Since it was first unveiled in 2017, the SAP App Center has been connecting customers with more than 1,600 applications, extensions, and third-party services to enhance their SAP systems. A perfect example of this is the Queen of Raw app, which became part of the SAP App Center in August 2020. Queen of Raw rescues discarded or unused textiles and incorporates them back into the supply chain where they’re needed. The company’s app integrates with SAP S/4HANA and helps users automate the tracking process of unused textiles. SAP customers who have the app can easily move any leftover materials from their operations to the Queen of Raw marketplace, where they are marketed to and sold to the company’s community. And those SAP customers in the apparel and fashion industry who are looking to purchase materials can source them from that same marketplace.
The SAP App Center is a vital resource where customers can find third-party solutions like the Queen of Raw app. And SAP partners selling applications and services to SAP customers also can leverage the SAP App Center to reach more users.
Over the past few months, SAP has announced some substantial changes to the SAP App Center designed to improve both the customer and partner experiences. “With everything that is going on right now, we know a digital marketplace is really important to our customers,” said Anne Yi, general manager of the SAP App Center.
Giving SAP Partners a Path to Go-to-Market
One of the biggest announcements to come out of the 2020 SAP Global Partner Summit was the introduction of the SAP Partner Solution Progression framework. Moving forward, the software company will give third-party partners a framework and progression to verify the applications they have developed to integrate with SAP solutions.
“When you look at the creation of software, it is a life cycle,” said Tom Roberts, senior vice president of the global partner organization at SAP. “We designed this progression because we want SAP partners to continue to better and invest in their intellectual property by creating solutions that help customers.”
This progression begins at the Validated level, where applications are showcased on the SAP App Center. After that, partners can move to the Spotlight level, where their applications receive additional go-to-market support from SAP. The third level of this criteria is the SAP Endorsed App level, an invitation-only program first announced at the 2020 SAP Global Partner Summit.
SAP chooses the best of the best on the App Center, focusing on solutions that are bringing continued success to customers. Endorsed Apps must go through a series of tests and premium certifications, far beyond SAP’s standard application certification. These solutions have their code analyzed by the SAP Integration and Certification Center. Finally, partner solutions that reach the pinnacle of the progression are invited to be an SAP Solution Extension. These applications join the ranks of only a few partner apps that are sold and supported by SAP.
2020 Refresh of the SAP App Center
In addition to these new developments, the SAP App Center recently got a revamp, complete with new updates and enhancements to the site. Yi emphasized that SAP made these changes to improve both the customer and partner experience on the SAP App Center, and to help customers find the perfect partner solution. One of the biggest innovations to the SAP App Center is the improved search function.
“One of the key things about a digital marketplace is search,” Yi said. “We listened to our customers and partners, and worked diligently to improve our search capabilities.”
Users can now search by the different SAP technologies their applications will integrate with, an application’s validation status with SAP, and the certifications an application possesses.
A lot of work also went into the product pages. Yi said that the pages now contain more information, images, and videos. Each page clearly spells out what SAP solutions the application can integrate with and the various features and components included in each app. According to Yi, these page features help customers choose an application without having to interact with a salesperson, speeding up the sales timeline.“Customers just want to be able to discover and do the research on their own,” she said. “A lot of customers want to do research online without any human interaction.”
On the partner side of things, the SAP App Center now features a partner cockpit. This homepage for partners gives them vital information about the solutions they have on the SAP App Center. It has a dashboard showing metrics such as page visits and search terms. They can now see potential sales opportunities and customer information, which allows them to convert these opportunities into actual deals.
The SAP App Center: Powered by SAP Technology
During this overhaul, SAP decided to rebuild the SAP App Center on its own technology. Currently, the center runs on SAP Cloud Platform on the SAP Commerce Cloud and features the SAP Spartacus user interface. The partner cockpit is built on the SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory, also known as Kyma runtime.“When you come to the SAP App Center, you know it’s running on SAP,” Yi said.
SAP also migrated the SAP App Center to SAP Hybris, which is the same solution the company uses to manage the SAP Store. Though there are few opportunities for SAP customers to make direct purchases on the SAP App Center at the moment, it’s clear this move is to prepare for a day when these types of e-commerce transactions will become the norm.
“Ultimately, you’ll be able to do one search and look across all SAP solutions and partner solutions,” Roberts said. While this search functionality isn’t available yet, Roberts described this transition as the “first step” toward making that connected search a reality.
A Green Bonus for SAP App Center Customers
As SAP brings changes to the SAP App Center and integrates it with the SAP Store, the company is using the two platforms to drive its commitment to fight climate change. In an effort to plant 5 million trees by 2025, the software company will begin planting one tree for any purchase made on the SAP Store and the SAP App Center.
"Customers will benefit from a streamlined order-to-provisioning experience while we’ll also plant a tree on their behalf," SAP CEO Christian Klein said in a recent press release. "This underlines our commitment to tackle environmental challenges with nature-based solutions.”
Read our coverage of all the changes SAP is committing to related to partner and customer support at the 2020 SAP Partner Summit.