Partners become central to SAP industry cloud business

At SAP Sapphire 2022, the software company highlighted partnerships with consulting firms that emphasized their vertical market acumen; more IT channel news.

SAP's unfolding industry cloud strategy relies on relationships with a number of partners, continuing a historical pattern of collaboration in vertical markets.

In March, SAP officials said partners will contribute 80% of the intellectual property for its industry cloud offering through co-innovation with the software company. That theme continued last week at SAP Sapphire 2022. During the hybrid event, the company pointed to a number of alliances around SAP industry cloud initiatives. Consider the following:

  • EY, along with SAP and Microsoft, are joining forces to help financial services firms pursue transformation in the cloud. EY, a consulting firm with U.S. headquarters in New York, provides its industry-specific IP, while Microsoft contributes cloud infrastructure. The collaboration focuses on banks, insurance and capital markets organizations. EY also works on vertical cloud offerings in the healthcare, power utilities and retail sectors.
  • SAP rolled out an industry cloud for clinical trials with the backing of Tenthpin Management Consultants AG, in Basel, Switzerland. Tenthpin is part of a consortium of more than 25 life sciences organizations that contribute to the SAP Intelligent Clinical Supply Management offering. SAP launched a second life sciences consortium to explore a planned SAP Cell and Gene Therapy Orchestration offering.
  • SAP and IBM validated SAP S/4HANA and SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise for use on the IBM Cloud for Financial Services platform. IBM cultivates a partner ecosystem for the industry cloud, which launched in 2021, working with more than 100 partners.

A history of collaboration

SAP's cloud partnering focus tracks with the company's past vertical market moves, said Liz Herbert, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. "SAP has a long history of co-innovating with partners on industry solutions," she noted.

Liz HerbertLiz Herbert

SAP tapped partners to cocreate an earlier series of industry offerings, built on its on-premises ERP Central Component (ECC) system, Herbert said. ECC debuted in 2004. The approach endures due to partners' vertical market expertise. While SAP maintains significant industry knowledge compared with other vendors, systems integrators have deep business process knowledge and lead SAP-based business process reengineering projects at many large SAP accounts, she added.

The cloud makes a key difference in today's co-innovation compared with previous years, Herbert said, citing a far greater capacity for software reuse and ease of deployment. The clean-core concept, which leads to more standardization and fewer versions across customers, also shapes the current environment, she said.

Other partnerships

In other partnering news, New York-based management consultancy McKinsey & Co. has inked a strategic alliance with SAP. The companies will initially focus on the consumer products, retail, automotive and manufacturing sectors, providing S/4HANA migration services.

SAP also highlighted a joint offering that combines two services that aim to transform businesses via SAP technology: the software company's Rise with SAP and Accenture's Soar. SAP said the combined service will help large enterprises migrate to the cloud and maintain a clean core on SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

SAP has a long history of co-innovating with partners on industry solutions.
Liz HerbertVice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research

In addition, Lemongrass, an SAP-on-cloud consultancy in Atlanta, unveiled services for enterprises using SAP. The offerings, which debuted at Sapphire, aim to accelerate the migration of SAP users to the cloud, complement Rise with SAP and provide initial integration mapping with SAP's Business Technology Platform (BTP), which offers integration and application development tools.

"We help customers extend their SAP platforms to hyperscalers using BTP as part of the integration layer," said Eamonn O'Neill, co-founder and CTO at Lemongrass.

Integration encompasses event management, data management and custom development. Lemongrass also help customers determine when to use SAP capabilities versus cloud-native options, O'Neill said.

Cyber authorities put MSPs on alert

Cybersecurity authorities last week put MSPs on alert, warning of malicious activity from threat actors including state-sponsored groups.

Agencies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the U.S. issued a joint Cybersecurity Advisory dated May 11. The authorities cited "recent reports that observe an increase in malicious cyber activity targeting [MSPs]." The cyber agencies expect threat actors to ramp up their attacks, exploiting "provider-customer network trust relationships."

The advisory is the latest in a series of MSP-specific cybersecurity alerts, which go back to at least Oct. 2018. At that time, US-CERT, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Readiness Team, warned service providers about advanced persistent threat activity.

AWS, IBM in alliance

IBM has entered a strategic collaboration agreement with AWS, planning to offer more of its software on the hyperscaler's platform and enlisting IBM Consulting for services.

The software relationship will include IBM's automation, data and AI, security and sustainability offerings, built on Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS. IBM also offers its software on its own cloud platform, IBM Cloud. The AWS pact reflects the hybrid cloud reality among its clients, according to IBM.

