According to Nick Edwards, CEO and Founder of Boomtrain, a marketing platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI), “The world of business software is noisy. It’s hard for buyers to figure out which software will actually deliver the competitive advantage they seek.”
Noisy is an understatement — industry data firm ISVWorld lists over 120,000 companies in its database of software vendors — but the daunting nature of navigating a software purchase isn’t news to anyone. Almost every business leader has in some way experienced the overwhelming process of buying software, from the seemingly infinite number of options to the endless sales calls and the ongoing challenge of integration with existing software. Purchasing software, in short, is hard.
However, it’s not just buyers that are challenged by this process — it’s just as hard for software vendors. In a sea of options, how do you get your innovations to stand out? And in an environment where every degree of efficiency can make a tangible difference, how do you most effectively target the right potential buyers?
With SAP Store, SAP Digital Commerce addresses these challenges for those on both sides of the equation.
Curating Best-in-Class Solutions
Powered by SAP’s digital commerce platform, SAP Store (www.sapstore.com) enables customers in 230 countries and territories to try, buy, and use SAP and third-party solutions easily and with minimal human interaction (see Figure 1). It includes familiar SAP product names — such as SAP Cloud Platform; SAP HANA, express edition; SAP BusinessObjects Cloud; SAP Crystal Reports; and many others — along with a large number of third-party offerings.
“SAPstore.com offers a carefully curated library of best-in-class business software,” says Boomtrain’s Edwards, whose sales and marketing offerings are available from SAP Store. The team at SAP Digital Commerce deliberately evaluates and selects the best available products to include in the marketplace so that organizations have a wide range of highly qualified solutions to choose from to help address their particular pressing business needs. Boomtrain Marketing Engine, for example, is one of the newer best-in-breed offerings recently added to SAP Store (see Figure 2).
Digitally Native Software
For inclusion in SAP Store, it is not enough for an offering to simply deliver value, however — an offering must be “digitally native” as well, which means it has attributes such as transparent subscription-based pricing, short deployment times, and ease-of-use that enables users to reach full productivity without in-person training or implementation consultants. “Digitally native products have been the norm for a number of years for consumer or small business applications,” says Paul Dandurand, CEO of PieMatrix, whose visual project management software is available from SAP Store (see Figure 3). “SAP Store is leading the way to bring this kind of experience to buyers at the enterprise level.”
It’s important to note that while an SAP technology foundation is encouraged for the third-party offerings included in SAP Store, not all are developed using SAP technology. Two of the guiding principles for inclusion are quality and suitability for meeting customers’ business needs. “We’re not building a walled garden,” says Gaurav Jaiswal, Vice President and Head of Digital Portfolio at SAP Digital Commerce. “This is about connecting our end customers with the best digital innovations from SAP partners.”
Enabling Access to Innovation
One of the goals of SAP Store is to enable access to the technology innovations customers need to realize their business-critical goals. Consider the area of marketing — while marketing automation and personalization present an enormous opportunity for organizations seeking a competitive edge in the new digital economy, these goals can remain out of reach, bogged down in the manual labor required to configure systems for the countless product, audience, and messaging permutations any one marketer may encounter.
This is where Boomtrain comes in: Edwards and the other Boomtrain co-founders observed the potential of AI to fundamentally remake industries, and saw an opportunity to use AI with automation to predict and deliver an optimal marketing experience through any channel and make organizations’ innovative marketing goals a reality.
By offering Boomtrain software, SAP Store serves its customers who want to extend their marketing technology stack with the latest innovations. In turn, through its inclusion in SAP Store, Boomtrain software gains access to a valuable customer base. “We also recognized the benefits of the SAP pedigree,” says Edwards. “It lends credibility to our offering as well as increasing our reach and access to a larger customer subset.”
Commerce-as-a-Service for Partners
SAP Digital Commerce offers to partners what it calls “commerce-as-a-service” — a value proposition that goes well beyond the technical aspects of enabling digital sales. “SAP partners are amazing innovators, but some do not have the necessary experience in marketing or sales support,” says Jaiswal. “That’s where we come in. We help partners bring digital offerings to market.” This assistance includes best practices and one-on-one coaching on topics such as search engine optimization (SEO), identifying and leveraging paid media, blogging, and in-person events.
To include a product in SAP Store and benefit from the provided marketing and sales support, partners can enroll in any of the various SAP partner programs — for example, SAP PartnerEdge and startup.focus provide the tools, resources, and benefits to help partners build, sell, service, or run SAP solutions. Once they select the partner program that fits their business objectives and expertise, partners can submit their offering to the SAP Store team for product assessment. After the product has been evaluated and identified as a candidate for inclusion, the SAP Store team guides the partner through the steps required to sell the offering through SAP Store.
Once an offering is included in SAP Store, the business model is based on revenue sharing, similar to many other app marketplaces. To make transactions simple, SAP Store partners accept payment through PayPal or credit cards, and the transaction takes place directly between the partner and the end customer — SAP doesn’t get in the middle. A successful purchase is the ultimate objective, and the aim is to create a framework that is optimized for achieving this outcome.
Value for Both Customers and Partners
The goal of SAP Digital Commerce is to identify the best products for end customers and include them in SAP Store. Every new offering is evaluated against the digitally native, best-in-class criteria to ensure the best mutual fit for SAP Digital Commerce, the partner, and the customer.
For end customers, the benefit is clear: they can access a highly curated set of offerings that deliver immediate business value and can be deployed quickly without long sales cycles. “The business buying market is trending toward self-research, as opposed to having salespeople pounding on doors,” says Dandurand. “Buyers do the research on their own until they’re ready to buy. SAP Store offers the information that buyers need to come to an informed decision, without having to deal with a prolonged sales process.”
For partners, the benefits of working with SAP Store go beyond the association with the SAP brand. “The innovative thinking and start-up-esque responsiveness of SAP Digital Commerce makes them a top-tier partner,” says Edwards. “This really is a partnership focused on mutual success.”
To learn more about SAP Store, including how to get your product considered for inclusion, contact Bill Rojas at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.SAPStore.com.