Guest Column | November 1, 2019

How SAP Partners Can Support North America's Next Large Enterprise Companies

By Gregory Petraetis, SAP

Partnering Puzzle (002)

Jim Kelly only won four games as a rookie starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills in 1986.

He also threw for more than 3,500 yards and 22 touchdowns, showing early flashes of what would become a Hall of Fame football career. As a lifelong Bills fan, I witnessed his growth one game at a time.

Having worked at SAP since 2014, I’ve watched countless midmarket companies with high growth potential team up with us and our partners. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch them grow their businesses one step at a time — with our software supporting them and partner innovations empowering them.

Kind of like making it to the big game … and delivering.

And now as we stand at the forefront of the experience economy, there’s never been a better midmarket opportunity, nor a better time to capitalize.

The Numbers

In 2017, our North American midmarket team gained 216 net-new customers. In 2018, the total was 206. More than 500 have already come on board in 2019.

And the year’s not even close to over.

When growing companies decide to invest in a technology partnership with SAP, it’s not something we take lightly. We understand the magnitude of the decision, and each customer is precious to us and to our partners.

Customers in the midmarket segment have proven to be especially valuable to SAP and our partners. These include heavily capitalized, pre-revenue, high growth potential companies (AKA “unicorns”) as well as companies already making anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion in revenue.

We’ve found that the value of each net-new customer in the segment is seven times the amount of the initial sale, within the first five years of the relationship. But if we’re successful together, the lifetime value of the partnership goes much more beyond this — for all parties.

Running this technology helps midmarket companies grow their business and cut costs, making the return on investment great and creating a win-win all around. Especially as these organizations are ramping up in the cloud.

These are companies poised for rapid growth and massive long-term success. They are the large enterprises of the future.

The Reason

So, why are these companies choosing to join forces with SAP and its partner ecosystem? A number of factors come into play:

  • We have 47 years of experience honing best practices with high-achieving industry leaders.
  • The breadth of available solutions helps meet immediate customer needs, whether optimizing costs, growing revenue or improving operational efficiency.
  • Our infrastructure seamlessly supports international expansion and the new markets and revenue streams that entails.
  • Most large enterprises that are acquired by private equity companies have SAP solutions, simplifying growth for many midmarket companies. SAP’s ecosystem of large enterprise customers helps increase valuation for private equity firms because their portfolio companies can seamlessly work with vendors (or are more attractive for acquisitions) since they’re already running SAP. 

Most importantly, though, we have our partners. The SAP partner economy is projected to double by 2024. As the midmarket segment continues to explode, our partners will be essential to keeping up. When midmarket companies choose to go with SAP, they are not only buying a great product. They’re also tapping into the unmatched resources, assets and expertise of our partner ecosystem — one that runs close to five million deep.

We can’t do it without you. Our leading technology platforms combined with your unique and innovative intellectual property enables delivery of the Intelligent Enterprise to all of our growing customers. Only when we unite can we deliver on the promise of building smart, best-run businesses that make the world a better place.

For inspiration, check out the Innovate LIVE by SAP event on Nov. 5, where some of SAP’s most innovative partners and their customers will share how SAP partner solutions are helping SMBs build the best teams, turn customers into fanatics and more.

The Proof

The revolution has already begun.

Take electric automaker Rivian, for instance. They plan on producing fully electric pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles by 2020. They turned to SAP and SAP S/4HANA so they could facilitate and enable product development and procurement. By starting small, they can move quickly and retain unlimited growth potential.

Or look to King’s Hawaiian. This bakery and restaurant in the midst of rapid growth needed a digital infrastructure to keep pace and modernize operations. They made SAP S/4HANA the centerpiece of their transformation. Accelerated processes and best practices are now the norm — and easily scalable with the business.

Other examples include restaurateur Paradies Lagardère, innovative health and pharma start-up Enable Injections, packaged food producer and supplier Morgan Foods, and water distributor DC Water, along with many other midmarket companies!

Huddling Up

This is just the beginning. For partners looking to grow in the midmarket space, now’s the time to team up and embrace the opportunity. We are committed to your success. Tell us where you want to grow and how we can help. Engage other SAP partners; make the most of our entire ecosystem.

No doubt it’s a total team effort. Coming up short is not an option, given the magnitude of what’s at stake – the intelligent enterprise on an increasingly global scale. Although the Bills didn’t end up winning championships during their remarkable run with Jim Kelly, I can’t help but think of how far he personally went in his life long after hanging up his cleats.

Follow Greg on Twitter @Petraetis.