Many companies today are finding themselves in need of guidance when it comes to tackling their biggest business challenges. With the help of its partner ecosystem, SAP is working to support customers in overcoming these issues. For example, take SAP’s global alliance with United VARs. United VARs received a 2017 SAP Pinnacle Award for Special Recognition Partner of the Year for demonstrating outstanding abilities in developing innovative solutions. Read this Q&A with Detlef Mehlmann, Managing Director of United VARs, to hear his thoughts on the network’s achievements and future goals.

SAP Insider: What unique value does United VARs offer to SAP customers?
Detlef Mehlmann: All United VARs partners — more than 40, currently — exchange know-how and experience. We are not one company defining one strategy and giving one direction. We are multiple companies from different markets, with different customers and different cultures. We are collecting and analyzing different opinions, fighting for our positions, and coming to one (or multiple) solutions.

SAP Insider: SAP has launched its digital innovation system, SAP Leonardo, to address emerging technology trends such as machine learning, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT). But many seem to feel that these trends only apply to large companies. How have you seen small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) tackle these topics?
Detlef Mehlmann: These topics aren’t only for large enterprises — SMEs must also take advantage of them if they want to stay competitive for the future. They are dealing with customers who expect services and products in these areas, or they are embedded in a supply chain with other companies and need to stay up to date on technology.
But while larger companies mostly investigate and define their strategy for themselves, smaller companies very often ask for advice. They know that there is urgency for change and they also know the headlines. They are missing preconfigured scenarios for their industry, clear how-to guidance, and affordable solutions. SAP partners and resellers need to look beyond implementations and focus on being reliable business advisors to customers.
United VARs has established six centers of excellence (CoEs) for these new technologies and products. Each CoE is headed by one partner, accompanied by SAP, but staffed with people from partners all over the world. The CoEs develop solutions for the United VARs community, but they also act as advisors for other partners facing critical situations at customer projects.

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