For over 7 years I have been deeply engrained in the SAP BusinessObjects ecosystem and community and have created a variety of technology products. To date, I have transformed our geo-visualization add-on into millions of dollars in subscription revenue which only a couple of long-time partners can also claim.
In the same 7 years, a lot has changed about the enterprise software market, specifically when it comes to Business Intelligence and how organizations procure and use analytics today.
STARTING A BUSINESS TODAY WITH SAP IN MIND
If I were starting Centigon Solutions today, even with my background in SAP BusienssObjects, contacts, and solid understanding the direction of SAP, I would be hesitant to to build a business around SAP technology. When comparing the ecosystem and marketplace of SAP compared to Salesforce.com, I would only consider SAP if I had a solution that added value for a specific SAP module or vertical.
ADD ON SOLUTIONS WITHOUT SERVICES: A DEAD BUSINESS MODEL
We started early and built credibility as a business and also as thought leaders in the ecosystem. Today, we have most SAP BusinessObjects implementation partners using our technology, inroads to product managmenet, executive support in SAP, and a large enough customer / user base to have creditability as a viable player. With mid-size competitors eating at SAP’s market share without the use of third parties, expecations from customers are changing, requiring SAP to produce its own
THREE UPHILL CHALLENGES FOR PARTNERS TO MONITIZE THEIR INNOVATION IN SAP ECOSYSTEM
PROBLEM 1- VISIBILITY
Specifically for business intelligence, SAP provides little visibility to partners. SAP Store traffic is highly limited and in a recent poll to our customers, few were aware that the SAP Store existsed. SAP’s massive direct sales machine would be an ultimate channel for any partner to attach itself, but any promises .
PROBLEM 2- COMMUNITY
The once vibrant community of developers and customers who were passionate about SAP Dashboards / Xcelsius had evaporated because they felt their voice fell on deaf ears and because the technology fell behind. Most of the highly talented members are putting the same emphasis now into non SAP technology.
PROBLEM 3- CUSTOMER SUCCESS
So much of our customer success depends on customers actually succeeding with their SAP BusinessObjects deployments. Success = user adoption which is why we have struggled to get customers to come back and do success stories that both SAP and Centigon can benefit from. The number 1 reason why customers stop their subscription is that they stopped using BusinessObjects / Crystal.
SAP Store or marketplace needs to allow partners to define the specific products for which they are integrated. If I am using Lumira or Design studio or webi, what kind of extensions or additional capabilities can I find?
SAP store is a repository for SAP partners but not something that is recognized or used by customers.
SAP store viewer or marketplace needs to be accessible inside of SAP products.
SAP Store or marketplace must go through approval process to deliver solution ensure quality and credibility of submitting party.
SAP needs to communicate and regularly push information to the field and to customers about the ecosystem.