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The influential Luenendonk List singles out Allgeier as the biggest midcap IT systems house in Germany – and one of the top ten of any size in the country.
“We have more than 3,000 customers, over 7,500 employees and an extensive portfolio ranging from flexible personnel services to professional software engineering based on the best-shore principle to our own products, consulting and implementation services for standard software,“ says CEO Joerg Dietmann, outlining the company‘s current focus with evident pride.
As more and more companies map out digitization strategies, the lines between front-end and back-end topics are becoming increasingly blurred – one reason why Allgeier has committed to being a full-service provider that implements end-to-end processes for established SAP customers.
“SAP naturally has a major part to play in this context,“ says Dietmann. “SAP has long been one of the many regular topics relating to digitization on the market. So we set ourselves the goal of being an SAP partner that walks businesses through implementation from start to finish.”
Dietmann continues,”We started by sharply ramping up our SAP activities under the Allgeier Enterprise Services brand in the middle of last year. Our target group includes both Germany‘s ‚mittelstand‘ and the large enterprise customers – in line with the IT systems house policy the Allgeier Group has successfully pursued for years.“
Transformation and Disruption
Allgeier‘s current offerings and solutions can also be understood as aspects of the digital transformation and the accompanying disruption. Do established
SAP customers have the commercial and organizational resources they need to master this challenge? Do they have the necessary technical infrastructure?
“Many of our customers have been using SAP for years, and they are keeping a very close watch on the latest SAP developments in Germany,“ Dietmann told E 3.
From a technical point of view, many companies still have a lot to do if they are to carve out clear competitive advantages relating to the Internet of Things. Nor does that just mean the big data cluster in the background: The issues start with the management of sensors and similar topics. „Many non-industrial companies have so far gathered little experience,“ the CEO explains, outlining the status quo.
“So they need concepts that are well thought through to get their suppliers and partners on board as early as possible.“
Technical infrastructure isn‘t the only thing that‘s important, though. On an organization level too, the Allgeier boss knows all too well that the right course must be charted if the full benefit of these new technologies is to be reaped. Dietmann also emphasizes the need for interdepartmental collaboration and a clear management commitment.
“As a full service provider, we focus our offerings to midsized companies on delivering no-gaps support to the customer, from the moment an SAP license is purchased through implementation to license maintenance and application support.
“We are an SAP lighthouse partner for Cloud, so our innovative topics for midcaps – on-premise S/4 Hana, of course, as well as SAP‘s S/4 Hana Public Cloud solutions – constitute a forward-looking module that rounds off our overall portfolio,“ Dietmann notes, describing Allgeier‘s strategic approach.
“We expect the Public Cloud – complemented by Allgeier solutions on the SAP Cloud platform – to be of central importance to the success of S/4 in the future.“
SAP Cloud Included
In the context of SAP and cloud issues, CEO Dietmann is at pains to stress Allgeier‘s determination to draw on its own experience: The company doesn‘t just blindly repeat what it has heard „from above“. „That‘s why we decided to base our own new SAP units completely on the SAP Cloud environment,“ he says, staking out what he sees as the way forward.
“We began implementing the S/4 Hana Professional Service Cloud, SuccessFactors and Concur together with the Hana Cloud platform last October.“
Dietmann continues: “At the same time, we developed an HCP-based time recording system for our consultants and a ticketing system for our application support and SAP license maintenance. After a three-month implementation phase, we had all these components up and running, which wasn‘t always an easy situation either for SAP or for ourselves. Ultimately, it gives us the chance to genuinely assess how well suited the SAP Cloud environments are to the market, who the ideal target group is and where you have to work on the assumption of restrictions.“
This exercise taught Allgeier one very important lesson: Only a standardized environment made it possible to set up a comprehensive system landscape that largely models the entire business in such a short space of time.
In its large enterprise segment, Allgeier focuses on retail and media, plus the process industry in the form of chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food and beverages.
