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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 148

June 15, 2022

#148 Henrik Wagner: Partnering with the Right Technology Provider– Why One Solution is Rarely Enough

Henrik Wagner, SAP, Google Practice at Lemongrass, joins Chip today in this episode of Ecosystem Aces. In this episode, Henrik shares his experiences ...

Henrik Wagner, SAP, Google Practice at Lemongrass, joins Chip today in this episode of Ecosystem Aces. In this episode, Henrik shares his experiences working extensively with cloud hyperscalers, SAP, and shared customers. 

Lemongrass is a software-enabled services provider that helps its customers to plan, migrate, operate, and innovate while moving their SAP systems to the cloud. The company strives to empower global technology leaders to modernize and automate their systems with agility and innovation. As a company that has formed relationships with both SAP and cloud hyperscalers throughout the years, Lemongrass often bridges the gap between the interests of cloud service providers and players in the traditional SAP landscape when serving its customers. 

In this podcast, Henrik discusses how he and Lemongrass maintain a balance when navigating between customers, SAP, and hyperscalers through the points of: 

  • Categorizing and Curating for Customer Profiles
  • Lemongrass’ Strategies between Collaboration and Differentiation
  • The Market’s New Patterns of Partnership Solutions
  • How Lemongrass Adjusts to New Market Patterns

Categorizing and Curating for Different Customer Profiles

Like any successful business, Lemongrass takes special care in market segmentation – what Henrik calls categorizing customer profiles. He believes that it is important to understand each customer profile, especially considering Lemongrass' position, to make sure that Lemongrass has the right offering for each profile, and establish the proper capabilities and partnerships to grow and solve their challenges. 

The first profile of customers incorporates SAP tools in the majority of their processes. Examples include users of S4, Google, and Azure under an SAP contract and management; users of SAP analytics cloud; users of SAP data warehouses. Henrik observed that these clients often have the full business capacity to accomplish their goals with non-SAP  applications. Lemongrass works with these customers to add value around adjacent services, in the integration and management of those non-SAP systems.

The second profile of customers are the largest set of customers. This group recognizes the potential of micro-services, innovation, and hyperscalers but cannot execute on their own since the technology is often expensive to acquire and maintain. Lemongrass fills that void with accelerators, skills, and capabilities to help customers take advantage of innovative opportunities. While it may take 9-12 months for a company to invent and execute inside-run capabilities, Lemongrass allows it to happen in a month or two. 

The last profile of customers wish to minimize their footprint in SAP for various reasons. They may use their SAP platforms in the back end but choose outside resources to handle most of their system.

Lemongrass’ Strategies between Collaboration and Differentiation

Although Lemongrass is in partnerships with SAP and Google, Henrik acknowledges that the industry has become a heterogeneous market in finding solutions. More and more companies are devising new toolsets and innovation methods to adapt and push forward. So naturally, Lemongrass has clients that wish to find solutions beyond the binary choice between SAP and Google. 

“Obviously [we] realize the value of partnerships and working together, but sometimes it is about competing requirements and desires,” Henrik said. “[we] have a set of customers trying to innovate, reduce costs, deliver new capabilities…so how do we do that with our partner ecosystem in the best way?”

Flexibility and diversity of solution offerings are critical issues for Lemongrass’ customers. Some may want to go down a fully SAP road, while some may want to combine non-SAP data sources with other types of solutions. Because of cases like these, Lemongrass strives to differentiate itself from its partners like SAP or Google when it comes to customer experiences. Henrik states that Lemongrass differentiates itself by discovering and injecting creative customer tools in a cost and time-efficient way. 

The Market’s New Patterns of Partnership Solutions

Henrik addresses the maturity of the market to explain the acceleration of the move toward innovative services.

Looking back at the last two years, consumers faced a lot of challenges in terms of gaining insights and logistics of the supply chain; it has opened up minds to creatively explore new opportunities and solutions. 

When companies were first considering moving to cloud, it was about cost, privacy, and elasticity. Service providers like Lemongrass had to reach out to customers first to explain the value proposition with innovation. 

However, customers have come around to realize the incredible value they can take advantage of with innovation available only with cloud-based solutions. With the maturing market, companies think about breaking boundaries and exploring further into creating opportunities. They want access to new forms of solutions. Customers have transformed in their own minds, along with the market. 

Lemongrass perceived this phenomenon as their own breakthrough opportunity. For companies looking for meaningful and valuable outcomes, Lemongrass have answered the question: How do I get it done? 

How Lemongrass Adjusts to New Market Patterns

Lemongrass started with AWS and had success with Azure, but has always kept the right questions in mind. It has strived to drive the efficiency of migration, deployment, and operation to combine, collaborate, compete with other partners to look for market opportunities. 

“How can we be successful, deliver value, and grow our business?” Henrik mentioned. “Should we resell? What kind of services should we provide? [What about] delivery, discounts, or partnership levels?”

For Lemongrass’ partnership with Google, the team has built the partnership end to end in what Henrik calls the 360 view. One must realize the full partnership value. It is about understanding what Lemongrass wants to accomplish in partnerships, and mapping each dimension during operation. That way, Lemongrass delivers value to customers, Google, and SAP during the process.

Wrapping Up

“Never stop learning and have fun doing it,” Henrik says. Henrik learned things from books, classes, mentors, and even mentees. For Henrik, who constantly looks for opportunities to innovate, there are an infinite number of sources to learn. Thinking long term, everyone in the industry is trying to solve a problem. And in that perspective, each relationship is important.

“As long as you are showing up with passion, I am always ready to listen and learn,” Henrik concluded.

To learn more about Henrik and what his team at Lemongrass is working on, you can follow him on LinkedIn.

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