wouldn't be easier to assume no commitment and then enjoy whatever comes our way? you don't necessarily have to be a partner to get the short end of the stick. projects keep getting cancelled every day as new brooms need to show off their sweeps.
Partner message to SAP – support us, we’ll support you
Following on from my piece on Enterprise app marketplaces, I was contacted by an SAP partner who is clearly frustrated.
This is not the first time I have heard the type of story that follows and I doubt it will be the last. The partner wishes me to anonymize their story but in full disclosure, I have offered to provide SAP with the full content. I have also redacted specific information that would identify the partner or solution. In all other respects, what follows is complete.
I’ve watched [redacted] attempt to develop SAP applications since 2008 and it is an interesting and frustrating process. Floating the capital is always an issue. How many consultants do we need currently billing to allow a small team to dedicate 3 or 6 months to developing an application? And still pay everybody.
And then there is the not so small matter of how SAP plays the game. This time last year a great amount of resources were dedicated to developing [redacted] which was expected to be endorsed by SAP and part of the Rapid Deployment Solutions.
After it had been developed. After it had been marketed. SAP went in an entirely different direction. We have a product, six months worth of work, and no market. I do not believe we are the first nor will we be the last independent group to have this happen to us in the SAP space.
Currently a [redacted] application is in development. One of our clients using SAP [redacted] needed some customization to make the product more user friendly. This lead to our [redacted] application.
It was less painful to develop as the consultants were already working with a problem that lead to creating this application.
Currently it is being modified to work with a [redacted] and a touch pad (version) in the hopes of a demo next week and possibly a new client.
The guys are having a hard time getting Microsoft products to work with bits and pieces of the code. To sum up; it is about resources needed to create the app and it is about being able to sell it once it is created.
This is not coming from a mom and pop shop. This is not coming from one of those pesky SAP Mentors. This partner is a substantial concern with many seasoned consultants.
The partner landscape is changing. Competition from cloud vendors, the need for fast track vertical market development and a general lowering of customer billing rates are but three factors making life tough for consultants and solution providers. Few partners have planned for this changed environment. This partner recognizes this but still finds it difficult.
Vendors change their minds all the time. However, if you are building a platform for partner development then partners should have a reasonable expectation of certainty. This is why technical roadmaps need to be thought through carefully and explained with precision.
Partner or channel? Few vendors see partners as much more than a channel to market. The development of application marketplaces changes that dynamic. As Appirio’s Narinder Singh told me recently: “You have to treat the developer as though they are a customer. The traditional vendors are not organized to do that.”
Once bitten, twice shy. I have long wondered why so few partners are prepared to heavily market solutions in the public domain. The answer is now clear: why would you do that when the support from your main vendor partner is fragile at best or where they might lose interest?
Use case beats speculative development. I’m a big fan of ‘try and fail’ or, as Prof Brian Cox is fond of saying: Curiosity Directed Research. However, specific use cases always win in the enterprise. Having said that, the path to good outcomes is rarely smooth.
Customer wins? While this story talks to the partner topic. I wonder the extent to which customers get full value when there are ‘stops and starts’ of the kind we are seeing here. We might never know but if the promise of marketplaces is to be fulfilled, then vendors need to look at how their partnerships impact the customer experience.
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Great article and topic Dennis and hope you are okay that this comment is coming from a "Pesky Mentor" :-)
What is never talked about is that there are fractions within SAP that will do everything in their power to "punish" a partner if they provide a negative perspective publicly even if it is 100% true and has been mentioned repeatedly in back-channels with no action happening. It puts partners in a tough position as I have heard repeatedly through the years "I would love to say some of the things you say" but it would hurt my business if I did. I will leave the fact that for most consulting partners their business should be looking out for their customers for another day :-)
Can SAP really grow and become world class if they are not open to criticism especially from a channel that deals directly with their customer base day in and day out.
@SAP_Jarret Thanks Jarret and I know what you say to be true. That might have been OK some years ago but it absolutely doesn't work in a world where there are more choices.
For clarity - part of our remit from SAP as media partner is to help them keep honest and understand things they don't necessarily appreciate as well as they would like. This is one method of doing that.
As you know, the normal method for this type of thing is to refer internally but my view was that the content is something I regularly see so not simply a rant or isolated incidence.