IBM and AWS said they will co-invest in sales and marketing, channel incentives, developer training and solution development in vertical markets such as travel and transportation and oil and gas. Kyndryl, a services provider that spun out of IBM last year, is expanding its work in the oil and gas field.

IBM, meanwhile, said its IBM Consulting and IBM Security Services units can assist customers with building workflows using IBM Software on AWS.

AWS has signed strategic collaboration agreements with several technology and services partners in recent months. The list includes Druva, a cloud backup and recovery company; Presidio, a digital services provider; Softchoice, a technology services provider; SoftwareOne, a software and cloud solutions provider; UST, a digital transformation solutions provider; and Virtusa, an IT services and business strategy company.

Merger and acquisition updates

  • Synoptek, a business and technology consulting firm in Irvine, Calif., acquired Macquarium, a customer experience consultancy. Macquarium, based in Atlanta, will retain its brand as part of Synoptek. The consulting firm's customers include Southern Company, Norfolk Southern, Snap-on Tools, Home Depot, MGM, Equifax, UPS and Wells Fargo.
  • Avant, a distributor in Chicago, acquired PlanetOne, a Scottsdale, Ariz., company that provides IT and telecommunications products to telecom agents and channel partners. Avant offers UCaaS, contact center as a service, security and connectivity products to its partners.

Channel program launches and updates

  • Managed detection and response provider eSentire rolled out its e3 partner program focused on experience, expertise and eSentire for MSPs, managed security services providers, value-added resellers, master agents and technology partners. The provider, based in Waterloo, Ont., seeks to simplify security sales and create stable recurring revenue for partners through access to tailored vulnerability and risk, detection and response, and forensics and incident response services. The program includes on-demand training, technical certifications and sales support.
  • Intigriti, a bug bounty and penetration testing platform with headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium, aims to collaborate with cybersecurity organizations through its global partner program. Cybersecurity services, solutions and network providers in the program can connect customers with ethical hackers registered on the platform for crowdsourced security testing. Partners also have access to the platform's Fastlane Program, which provides threat intelligence research on security risks.
  • Backblaze, a storage cloud platform company in San Mateo, Calif., launched a partner program, following up its recent rollout of a channel-oriented capacity billing model. The program offers joint marketing opportunities, promotional funds, deal registration, rebates and other incentives. The company said it will soon offer market development funds and a partner portal.
  • Logically, an MSP with headquarters in Portland, Maine, launched a channel partner program that lets agents and technology advisors deliver the company's managed cybersecurity offerings. The program offers deal registration, training, sales and marketing support, and customer support. Logically's cybersecurity services include managed firewall, extended detection and response, and secure remote access.

Other news

  • Capgemini, a systems integrator with U.S. headquarters in New York, will migrate Airbus' Commercial Aircraft and Helicopters business to a multi-hybrid cloud environment. Capgemini will manage the Airbus business's private and public clouds along with its legacy infrastructure. In addition, the integrator will establish a joint innovation fund with Airbus to test emerging technologies such as machine learning and AI.
  • SADA, a business and technology consultancy based in Los Angeles, is working with SaaS companies to list their applications in Google Marketplace. SADA's Marketplace Integration Service gathers the information required to create and submit the listing and collaborates with the SaaS provider's technical teams to build an account sign-up page. The service is part of SADA's SaaS Alliance Program, which launched in 2021. In addition, the company appointed Adam Massey as vice president of ISV and marketplace sales. Massey previously worked at companies including Oracle, Interwoven and Google.
  • Windward Consulting, an IT operations and service management consulting firm in Herndon, Va., has joined the ServiceNow Elite Partner Program. ServiceNow is one of Windward's primary technology platform partners.
  • Ingram Micro Cloud, based in Irvine, Calif., has expanded the availability of Bitdefender's cybersecurity products to the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. The cloud marketplace had previously offered Bitdefender's offerings to partners in North America.
  • SoftwareONE, a software and cloud technology solutions provider, unveiled a program that introduces machine learning to children in the U.S. The company's AWS re:Cess initiative builds upon AWS DeepRacer, which challenges developers to race one-eighteenth-scale autonomous cars using reinforcement learning. SoftwareOne, with U.S. headquarters in Waukesha, Wis., hosted a pilot AWS re:Cess event at the Chester, Pa., Boys & Girls Club of America chapter and plans to offer the program to schools and nonprofits nationwide.

Next Steps

At 50, SAP finds itself at another crossroads

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