SAP has bestowed Partner Excellence awards on three North American channel partners that the software company says have excelled in selling cloud software, adopting new business models and increasing sales to SMB customers.
As SAP has moved in new directions, the application software giant has turned to its channel partners to help spearhead changes such as migrating customers from on-premises software to cloud services. The awards, given to Dickinson + Associates of Chicago, Cincinnati-based Itelligence and HP Strategies Consulting of Richmond Hill, Ont., put the spotlight on three channel partners that have helped lead the way.
"It means we're doing great things for the SAP customer base," said Steve Niesman, president and CEO of Itelligence, summing up in an interview with CRN the reasons behind the Partner Excellence award was given to the solution provider.
Itelligence was recognized for several reasons, said Marc Monday, SAP's North America channel chief, in an interview with CRN, including being SAP's top North America revenue partner in executed SMB deals. While Itelligence sells SAP software to large enterprise customers, the company has successfully packaged SAP applications with its own services and custom software for small and mid-size customers.
"Digital transformation isn't just for large organizations," Niesman said in an interview, noting his company's ability to develop software packages for vertical industry customers of all sizes incorporating SAP applications and itelligence's industry-specific software add-ons and proprietary "accelerators" that speed implementation time.
Itelligence was also given the award for what SAP judged to be its ground-breaking initiatives in digital marketing. Monday said more potential customers are doing online research before engaging a partner for an IT purchase or project, so solution providers increasingly need a digital presence.
Niesman said Itelligence's use of digital marketing is "helping us to spread the gospel that SAP is absolutely for mid-market organizations" and not just large enterprises.
Solution provider and consultant Dickinson + Associates received the award for the solution provider's fast-growing sales of the SAP S/4HANA suite of ERP applications, especially among SMB customers, for both on-premises and cloud implementation. While the company works with multibillion-dollar customers, its focus is on customers with annual revenue under $1 billion. The company also works with SAP's business analytics products and Leonardo digital innovation platform.
Monday noted that Dickinson + Associates has been a pioneer in partnering with other solution providers when customers need expertise outside of the company's core business. That practice, Monday said, helps "build connective tissue within the partner ecosystem."
President Donald Dickinson, in an interview, said his company will partner with other solution providers when a customer project calls for expertise with the SAP C/4HANA suite of CRM applications, for example, or SuccessFactors human resource management applications.
Dickinson said that as recently as 2017 about 80 percent of his company's sales of S/4HANA were on-premises implementations. But last year that was about 50-50 cloud and on-premises implementations and this year he expects cloud implementations to exceed 50 percent with customers opting for either SAP's public cloud S/4HANA, a private cloud implementation on the HANA cloud platform, or a hosted package.
"There are so many flexible ways to buy, license and consume the ERP cloud services," Dickinson said.
HR Strategies, which provides services around SAP's SuccessFactors cloud applications, was SAP's top cloud revenue producer for SAP's North America SMB business in 2018. HR Strategies has been especially successful with the PartnerEdge Cloud Choice Profit program under which the partner handles most of the selling and customer interaction, but leaves the contracting, billing and collections to SAP.
"They have embraced the cloud annuity business model and are driving exponential cloud growth," Monday said.
HR Strategies provides professional services that help businesses and organizations develop HR strategies and policies, such as compensation management and regulatory compliance, and optimize HR technology such as SuccessFactors, said president and CEO Ruby Maini, in an interview.
While HR Strategies has worked with the SuccessFactors software for some time, the company joined as an SAP partner just three years ago and Maini attributed her company's rapid sales growth to SAP's commitment and provided resources including sales enablement, marketing assistance and lead generation.
"Once you step up, they step up twice as much," she said.
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