What’s in SAP Build for our Partners? Insights from Sapphire

Sapphire, our dedicated Partner

Let’s carry on with our partner interview series featuring Sapphire, our dedicated partner, and the foremost provider of digital transformation solutions for mid-market and mid-enterprise companies. Discover more from Mark Wheeler, Sapphire’s Chief Product Officer, about how they swiftly address genuine business challenges using Low Code!

SAP has recently launched Enterprise Automation with SAP; how do you perceive its importance in the context of your customers journey?

Enterprise Automation is the easiest technology to talk to ERP customers about. Rarely is it a technology sale but typically starts from a spreadsheet which itemizes capacity release (FTEs) and productivity growth (hours saved). Increasingly it is not just these quantified savings and scalability that we find Finance Directors and CFOs speaking to us about but also User Experience, Operational Resilience and Quality Assurance. With so much pre-built content in the SAP store for automation getting started is often simple, quick and inexpensive for the end customer. The returns of scaling beyond quick wins and into Enterprise Automation under a Centre of Excellence, supported by a partner often become unavoidable thereafter.

How do you consider low code generally at Sapphire?

Low Code is a considerable force in accelerating development cycles, and this is well documented. At Sapphire we also see the huge potential for Low Code to creating a landing zone for technologies like Generative AI moving these game-changing capabilities out of IT and into the Business where Citizen Developers can create greater personalisation for customers, time savings for their teams or greater integrity and insights in their business data. For example creating a an automation that takes a closed Sales Orders and creates a new Project, assigns resources and creates analysis codes for time and expenses has long been feasible using products like SAP Build Process Automation, however now we can reply to the customer confirming acceptance of the order and the date of the initial kick off meeting using Natural Language generated using pre-defined prompts submitted to OpenAI over a secure API. If the business is released to access even half of these types of opportunities available then we’re talking a considerable transformation and all driven by Low Code and Citizen Developers, supported by IT and strong governance.

How did you start with SAP Build?

We started with one easy decision. Should we switch on pre-packaged automation solutions for our SAP customers where the licensing is already included with their core ERP? Of course, our answer was yes, and we now deploy scenarios such as Supplier Invoice processing and Sales Invoice generation out-the-box within our standard ERP implementation cycles. As we entered 2023, we realized we wanted to accelerate and go further with the Build toolkit and as such launched an ambitious training programme to get 100 of our SAP Consultants trained in Low Code App and Automation development. This has led to several solutions, templates, and validates use cases being created which add real value and have repeatability across our customer base.

What is SAP Build for in your portfolio?

SAP Build is a critical component in Sapphire’s Digital Transformation offering. Particularly SAP Build Process Automation delivers immediate value at Go-live for our ERP projects but increasingly SAP Build Apps, Process Automation and Work Zone are being adopted by end users as part of their ongoing ERP lifecycle whether it be to extend functionality into a side-by-side, discrete mini-app or portal for targeted user personas in their business or supply chain or whether it’s to grow automation beyond standard integration scenarios and into repeatable tasks that reach beyond financial transactional processing.

Can you share an example on how SAP Build Process Automation helped in a customer project?

The pre-packaged content provides a fantastic fast start for end customers looking to get more value from their ERP project. However, it is in the custom, business specific scenarios where we see end users achieve real ROI. In one example our client identified x5 bespoke automations that on their own generated £500k of benefit every year including processing of customer billing for large service contracts to manage disputed invoices, recurring billing, and reconciliation to their work management system. Another industrial manufacturing client use SAP Build Process Automation to clear down their Work in Progress queue routinely and run re-valuations delivering near real-time visibility of working capital.

Can you share an example on how SAP Build Apps helped in a customer project?

SAP Build Apps is a fantastic toolkit for our functional consultants who often use the low code studio to build out quick prototypes or wireframes for developers within a requirements document. Beyond this Build Apps is proving a fantastic tool in the toolkit for what we’d describe as mini apps. One recent example would be a simplified Bin2Bin scanning tool for Android for an SMB warehouse built by a combined team of functional and technical consultants as part of the wider ERP implementation.

Can you share an example on how SAP Build Work Zone helped in a customer project?

Simple portals are a good fit for Work Zone, most recently using Work Zone to create a simplified customer portal for a strategic customer account for an automotive parts manufacturer enabling tracking of orders and even placing of new orders on account using a simple Fiori style layout.

How do you plan to use SAP Build in the future?

SAP Build a strategic part of Sapphire’s toolkit delivering phenomenally quick time to value developments, automations, and portals for clients to solve real business challenges. The pre-packaged content from SAP provides a great quick start for any new customer with many seeking to training themselves to extend beyond these simple scenarios particularly around automation. In the coming 12 months we’re excited to see integration to Generative AI deliver even more value to customer service and sales team via SAP Build and in the coming 3 years we expect the growing community of customers with Citizen Development capabilities further accelerate business value by moving automation and development skills closer to the business requirements they are looking to solve.

Sapphire also kick-started the Next Level SAP Build program. Over the past few months, we’ve collaborated closely with Sapphire to establish a robust SAP Build practice. This collaboration has yielded impressive results, with 16 customer wins within the first 90 days and a total of 25 active customers benefiting from SAP Build. For a deeper understanding of our journey, we encourage you to explore Sapphire’s blog post, where they share their valuable insights!

If you would like to be involved as an SAP Partner in the Next Level SAP Build initiative, please reach out to the Program Lead, my colleague Sohail Mohammed – here on Sohail Mohammed or on LinkedIn.

We want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Mark and his team for dedicating their time to participate in this interview. Their dedication to engaging customers with SAP Build solutions is truly commendable! We highly value their efforts and look forward to working together with them.

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