Categories: Founder's Blog


Sam Bayer


For companies that don’t know where else to turn…

This post was originally published in August of 2015.  At the threatening request of members of the SAP Partner program, and in support of my partnering conversations  with the SAP hybris team,  I removed this post a few months ago.   Because I refuse to be bullied by SAP and because I have a strong desire to help those SAP hybris refugees whose numbers are only increasing, I am reposting this blog post today.


That’s right, refugees.

100% of all the companies that we talk to everyday have heard the SAP hybris B2B eCommerce pitch and said “it’s not for us and can Corevist please help?  We’re desperate and don’t know where else to turn!”

Don’t they sound like refugees to you?

As an example, we are currently talking with a General Manager of a Manufacturer in LATAM.  He is a new SAP ECC client, going live in several weeks, and he is so desperate to work with us that he won’t let us hang up the phone on him.  Even though we tell him we don’t have distribution in LATAM (yet), and even though we tell him we don’t have LATAM pricing which means we’re too expensive for him considering his local currency, he won’t quit.  He’s bending over backwards to try and work with us because paying SAP hybris 3X what he paid for his whole SAP implementation simply doesn’t make any sense and he knows that he needs to offer his customers a web channel.

How can Corevist turn him away??

These SAP hybris refugees are breaking my heart!

How did the situation get to be so bad and what is the SAP ecosystem doing about it?

To answer those questions I’m going to lean on a great book that I just finished called SAP Nation (a runaway software economy) by Vinnie Mirchandani.

Vinnie makes (at least) two major points in his book; 1) the SAP economy is staggeringly huge and out of control, and 2) SAP clients are responding in ways which range from fleeing the SAP mothership on one end of the spectrum to continuing to drink the kool-aid on the other end.

The SAP economy – Vinnie estimates the SAP economy to be over $200B a year which would put it in the top 50 nations in the world right alongside Ireland and Portugal.  Only 10% of that revenue goes to SAP and the remainder to it’s ecosystem.  Estimates are that there are over 1.7 million people in the SAP ecosystem who have to draw salaries and take care of their families.  Keeping an ecosystem this big fed doesn’t lend itself to finding ways to do things faster better and cheaper… as long as clients are willing to pay.  Which leads us to the market’s response to these huge, complicated, and expensive (and I’m sure Vinnie would be quick to point out…risky) implementations.

Client strategies to optimize their SAP spend – Vinnie groups the market’s response to rising SAP expenses into four categories.  He supports each model with detailed interviews and case studies.  In summary, these strategies are:

  1. Un-adopters – These are companies that are freezing their investments in SAP and finding cheaper ways to underwrite SAP technical support (Rimini Street) or are leaving SAP entirely.
  2. Diversifiers – These companies keep SAP at the core and: “ring fence” with cloud applications (100% of our clients are in this category), seek agility with best-of-breed add-ons (yup, that’s Corevist) and bring subsidiaries up on Netsuite or Microsoft applications.
  3. Pragmatists – These companies push back on the SAP hype and force strong business cases, including risk management, to be developed before investing in new SAP technologies (hybris Datahub as the B2B integration panacea?).  They also focus on the Customer Experience and strive to become an Easier To Do Business With (ETDBW) company (where have I heard that before?).
  4. Committed – Basically, these are companies that have the luxury of commanding SAP’s full attention and even though projects may still be extremely long, complicated and expensive, they have some assurances that eventually they will succeed.  I can always tell when I’ve stumbled across one of these companies because our conversations are abruptly terminated thanks to a call from the local SAP sales representative to our client contact.  Talking to “outsiders” in these companies is a career limiting move.

What’s being done to deal with this SAP hybris refugee problem?

I see a two pronged approach.  Try and minimize the number of refugees and make sure you take good care of the ones that are forced into refugee status.

Minimize the number of refugees.

The good news is that I have no doubt that SAP sincerely wants to stem the flow of refugees from their borders.  SAP has finally acknowledged that they have a refugee problem in their mid-market Industrial Manufacturing install base and on June 3, 2015  announced that hybris Launches SMB Partner Program for hybris Commerce.  It’s nice to see the words “hybris” and “SMB” in the same sentence.  However, our experience with the partners selected, is that they have too many families to feed (see the SAP economy discussion above) to simply lower their prices to make the hybris implementations affordable.

Corevist is trying to do our part here.

For those companies that really want to be “Committed” to SAP but are actually very “Pragmatic” and aren’t afraid to “Diversify” a little, we can take the sting out of a hybris implementation.  For existing SAP Manufacturing clients who want to get on the hybris platform, we’ve already been benchmarked to be able to reduce the total cost, and time to go live, by over 60% of the traditional hybris partners.  You can learn more about it on my blog post entitled “Why wait for SAP hybris B2B eCommerce Integration” published at the beginning of this year.

Care for the refugees.

Corevist provides a solution for the Diversifiers and Pragmatists mentioned above that seems to be hitting a chord with them.  Our integration with Magento has provided SAP Manufacturers a very affordable B2B ecommerce solution since 2011.  As an aside, it’s interesting to note that even Magento is waking up to the growing B2B opportunities.  Check out this press release entitled “Magento Accelerates Investment in the B2B Market“.

Of course, if Magento doesn’t work for you because you need world class Product Information Management capabilities on top of being able to provide a great user experience, than there is always the Corevist integration with Oracle.Commerce. :-)

Bottom line is that with 40,000 SAP Manufacturers out there, and probably less than 3% of them having implemented any sort of B2B ecommerce solution, we’re anticipating a massive SAP hybris refugee problem in the near future.

Not to worry SAP, we’re here to help.  We’re working hard to help you tame your runaway SAP Nation.