approach is part of SAP’s platform strategy.
Lastly, partners’ IP rights are legally protected in the PE build contract they sign with SAP. The contract contains specific text addressing this issue, ensuring that partners’ IP remains fully protected.
5) If I have an idea for a solution, how do I know that nobody else also work on something similar?
If you have an idea for a solution, you might be wondering how to determine if someone else is already working on something similar.
In reality, it may be challenging to know for certain. The SAP ecosystem is vast, with numerous partners and ongoing innovation that may not always be visible before the solutions are released, even to SAP. However, this shouldn’t be your primary concern. There is room for a variety of solutions, and no two solutions will be identical. Additionally, regional and local differences can create unique opportunities. As a channel partner, your primary focus should be on providing your solution to your customers, which should form the foundation of your business case.
Of course, you can search the SAP Store for existing solutions developed by other partners and consider contacting them to explore potential collaboration opportunities. SAP recently launched an overview of industry cloud solutions for midmarket organizations, which is worth reviewing to identify any potential collaboration prospects.
Lastly, it is crucial for channel partners to stay informed about SAP’s development plans, particularly in the core. For more information on this topic, please refer to this blog. By staying aware of SAP’s plans and potential collaboration opportunities, you can ensure your solution remains relevant and valuable in the market.
For part two of these FAQ, please check this blog post
Interested in more information about SAP’s Industry Cloud for Channel Partners?
Consider reading one of my other blog posts.