T-Systems maintains an extensive partner network from which business customers of all sizes benefit. The company has had certified partnerships with SAP and Microsoft for over two decades. Setnam Sandhu, Commercial Lead SAP at T-Systems, explains why they are so important today.
All major ITC companies maintain numerous partnerships. Is it just the partners who benefit – or does the customer also benefit?
Setnam Sandhu: For business customers, partnerships are more important than ever, as digitalization is fundamentally changing the existing value chains and, with that, also ITC projects. In the past, the degree of complexity of ITC solutions was much lower. Anyone implementing SAP worked with a regional midmarket SAP system house or a larger IT service provider like T-Systems. The primary requirement was proof of SAP software competence. As a rule, SAP was installed and operated on-premises or in an external data center – that was it in most projects. For all other IT solutions or for WAN and LAN, the companies worked together with other IT and telecommunications providers.
What is different today?
Setnam Sandhu: The fact that companies are choosing SAP on Azure shows what has changed. In addition to SAP, the ITC service provider must also have expertise in Azure. Otherwise, the customer would need two service providers at this point: one for the SAP and one for the Microsoft part. However, if a service provider has teams of experts certified by SAP and Microsoft, then customers have to do far less to coordinate and harmonize these two worlds.
However, digitalization is turning everything on its head. There are now even more players involved. So, what is the point of partnerships with individual companies?
Setnam Sandhu: Those with the right, future-orientated approach to digitalization think less in terms of individual solutions such as SAP, Microsoft, Salesforce or Oracle. All business-critical applications are becoming increasingly interdependent. Those who want to network their machines or evaluate data from marketing and sales using AI solutions need more than SAP and Azure. For example, IoT is about networks like 5G. In order to bring these components together in line with market requirements and in a timely manner, companies have to coordinate a large number of providers with different levels of service. This is a time-consuming task for which they need a wide range of skills that are increasingly difficult to obtain in-house.
And T-Systems can cover these different areas via partners?
Setnam Sandhu: Our business customer/partner ecosystem has around 5,500 partners. This allows us to cover the required diversity – a unique selling point in the market. We are also taking the network issue, which has gained a completely new and important significance through cloud computing, into our own hands. If you don't have a modern, powerful and future-oriented corporate network, you won't really get the cloud up and running. Especially when it comes to real-time data exchange or business-critical applications – which certainly includes SAP.
Which partner programs do you mean specifically?
Setnam Sandhu: From the perspective of SME business customers, our partnerships with regional IT service providers offer important added value. For the SME companies, they are trusted partners because they have the expertise right on the ground. However, business is gradually changing for these regional IT service providers as well. Their customers are increasingly moving to the cloud. The regional data center, where the IT of business customers is still often operated, is becoming less important. As a result, SME service providers are increasingly looking for partners like T-Systems to expand their service portfolio and gain reach. This creates a win-win-win effect: The regional IT service providers can offer their customers more services, we can bring our network and cloud expertise to the SME sector and customers get end-to-end solutions from a single source.
Back to T-Systems' partnerships with SAP and Microsoft. T-Systems is one partner among many here.
Setnam Sandhu: The partnerships go far beyond the classic sales partnership. For SAP, we are one of their strategic partners in Global Services, SAP Outsourcing and Cloud. We often find out what's going to change at SAP earlier than other market players. And as one of Microsoft’s few strategic partners, we offer public cloud services in several fields: SAP applications, managed services based on Azure and Microsoft 365 as well as AI and IoT solutions. T-Systems is a Microsoft-certified Gold Partner and offers multi- and hybrid cloud solutions in the respective areas. So, if you choose "SAP on Azure," you are in good hands with us and our partners.