October 26, 2012 // By: Iris Nagel-Martin
A young blond girl faced the audience, hands crossed in front of her chest, eyes fixed on the camera. “This is my six year old daughter,” announced Christian Wieland of RAAD Research at the IA4SP event held October 17, 2012, in Walldorf. “She is an SAP user.” And while the public was still deciding whether to be delighted or appalled by this news, Wieland went on to explain how Facetime and SAP StreamWork help him and his daughter organize events. According to Wieland, the ability to import photos across applications allows even preschoolers to decide via iPad whether to visit the zoo or go swimming on the weekend. It’s a great way for Wieland to stay in touch with his daughter during his frequent business trips away from home.
Wieland revealed in passing how this could help SAP reach one billion users in the near future. It’s a target that could benefit partners as well. “The world has sped up enormously and IT is a much more consumable commodity these days,” he said. Easy-to-deploy solutions play a significant role in SAP software becoming commonplace in the daily lives of users – and opening new areas of business for partners.
What’s more, companies still need help from SAP partners, whether it is their HR managers howling for more IT support, or heterogeneous financial systems preventing standardized reporting. Purchasing processes frequently involve isolated solutions that need to be skillfully integrated. And marketing departments often lack integrated customer data that enables quick and efficient monitoring. These are just some of the issues affecting individual business areas, says a customer survey conducted by RAAD this spring. Here’s one particularly interesting fact: More than 60% of all business areas asked are satisfied with the performance of their IT department as soon as there is sufficient internal know-how or when their company brings service providers on board.
This shows that there is either not enough communication between the company’s business area and IT department, or that they don’t understand each other. It is the job of sales colleagues and SAP partners to intervene. They speak the language of the business area, understand its needs, and translate those needs for the company’s IT department. These days, it is often the business area that is responsible for distributing the budget for IT solutions. So it can happen that business areas bypass their IT department when it comes to satisfying their IT needs – this results in “shadow IT”, which leads to a multitude of problems in the medium term.
Next page: Is BYOD passé?