We recently discussed the SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), with a couple of United VARs members for the UVARs CAST podcast. Lorraine Howell, Vice President of Illumiti in Canada, and Martin Pock, the CEO and Software Director of 2BM Software in Denmark, explained the benefits they’re seeing from using SAP BTP, and how the platform can benefit midsize organizations. You can listen to their 22 minutes discussion on YouTube and Spotify. Here are some excerpts from their conversation.
SAP BTP helps midsize organizations to keep their ERP core clean
Martin, 2BM Software: SAP BTP is a unified, business-centric platform for customers that have an SAP landscape and want to enhance the capabilities of their SAP core system. The platform allows you to easily connect your data in your core system and get it out on other platforms, as well as connecting any third-party solutions into the SAP ecosystem. The SAP Business Technology Platform is really the way that SAP is opening up to the more connected and mobile world.
Lorraine, Illumiti: Most of our SAP customers are dealing with customizations within the core. They feel that, even though the end-to-end processes are pretty comprehensive, there's always some additional capabilities that they need. In the past, we used to customize something within the core to satisfy that need. However, keeping the core completely clean has become a critical part of the development of the ERP in today’s midsize organization, instead of building thousands and thousands of lines of code within the core. With SAP BTP, you can actually go into that environment and compose all kinds of applications using all the capabilities and services within the Business Technology Platform. It opens up a great capability to do anything you want, in any language that you choose.
Martin, 2BM Software: Yes, there is a lot of partner-developed content out there, developed using the SAP Business Technology Platform, that can be easily adapted to a variety of businesses. These are available through the SAP Store where you can search through hundreds of apps.
Enabling innovation with SAP BTP
Martin, 2BM Software: At 2BM Software, we started out with SAP BTP as the enabler for our standardized software solution. We focused on two domains, maintenance and warehouse functions. And for these business areas, the Business Technology Platform allowed us to easily access the customer’s backend ERP systems to get the mobile services, and to constantly innovate with new features.
Recently, we added AI functions for our applications, and of course these are available in the SAP Store (for example, the 2BM Mobile Warehouse app). SAP BTP was really the foundation for our SAP-certified solutions, but also the enabler for the innovation that our customers now have. Many thousands of SAP partners worldwide are building customer-specific solutions that become more standardized through the business technology platform. So you have an ecosystem of solutions that companies can use to be more productive, and more competitive.
Lorraine, Illumiti: We've done a lot of exciting things with our customers using SAP BTP. One of the services that SAP offers within BTP is a low-code/no-code environment where you get citizen development capabilities. We have spent time with some of our customers educating them on their services, and they've now been able to create some code for themselves to complement their core ERP. This has been a great way for customers to innovate on their own.
What's been exciting for me is discovering innovation opportunities with our customers. A customer had a platform they used to calculate production costs. This is a platform that they developed in an Access database and have used for many years, but it's become really old. So they've asked what they can do to re-platform this application. We've embarked on a design-thinking process with them. We’re interviewing the users of their current platform, creating a storyboard of what they do today, and then developing a journey map of how they can re-platform and redevelop that user experience on BTP.
It integrates very well with the hyperscaler services. So if you want to use AWS or Microsoft, for example, at the United VARs alliance we have uncovered lots of capabilities outside of the standard capabilities that SAP delivers in BTP. We can leverage and integrate these through BTP to the customer. The sky's the limit! You can go and do almost anything you need to complement your core ERP within the SAP BTP environment.
Enabling greater global collaboration within United VARs
Martin, 2BM Software: SAP is also supporting partners to create IP that’s qualified by SAP and some of the applications then become industry cloud solutions. For us it's extremely important that this is a unified business platform that SAP uses globally, because United VARs is a worldwide collaboration of SAP Global Platinum Partners.
For example, with Lorraine's team at Illumiti, we can use SAP BTP as the basis of the applications that we provide to customers. BTP has become the common denominator for our approach to clients around the world. This has further enabled the global collaboration of SAP Partners within United VARs even more than before. Another key point about the platform is also that it's maintained and run by SAP. So it gives a great level of cybersecurity.
Lorraine, Illumiti: We have a whole bunch of United VARs SAP partners that are developing in the SAP Business Technology Platform. As Martin says, lot of them have gone as far as developing solutions that have made it all the way through to the SAP store and some of them into the industry cloud. It's been great, as within the United VARs alliance we all have access to these SAP partners that are learning different things about SAP BTP and sharing ideas and knowledge with each other.
In the United VARs partnership, we have over 70 partners worldwide and all of them are starting to get into SAP BTP. We have huge capabilities in collaborating and building solutions that we can then roll out to customers across the entire world. Martin and I have already rolled out applications that were started by 2BM Software, and even done some enhancements for individual customers in North America on their product to really embrace SAP BTP.
About United VARs
United VARs is a global alliance of SAP implementation partners and solution providers for the mid-market. With over 70 members in 100 countries, the alliance serves all types of SAP rollouts and integrations across the world. The organization provides businesses with local expertise ‘on the ground’ charged at local rates. All United VARs members work together as one team to provide a more personalized service than other global systems integrators are able to, and one that is better suited to mid-market budgets.
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