“Our innovative topics revolve around the Internet of Things. On this subject, we presented an IoT store for the first time at the EuroShop trade fair – all fully integrated in the SAP back-end,“ Dietmann says, reporting on initial successes.
Big data applications, integration with Hadoop and SAP Vora and predictive analytics scenarios open up entirely new customer care possibilities for retail firms in particular.
Internet of Things for All
“The Internet of Things brings our analogue reality closer to the digital world of the Internet,“ says Dietmann, drawing on the experience of numerous projects. „We believe this will lead to radical changes in all industries.“
Allgeier sees itself as a partner in this far-reaching digital transformation process. First, it helps companies formulate a clear vision in this area. It then supports them with concrete implementation of an IoT landscape in the SAP environment.
Thanks to real-time communication between machines, sensors and other electronic devices, virtually all analogue processes can at last also be monitored and controlled directly.
Dietmann already sees the big picture unfolding: „When we talk about sensors, we maybe tend to think mostly of robots and factories. But it is important to see that the Internet of Things is not only gaining a foothold in other industries: It is also opening up completely new business processes and all kinds of possibilities for optimization.“
SAP‘s Cloud platform IoT services go beyond merely processing sensor data. They also integrate a solution with which to manage the sensors and machines – the „things“ – themselves.
Smart data streaming is available as an on-premise variant, especially for smaller landscapes. Here, the primary focus is on the efficient processing of data streams and events.
“On the one hand, we see our job as integrating these two SAP solutions in the digital core,“ Dietmann states, reflecting a wealth of practical experience. „On the other hand, we have already integrated this sensor data in the Hadoop ecosystem and, in addition, in transactional systems in a number of projects.“
“The SAP Cloud platform is of huge strategic importance to Allgeier‘s future cloud offerings,“ the CEO stresses. For Allgeier, this agile layer forms the link between hybrid landscapes, bringing together on-premise systems and S/4 Public Cloud solutions, but also solutions such as Ariba, Concur, Fieldglass, SuccessFactors and Hybris.
“At the same time,“ Dietmann adds, „the SAP Cloud platform is the development platform of the future on which to position Allgeier‘s products and add value to the SAP portfolio. Right now, we are examining the SAP Cloud platform capability of and possible application scenarios for all Allgeier products, such as Scanview and Metasonic. It was only possible to introduce our own S/4 Public Cloud solution in the first place because we developed our own time-recording application which, when linked to our ITSM tool, adds the functionality to the S/4 Public cloud solution that our business requirements demand.“
Allgeier is currently experiencing tremendous demand for S/4 Public Cloud solutions. Everyone wants to know how they interact with the SAP Cloud platform and learn about the design of IoT scenarios.
“It‘s all technically feasible,“ Dietmann insists. “But in some cases, customers are not yet asking the right questions, or they are still reluctant to get out of their comfort zone and move into new areas of business. That takes courage and a willingness to invest.“
And what about competitors and alternative solutions? As a rule, the services of AWS, Azure and Google are IaaS or PaaS solutions. By contrast, the S/4 Public Cloud solutions are SaaS solutions, i.e. they make a full-blown SAP ERP system available based on Hana database technology and subject to a subscription model.
Seen from this angle, the services are not readily comparable. When asked about this market environment, however, Dietmann is unequivocal: “I am convinced that there will be enough business left over for partners, provided they know how to add cloud products to extend their own portfolio. It will undoubtedly be necessary to adapt business models.“
And the last question? How is collaboration with SAP working out? What does Allgeier want to see from SAP? What could be done even better?
Joerg Dietmann: “Our cooperation is extremely positive. SAP welcomed us with open arms as a new, innovative player on the market. Conversely, SAP stands by us as a reliable partner as we introduce our own cloud-based landscape.
The CEO adds, “We engage in fruitful dialogue and, as early as the product development process, seek to provide feedback that offers valuable assistance. We can also contribute the practical experience we gain in our on-premise projects with customers. SAP appreciates that.“