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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 59

May 15, 2019

#59 Marc Geall 15 Minutes With the SVP of Tech Ecosystems at SAP

Your success isn�t just predicated on your ability to sell or commercialize your offerings. Your success is dependent on the success of your partner, ...

Your success isn’t just predicated on your ability to sell or commercialize your offerings. Your success is dependent on the success of your partner, especially in any industry with tech at its core (read: every industry).

We caught up with Marc Geall at SAP InnovationX in London. He's SVP of Global Platform & Technology Ecosystems at SAP. He came on the Alliance Aces podcast and told us this: There’s no success without partner success.

Marc, what is your team up to at SAP?

Marc Geall: As you probably know we are split into 3 product lines.

  1. The S4 products, our core ERP offering
  2. Our cloud LOB platform
  3. Our platform and technologies business

My team is working with partners to scale the adoption of our technologies S4, SAP HANA, our cloud platform, and our analytics solutions, which we are bringing together on a single platform. The second thing we are doing is identifying ISVs — partners who want to build new innovation, new IP, on the platform and support our overall application portfolio. Third, we’re looking for innovative partners that will help us differentiate, so bringing services capabilities onto the platform that make it richer and provide more value to our customers

Customers often demand rapid product development, which often requires working with partners. How is that affecting SAP?

Marc Geall: You're only as strong as your ecosystem. We're fortunate that we have 15,000+ partners. That's a huge amount of domain expertise and industry expertise that can be found in that ecosystem, and we're now working with them to deploy that energy in the most effective ways, to try a new business model and to take advantage of our technology platform, and ultimately deliver more value fry customers. Yes — it needs to be agile — business is changing so quickly that we have to be able to stay in lockstep with that.

Can you give us an example of an innovative SAP partnership?

Marc Geall: Earlier, we had a great session with McLaren and Deloitte, talking a little bit how they're innovating on the platform, but disrupting their businesses internally. They're taking experiences that McLaren has from Formula 1 and then applying that to the aviation industry or starting to apply it to discrete manufacturing to run simulations on your product lines to improve the efficiency of your products. So there they needed to partner with somebody that could deliver scale in Deloitte but also could deliver the technology to underpin that vision, which is why they’re working with us. So we have this nice 3-way relationship, bringing specific domain expertise with scale-out capabilities, with technology to bring a new solution to market for our customers.

Can you explain SAP’s overall strategy with its tech partners?

Marc Geall: This is about helping our partners build new business models and continue to be relevant and differentiate themselves. We can only be successful if they are growing and identifying those new revenue streams. And, when I think ecosystem, I'm thinking of customers as well. Our customers are now starting to think, “I've got some business information or experience. How do I commercialize it? How do I productize it?” I mean, supposedly every company is becoming a software business, so they need to work with vendors like SAP and our broader ecosystem to bring that vision to life.

It provides a new set of challenges. It's a vast learning opportunity. Suddenly becoming a software company is not easy, otherwise, everyone would be doing it. But, if you get it right, it provides new, very profitable revenue streams to the business.  

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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