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SAP App Center a bridge between ISVs and customers

SAP customers and ISV application developers describe how they use the SAP App Center to find and deploy useful, integrated and technically validated SAP apps.

The SAP App Center is providing customers and ISV partners with an easy way to find each other.

ISV application developers can use the SAP App Center to reach customers that they may not have been able to reach otherwise, and customers can use it to find applications that they might not have otherwise known about.

The SAP App Center is an online marketplace of applications built with SAP technologies, primarily via the SAP Cloud Platform. The applications have undergone both technical and business validation before being included in the App Center, said Anne Yi, general manager of SAP App Center.

SAP customers need targeted applications

There are two main advantages to getting applications in the SAP App Center, said Jim Newman, president and CEO of Hrizons, an SAP partner in Minneapolis that provides HCM applications built for SAP SuccessFactors.

Jim NewmanJim Newman

"One is it's very targeted, it's going after customers that want endorsed and validated solutions that work well with SAP products," Newman said. "The other is the access to the customers. For a company our size to get into the Fortune 100 or Fortune 500 companies is not easy if you're an independent. We get a lot of credibility with our partnership and we are getting access to Fortune 50, 100 and 500."

Hrizons has several applications that are built on SAP Cloud Platform and integrate with SAP SuccessFactors, a cloud-based HR and HCM platform. One such application is Job Descriptions Made Simple (JDMS), which enables organizations to manage and administer job descriptions through SuccessFactors.

This tight integration with SAP platforms is key, Newman said.

"Customers that run SAP systems aren't looking for just any third-party products, they're looking for products that are integrated," he said. "If your strategy as a vendor is to build apps that target the SuccessFactors or SAP product market, then there's no better way to do that than to be on their marketplace and build products that work with their technologies."

One of the customers who found JDMS was Sheri Tucker, senior compensation manager for Vericast (formerly Harland Clarke Holdings), a consumer marketing firm based in San Antonio. Vericast includes several companies under its corporate umbrella, including the check printing firm Harland Clarke.

Vericast does a lot of acquisitions and needed a centralized way to manage job descriptions for the companies it was bringing into the fold, Tucker said. It was still using an old Lotus Notes system to manage job descriptions, but it ran SuccessFactors as the main HR and HCM system and wanted an application that could plug into that.

Tucker found JDMS at the SAP SuccessFactors user conference SuccessConnect and was able to immediately demo and download the app from the SAP App Center.

"It's really an improvement and enhancement for our leaders in HR, because now they can go in and do the job descriptions themselves," Tucker said. "Before, because we couldn't [use the old system] throughout the company, the HR leaders would have to call HR, and if HR couldn't find it, they'd have to call compensation. It was a vicious circle, but now everybody has the ability to view the job descriptions."

Seamless integration and easy deployment

Semos Cloud, an SAP ISV partner based in Lewisville, Texas, has also gained traction from being in the SAP App Center. Semos Cloud has several products that enable companies to develop and manage employee rewards and recognition programs that are built with SAP Cloud Platform and integrate with SAP SuccessFactors.

The tight integration with SAP technology and products makes it easier to bring the Semos Cloud apps to large enterprises, said Goran Rice, head of customer success at Semos Cloud.

"We have dozens of huge enterprise companies, including SAP, who were one of the first customers using these," Rice said. "They want one application that is enterprise grade from a security standpoint, from a data privacy standpoint, but is also scalable. It must be able to facilitate a couple hundred to thousands of employees so they can manage the recognition programs in one place."

The App Center allows Semos Cloud to distribute apps to companies that want enterprise-grade standards and that are fully integrated with SAP technology, but are also self-service and easily deployed, Rice said.

"When you get into the App Center, you get access to customers that have hundreds of thousands of employees," he said. "You can get a lead to something like a 300,000-employee company, which is crazy."

Marc FarrugiaMarc Farrugia

Marc Farrugia, senior vice president of culture and innovation at Sun Communities Inc., found Semos Cloud's applications while browsing the SAP App Center for a replacement to a rewards and recognition platform that was getting stale.

Sun Communities, based in Southfield, Mich., operates manufactured housing communities, RV resorts and campgrounds in around 420 locations across the U.S. and Ontario.

Farrugia saw Semos Cloud's rewards app on SAP App Center. After a couple clicks, it was connected to Sun Communities' SAP SuccessFactors-based HR system, he said.

"We use SAP SuccessFactors for payroll, performance comp, recruiting, and this is just an app that lives in that family," Farrugia said. "Because it was so seamlessly connected, we were able to just turn it on. It already had all of the connections that needed to pull from our employee data platform, so it was super turnkey."

Constant stream of new applications

The SAP App Center includes about 1,800 apps, but the lineup of apps is constantly changing, SAP's Yi said.

"It's a balance of volume, but also quality," she said. "We want to have good quality content, so customers get what they need when they search."

The SAP App Center adds about 12 net-new applications per week, generally adding one for each app that's delisted, she said. An App Center compliance team constantly checks applications to make sure the apps meet both technical and business requirements.

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