Tips to help you choose your next SAP partner

Diane Harvey
Updated on

Finding the right SAP partner can do wonders for your business. It can reduce risk, enhance functionality and ultimately, increase your bottom line. But with so many different partners out there, how do you choose the right one for your business?

Choosing a SAP partner is an important decision—and it’s not just about picking someone to implement or manage your SAP system. It’s about finding a partner that will be a long-term ally in helping you achieve your goals and achieve them faster than you could on your own.

So how do you choose the right SAP partner for your business? Here are some tips to help you get started:

Develop a shortlist of potential SAP partners

Choosing an SAP partner can be a daunting task. There are so many options and factors to consider that it can be tough to know where to begin. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you’re evaluating vendors.

  • Develop a short list of potential partners to conduct interviews with. Begin this step by leveraging your professional network – as you may already have contacts who can give you valuable insight into your potential partners.
  • Identify the companies that will be evaluated further, focus on narrowing down the list. Ideally, select 3-4 companies to interview and evaluate closely– this way, you’ll have time to see multiple vendors’ software in action, and meet their teams before making your decision.
  • Evaluate each vendor closely against these criteria – considering the balance of value: cost; service quality; technology / platform stability; reliability & scalability; and expertise & support availability (among other factors).

Evaluate their expertise

As you evaluate prospective partners on the expertise, services and support they offer, consider these five best practices for evaluating their SAP software and services experience:

  • Check SAP certifications. Partners who maintain SAP certifications in a specific area of expertise have proven their knowledge and skills in that area.
  • Scrutinize project portfolios. Review the partner’s list of completed projects to determine the range of its capabilities and how much relevant experience they have in your industry or with your business processes.
  • Check references carefully. Ask for references from clients that can provide perspective on the partner’s track record, as well as insight into long-term satisfaction with services provided after implementation is complete (some companies’ policies forbid providing negative feedback).
  • Learn about their history – including longevity among both customers and staff – which could be an indicator about whether the company has a reputation for delivering quality work across industries or if it specializes in one type of customer only.
  • Ensure they maintain an appropriate staff ratio to help ensure timely delivery of high – quality services throughout every stage of your SAP software implementation process, from planning through go-live support and optimization.

Pricing should take the big picture into account

It’s easy to get caught up in the details, but when it comes to choosing a SAP partner based on pricing, it’s important to consider the big picture.

If a partner says they have the best pricing, but their fine print involves hidden fees or a complex pricing structure that you don’t understand, their pricing will likely be more expensive in the long run than it appeared at first glance.

When choosing a partner to help you succeed in the cloud, it’s important to consider pricing.

Pricing should be based on consumption. It should be transparent and easy to understand, with no hidden fees or surprises.

You want a partner that provides options—pricing that adapts to your needs and grows with your business, not the other way around.

Evaluate their service level

When evaluating your next SAP partner, you should also consider the following:

  • Define what you mean by service levels. Document your service levels in detail and expect to review them regularly as your organisation changes. This is particularly important if you have multiple lines of business or geographical locations with different needs.
  • Consider whether the service levels match your business needs. Some of the most common factors that need to be considered include account management, transition planning, change management processes and capabilities, incident response, problem resolution and reporting on KPIs.
  • Take into account the contractual implications of not meeting your service levels. Work closely with legal teams to define how penalties will be applied for non-performance against key SLAs relating to incidents and request fulfilment times that are not met within agreed timeframes. Specify these details clearly in any contract agreements between the two parties prior to any work commencing.
  • Consider what happens if your service levels are not met? You should specify this clearly in any agreement between you and your partner – i.e., whether there is a fine or penalty clause related to performance against SLAs or incentives for exceeding targets as part of a managed services arrangement?
  • Consider how the service levels are communicated to all stakeholders? Who is responsible for communicating this information internally? What is their reporting process? How will they communicate regular updates regarding performance against SLAs

Review their relationship with SAP

You should review your potential partner’s relationship with SAP. It is important to select a SAP partner that has been certified by SAP and holds the appropriate partnership level within SAP’s PartnerEdge program.

Being a part of these programs allows a partner to be better engaged with the latest releases of software and allows the partner access to training and resources necessary in order to provide the best service possible.

The right partner will also have experience working collaboratively on projects.

In addition, they will also have demonstrated success as an SAP partner and solution provider through awards earned at events like Sapphire, ASUG Annual Conference, and other industry conferences.

Look for proactive, future-oriented SAP partner

You’ll want to look for a partner that’ll be proactive as well. When you ask your potential digital partners about their business, make sure you ask them how they stay informed about emerging digital trends, technologies and best practices.

Ask them what they are excited about in the technology world today and why?

What have they been working on recently that can help your business?

Ask them what problems and issues do they see businesses facing in the coming years, and how should your company prepare for those issues?

If you come across a partner who doesn’t have an answer to these questions, then perhaps you should keep looking.

Insist on industry Knowledge and experience

Your industry is special. It has its own challenges, and its own opportunities for innovation. Your business is unique, with a particular set of needs and requirements.

If you’re going to invest in SAP, you want a SAP partner that can fully understand your industry and the challenges it faces.

By bringing industry knowledge to your partnership, a consultant can help you prioritize requirements, build more realistic timelines and budgets, better support end users, and more.

But what exactly does “industry expertise” mean? And how do you know if a potential partner has it?

Industry Knowledge: Has your potential partner worked with companies like yours before—and not just companies in your industry but companies of similar size, structure, and business model?

Experience: Has your potential partner built solutions for other companies that solved actual problems they were facing? By bringing already-built solutions to the table, they can help you save money and stay on schedule.

An experienced SAP partner can help your business understand its current IT landscape, set goals and determine best practices that will drive your transformation forward

As cloud computing continues to grow, more and more companies are moving from on-premise SAP solutions to the cloud.

This transition is more than just using a different server for your processes. To succeed in the future, CIOs must determine how a move to the cloud aligns with their businesses’ digital strategies and where they should make long-term investments.

An experienced SAP partner can help your business understand its current IT landscape, set goals and determine best practices that will drive your transformation forward.

Signum Solutions is a Gold SAP partner specialising in SAP Business one, If you are ready to transform your business and your SAP Business One solution, contact our team today.

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