None of your customers are exactly alike, so chances are the applications they need to run their businesses won’t be exactly the same, either. Unfortunately, many solution providers still try to shoehorn an application into an environment because it’s homogenized enough to work there, even if it isn’t the perfect fit.
Of course, solution providers aren’t trying to be difficult—they want to do the absolute best they can for the customer. The problem is, they often don’t have the skills or resources to develop the perfect application for that specific customer’s need. That shouldn’t be the case, and it doesn’t have to be.
Application development is one of the hottest growth opportunities in technology. A quick search on Monster.com results in a four-figure number of open “application developer” jobs in New York City alone. But solution providers traditionally haven’t thought of themselves as application developers, nor sought to build that expertise. They’ve spent years relying on software vendors to develop the applications they need, maybe occasionally seeking help from ISVs for more niche applications. That works most of the time. But is there a better way?
Applications Take Center Stage
As a solution provider, it’s time to recognize the importance and value of integrating custom-built applications into the solutions you bring to customers. Those applications could be mobile-based plug-ins to existing enterprise applications or applications optimized for cloud platforms. They could be vertical industry-specific, or designed to automate or improve a particular process. The point is that they do something to help your customers’ businesses run better and more simply.
It’s not news that software is becoming more important than hardware, but the development of custom applications has taken on greater significance in the Mobility Era. Employees want and need access to corporate data and processes from anywhere at any time. That’s led to a revolution in mobile-based business apps that now offer much of the same functionality users could formerly get only through their PCs.
SAP launched an application development program about 18 months ago so partners can develop their own applications and even sell them through the SAP Store. So far we’ve certified more than 200 partner-built applications, and hundreds more are in the pipeline from partners of all sizes.
Some partners in the program didn’t even have any prior SAP experience, but they recognize the value in creating applications that meet customer needs.
Developing Your Success
The application revolution is happening now. Every time I talk with partners, I ask them about their development plans and encourage them to start thinking about investing in that area. Even if you don’t have the resources or money to build your own app-development team from scratch, there are alternatives, such as partnering with a development firm to create applications on your behalf.
Of course, creating and selling your own custom applications is only half the story. Many of our application development partners are making even more money from wrapping services around their applications, bringing in more profits and opportunities. Remember, the more value you can provide to your customers in the form of technology, services, applications and management, the more loyal they will be to you.
I’d love to hear about your application development success stories and what comes next. Hope to see you in the SAP Store!
SAP offers partners a complete portfolio of end-to-end business solutions that include applications such as ERP as well as analytics and databases. All of these solutions can be powered by SAP HANA, the powerful real-time computing platform; are mobile-ready; and can be delivered via on-premise, cloud or through a hybrid model.
Learn more about partnership opportunities at: http://www.sappartneredge.com/portfolio and learn more about the SAP PartnerEdge Program for Application Development program at https://www.sapappsdevelopmentpartnercenter.com
Ira Simon is vice president, Partner Marketing & Communications, at SAP. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship.