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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 43

January 24, 2019

#43 Thomas Iseler: What Does Your Customer Really Want?

Thomas Iseler is EVP/Managing Director Americas for DataVard Inc, an SAP Partner, and he is a huge advocate for listening to what your customer really wants.

Thomas Iseler is EVP/Managing Director Americas for DataVard Inc, an SAP Partner, and he is a huge advocate for listening to what your customer really wants.

As Thomas likes to say, DataVard is one of the many (many) smaller SAP partners.  They have traditionally been well established in Europe (primarily Germany), but they are now moving to other areas of the globe as well.  They opened operations in the United States and Canada a few years ago and have seen a tremendous amount of growth in a short period of time.  

DataVard, as their name implies, is all about SAP data.  They don’t get too involved with the transactional side of data, but instead, they are mostly involved in moving, archiving, and handling data.  Some of their most prominent examples of projects include mergers and acquisitions that are under the SAP system or assisting companies who are making the move to HANA.  

Their role has become more and more significant in recent years by providing services like ensuring data is still available for audits and the like.  For Datavard, it doesn’t matter where the data lives (if it is in the cloud or not) as long as they have the proper access they need to the data.  

We spoke with Thomas live from #SAPTechEd about his partnership with SAP, working together with joint customers, and keeping customers the center focus.

Partnership with SAP

For DataVard, physical proximity to SAP as a partner is important. It helps to put them within reach to access resources they need to be an effective partner.  

Initially, their relationship as partners was just centered around mergers & acquisitions and moving data. They were exclusively subcontracted by SAP.  But now they have evolved into a development partner for SAP, and the tools they’ve developed are owned by SAP.  

This has helped DataVard develop additional direct relationships with clients so they no longer exclusively work with SAP.  It also has helped them expand to the North American region.  The majority of their clients are in the United States, but some of their biggest clients are in Canada.

Working Together with Joint Customers

DataVard used to do a very small amount of marketing because they worked exclusively with SAP.  Whenever individual clients would come to DataVard for specialized projects, DataVard would be sure to involve SAP and collaborate as partners.  

Although to some outsiders this looked like it could lead to potential conflict, these two partners had established a close, fluid relationship and healthy dialogue.  By keeping the core focus on customers no matter what, it allowed the two companies to co-innovate together and serve the customer better together.

Keeping the Customer at the Center

Thomas is of the opinion that “whatever the customer wants to do we are happy to do” and this has served his team well. Thomas understands that the customer should always be the center and they are the ones that need to be happy.  

Thomas is always trying to facilitate dialogue around what the customer wants.  Listening to his customer’s concerns and pain points is the only way his team will be able to serve customers to the best of their ability.

Thomas has found that his customers appreciate this tremendously. It is rare to be able to bring that amount of transparency to the table.  There are often multiple companies involved in alliance projects so it can become rather complex. But when you take the time to listen to your customer and keep their needs top of mind, it makes all of the difference.  

Whatever the best solution is, it results in a happy customer. For DataVard, that means SAP has a happy customer too.  This helps to maintain the best possible relationship with SAP.  

Having happy partners in addition to happy customers is the end goal of any alliance.  Thomas and his team at DataVard have achieved this result by focusing on customers first in an environment of openness and a shared vision.  

Listen to the podcast here.

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This episode is part of the Alliance Aces Roadshow. Watch the video interview on Facebook.

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