Delaware is gearing up for year of growth in Singapore as the SAP specialist expands practice capabilities beyond core enterprise resource planning (ERP) and SAP S/4HANA Cloud solutions.
The enhanced go-to-market strategy in the city-state will prioritise a strengthening of delivery excellence through internal coaching and training, following the recent recruitment of approximately 20 new consultants, cited as “young Singaporean talent”.
Overall, the aim is to position the business transformation experts as the leading SAP partner in the city-state, with enterprise cloud migration as the centrepiece offering.
“We are a purpose-led organisation, we believe in doing the right thing for our customers and we understand that success is something you can only create together,” said Yeo Pei Lin, partner at Delaware Singapore. “We have a heavy focus on long-term collaboration and sustainability vs. short-term gain - this is also why we focus on strong relations with our customers which last.”
For Pei Lin - in drawing on more than two decades of in-market experience following over 20 years at Accenture in Singapore - the modus operandi is simple, to assume the role of “trusted advisor”.
“It is our ambition to be the trusted advisor of our customer, someone that can be consulted without qualms for true insights and understanding,” added Pei Lin, when speaking to Channel Asia. “Over time, we want to increase the services we offer to our customers since customer intimacy allows us to better cater to specific needs.
“We aspire to be the partner of choice on a journey with our customers and in that, jointly invest. