For partners helping the biggest global businesses to unlock their full potential with SAP, staying ahead of the competition and demonstrating business impact has never been more important.
In the first of our Partner Q&As, we speak with Martyn Jones, Head of SAP Consulting at T-Systems Northern Europe, about the challenges his customers face and how they are tackling them head on in collaboration with Basis Technologies.
Tell us a bit about your role and your company
I’m Martyn Jones, the Head of SAP Consulting for T Systems Northern Europe. My role involves overseeing all SAP-related activities for new and existing customers, with a key focus on transitioning them to the cloud, whether it’s public or private and their S4 journey. Our goal over the next few years is to drive strategic alignment with all our customers, ensuring they are ready for the transition to S/4 by 2030. We want to make sure they are cloud-fit and S/4-fit, proactively guiding them through the necessary steps to prepare for a successful migration.
Can you tell me more about the partnership with Basis Technologies and how long you’ve been working together?
We’ve been working with Basis for about four years now. When I joined T-Systems six years ago, I brought in partners I had worked with previously. I had already worked with Basis for about eight or nine years before that. We initially started with a mini partnership agreement, where a select few customers purchased ActiveControl. We then expanded the partnership with a global agreement to further enhance our collaboration. T-Systems in other regions are now also recognising the benefits we have achieved in the UK, Ireland, and Nordics with partners and following suit. We are striving to provide a best-in-class offering and become a one-stop shop for all our customers’ needs.
What are the main challenges T Systems is facing, especially regarding the migration ahead of the 2030 deadline?
The main challenge we encounter is customers avoiding the reality of the situation. While SAP has already moved the deadline for migration to S/4 once, we don’t anticipate another extension. Furthermore, database manufacturers have set their end-of-life dates for 2027. This means customers will have to migrate to ASE or HANA by 2027 to continue receiving support until 2030. Many customers believe they can wait until 2025 or 2026 before starting, but our experience shows that the migration process takes much longer with the amount of “clean-up” customers need to do. We are currently working with a customer whose system scans have revealed numerous areas to concentrate on and data clean-up requirements that they need to carry out in advance. We advocate for a Bluefield approach in most situations as it allows customers to get the benefits of both green and brown field but with the ability to test and run their S/4 system alongside their existing ECC system until they are ready to go live. Our three-tier strategy encompasses ECC end-of-life, S4 new business life, and Future Cloud platforms with both Public and Private, with the aim of demonstrating the benefits to customers and encouraging them to start planning earlier.
What would be the impact if businesses fail to start their migration journey in time?
The main issue is the lack of support. If customers don’t migrate in time, their systems will be out of support, and SAP’s assistance may be limited. Some customers might have to pay an additional fee for extended support, but that only applies to certain databases and releases. Our concern is that there won’t be enough resources in the industry to move everyone if they leave it and businesses will face critical incidents without proper support, potentially impacting their operations.
How did you find the onboarding process when establishing the partnership with Basis Technologies?
The onboarding process was smooth and straightforward. Around four to five years ago, we reached out to Basis Technologies as T-Systems UK with a mutual interest in collaborating. We had customers in need of a solution to manage their development and transport tracks effectively which led us to engage with Basis. We wanted to explore advanced products that are certified by SAP and offer additional functionality and DevOps capabilities than the standard SAP offerings. Basis Technologies delivered presentations to our customers, showcasing their solutions to fit the requirements and it has grown from there.
What type of partnership agreement do you have with Basis?
It’s a global partnership. We started with a sales partnership in the UK and Ireland, but we’re moving towards a global services agreement with T-Systems in UKI, Nordics and Germany as well as other regions. Our goal is to have a unified approach across all regions and provide the best solutions for our customers.
Which of the Basis product suite are you primarily using?
We are primarily using Basis’ ActiveControl solution. We’re also excited by the launch of ActiveDiscover and the potential this has, to significantly benefit our customers. We’re also exploring opportunities to combine multiple partners for a complete end to end service offering.
Have you measured the success of these partnerships against any key metrics?
We haven’t measured the success directly through metrics since the products are primarily used by the business functional areas and developers and not used from a T-Systems perspective. However, we have received positive feedback from customers who have seen significant improvements in efficiency and risk reduction. For example, one customer was able to automate a manual process that took 5-6 hours that had to be checked and double checked to a one step push of a button using ActiveControl. The success criteria are based on customer satisfaction and the ability to de-risk their operations and increase efficiency.
What has been the key to the success of the partnership?
The key to success has been the openness and honesty of the partners. By working closely together, we can deliver the best solutions and ensure customer satisfaction. We focus on de-risking processes and providing more control to the customers, which has been highly appreciated. The partners’ willingness to collaborate and the alignment of goals have been crucial in achieving successful partnerships.
Did the partnership with Basis meet your expectations?
Yes, the partnership has met and exceeded our expectations. We have had a longstanding relationship with Basis, and we knew that working together would result in successful collaborations. We are aligned in our goal to deliver value to customers and build long-term relationships. Our focus is on working together, not just signing a contract and being left on our own. We strive to deliver and achieve success together.
In one sentence, how would you describe your partnership with Basis?
It’s a proactive partnership where we work closely together, delivering solutions and achieving success as a unified team.