SAP has been talking about the intelligent enterprise for a while now. And while most organizations are still searching for a way to get there, SAP is looking for ways to help.

The intelligent enterprise consists of three main components, which include the intelligent suite, the digital platform, and intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligences, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and analytics. To build an intelligent enterprise, SAP customers will likely need to work with the SAP ecosystem of partners, particularly the Independent Software Vendors (ISV). ISV partners can help create new digital applications, modernize existing applications, expand products-to-services, connect people and data across digital touch points, and extend and integrate SAP applications and data.

ASUG News sat down with Camilla Dahlen, ISV program head at SAP, to discuss how the more than 5,000 ISV partners and 1,500 partner apps can help SAP customers better anticipate and respond to customer needs, automate processes, and invent new business models and revenue streams.

Sharon: In what ways is the ISV program beneficial to SAP customers? How can it help them with their digital transformations?

Camilla: The ISV program helps SAP customers in two different ways. We know that many customers, in all types of industries, are transforming the way they go to market as well as their business models. Some of that relates to making their solutions available in the cloud, or just creating new solutions all together. Intellectual property (IP) is a critical part of that. It’s a differentiator for companies moving forward. The ISV program makes it easier for customers to capture that IP opportunity and to monetize it.

The second way is that SAP is making its ISV partner solutions available to its customer base, which allows them to quickly gain access to innovations that are transformative. It allows them to go to market and leverage innovation faster than they would if they were doing it on their own.

Sharon: What are some of the best innovations you are seeing in the ISV community today?

Camilla: SAP’s vision is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. So, it’s very exciting to work with the partners we have, and together help fulfill SAP’s vision.

One industry where there’s a lot of exciting innovation is health care. It is truly both innovative as well as impactful on people’s lives. SAP has quite a few partners in this space and one that I’m very excited about is Deloitte. They have developed an application called ConvergeHEALTH Safety that helps address the shift that’s going on in the life sciences industry to focus more on outcomes. The platform provides access to safety-related data and delivers insights across the entire pharmacovigilance process, which ultimately makes developments in medicine and care much better. The safety results are analyzed and used to improve care for patients.

We’re also working with partners in the enterprise space, which would be of value to SAP customers. Deloitte, again, is developing a series of solutions on its Reimagine Platform. The solutions are all delivered as a service and provide real-time insights on areas such as invoice variances, monitoring, historical analysis, the supply chain, and other functions that add value to an SAP customer. We’re also co-innovating with Ernst & Young (EY), where they’re creating extended portfolio capabilities for some of our solutions.

Sharon: From what I understand, much of the ISV offerings are industry-specific solutions—how can customers in a particular industry best explore what’s out there?

Camilla: Although we have industry-specific solutions, a lot of our ISV applications are horizontal, and they’re based on a particular buying center or user within the SAP customer organization.

The best place to just get an overview of what we have for an SAP customer is the SAP App Center. SAP continues to invest even more into its App Center so that it becomes more and more user friendly.

Sharon: There was a big push a couple years ago for ISVs to develop for SAP Cloud Platform. Is that still the case? What do customers need to know about that?

Camilla: SAP Cloud Platform (SCP) continues to be the core of SAP’s technology strategy and the technology of choice for any company that’s looking to build an SAP-centric use case. SCP in particular makes it very easy to integrate into other SAP applications and provide seamless integration between different products.

We’ve seen a broad uptake by our partners over the last few years in extending a lot of SAP capabilities. I gave you a few examples earlier with EY and Deloitte, and they’re doing this natively in SAP. So, that’s absolutely still part of our strategy.

Ultimately, it means our customers have access to an increased portfolio of pre-integrated solutions.

Sharon: How is SAP helping to simplify the SAP partner landscape for customers so they can find the right solution with the right support?

Camilla: SAP recognizes there are a lot of different programs and we’re working to simplify where we can. From an ISV solution perspective, I’m going to go back to the SAP App Center as the starting off point for all our customers. It’s the one place to find all applications that add value to an SAP landscape in whatever industry that customer happens to be in.

Sharon: Integration is top of mind for ASUG members—it’s still a big challenge for many of them. How does SAP approach this topic with ISVs?

Camilla: Integration is a key topic for SAP customers, for SAP and our partners as well. One way we’re addressing this is by working with our ISV partners as well as our own development teams to share the same requirements in terms of tools and processes. ISV partners play a special role in this area because they can also provide strong capabilities within integration that can help address some of the problems customers are facing.

Additionally, the pre-integrated solutions that ISV partners provide help reduce the overall integration TCO for our customers that are looking to expand some features using ISV development.

Integration is something that SAP is going to continue to work on and focus on to deliver an integrated intelligence suite. Our partners and our IP partners will compliment that, but that’s still SAP’s ownership.

Sharon: What is SAP doing around certifications with ISVs? Who can our members trust to get these jobs done?

Camilla: SAP has a certification program in place. It’s where ISV partners and SAP jointly test integrations before a solution is deployed in a customer environment.

Now that SAP is launching more and more partnerships and applications, the topic of certification has become even more important. SAP wants to make sure that customers can trust the product and service they’re receiving.

Sharon: What is the message SAP would like its customers to hear from the ISV side?

Camilla: There are two things. First, SAP can help you monetize your IP. This might be features that had been developed around the SAP landscape that could be of value and benefit to other customers. Or, it could be IP that has absolutely nothing to do with an SAP landscape, but it’s something that you as the customer have developed and want to take to market with the help of SAP.

The other thing is that SAP wants to make sure that you know about all the innovations that exist on the SAP App Center as well as the ones that are planned. Familiarize yourselves with what it looks like and what’s available and be on the lookout for exciting new announcements around applications in 2020.

Register for ASUG on-demand webcast, “Smart DevOps for SAP Applications.”