Innovation: The Path to Monetization
Anyone who works in the channel knows the competition can be fierce.
Often, businesses find themselves looking for the significant differentiator that provides them with a unique edge. In the past, this might have included external validation–certificates, awards, partnership program level logos or a reference list of well-known customers.
Today, while branding through positive customer experience is still vital, the focus is less about pounding our chests or boasting about our own achievements and more about putting customers first. Every successful business realizes very quickly that viral word-of-mouth about a positive experience goes much further than self-aggrandizement.
But a customer-first mentality stretches beyond building a solid rapport and providing great service; it means listening to what the customer’s needs are and then providing the right solution.
Sometimes, though, the ideal solution simply doesn’t exist. That’s where you can find your competitive advantage. Leverage the framework of your software provider and create your own intellectual property (IP) to pair with it. In other words, come up with your own solution.
One way my company, SAP, made this possible, was through the launch of SAP-qualified partner-packaged solutions. SAP defines packaged solutions as a bundle that includes SAP software as well as a partner’s own IP and value-added services, which can include customer applications, business consulting, training, managed services and more.
Targeted at small and midsize enterprises (SMEs), this provides a variety of SAP solutions based on a fixed-price offering, and packaged SAP’s software together with a partner’s expertise, services and IP, creating a highly targeted value proposition with a fast return on investment.
Sean Barbera, marketing director at Navigator Business Solutions, an SAP Partner, said, “The SAP-qualified partner-packaged solution framework is an extension of our own standard solution sales process. It helps us stay focused on verticals where we have experience and success. We can leverage the power of SAP solutions but also the experience and expertise of Navigator as the provider of those solutions.”
According to Sten Frellesvig, Solution Center Global Packaging Lead at SAP, “Packaged solutions are a win-win-win formula for SAP, our partners and their customers. Partners making money are happy partners. From a customer perspective, there’s less risk, a more predictable outcome and a solution that addresses their specific needs. It’s what customers are looking for, and we’re matching the demands of the market.”
Another way SAP leverages partner IP is through the SAP App Center. Just over two years old with over 1,900 apps (and averaging 10 new solutions a week for customers), the SAP App Center allows partners to identify solutions, create the IP and publish it to share the revenue under a fixed revenue-sharing agreement.
SAP Senior Director of Digital Transformation Bill Rojas stated, “The way I see it, there is a lot of white space that SAP cannot fulfill. That is exactly the opportunity that partners identify, and they build a very niche solution. The speed that these guys build the solutions is much, much faster than SAP or any other large enterprise company can do. Partners understand the opportunity, and they run with it.”