SAP and Accenture Launch Joint Business Solutions Group

Extending a 30-year partnership, business software vendor SAP and management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company Accenture have launched a business solutions group to cut down on the time it takes develop and release joint solutions.

The business group serves as an extension of the Accenture Innovation Centers for SAP Solutions, a group of centers that bring clients of both companies together to help them implement SAP's latest technologies.

The Accenture and SAP Business Solutions Group will help bring Accenture's consulting services together with the solutions available on the SAP HANA cloud platform to allow customers to deploy the solutions and "experience their value faster," Mark Willford, managing director of the SAP alliance at Accenture, says. While the companies plan to work with businesses across many industry sectors, the first push will focus on the retail and consumer goods, automotive, energy, and utility markets.

The group, which will be based in San Jose, Calif., and spearheaded by Willford, will not only help with deployments and implementations  but also alter the way companies purchase solutions from Accenture and SAP. "The way the group is structured will simplify the way the solutions are going to be bought. Our goal is to ultimately offer new solutions jointly and make them available as a single-contract business services model as well as on an as-a-service basis," Willford explains.

"This first-of-a-kind business model provides a consistent and repeatable framework for Accenture and SAP to jointly co-design solutions with our customers, bringing market-differentiating solutions to life faster and with more ease. By co-innovating, SAP and Accenture have the opportunity to share in the shape of each others' roadmaps, investing as a catalyst to drive innovation in specific market segments," Martin Mrugal, global head of business development of industry business solutions at SAP, adds. 

The arrangement, according to Willford, is a logical step to follow the work Accenture and SAP have been doing together through the Accenture Innovation Centers for SAP Solutions. "We've been bringing our clients together for a long time now, working to streamline implementation and share our immense knowledge base with SAP customers, so this feels like a natural culmination of that effort," he says.

The news comes at a critical time, as system integrators, including Accenture, face growing pressure from disruptive forces such as the cloud, which is easy to deploy and involves little customization, according to Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research. The growth of the cloud is an obstacle, he explains, because it can render a portion of what system integrators do obsolete and actually hurt solution vendors as well, since they often rely on system integrators to tout their solutions. "As the technology accelerates, system integrators have to change the way they conduct business to ensure that they're still bringing value to the companies that use their services," Mueller says.

An effort to embrace the challenge and leverage the opportunities it may provide, the Accenture and SAP Business Solutions Group will couple business solutions with integration services, making it a win-win for both companies, according to Mueller. "SAP is happy because they've got a major firm like Accenture backing their offerings, and Accenture is happy because their services are being used by SAP clients," he says. "It benefits both players."

In a separate announcement today, SAP also released the latest version of SAP Business One for SAP HANA. SAP Business One is the first business management solution for small and midsized businesses running on the in-memory computing platform SAP HANA and plays an important role in SAP's overall small enterprise strategy. "This is a unique solution for smaller companies, and if SAP can show success here, then they can prove that in-memory can make a major difference for SMBs," Mueller says. 

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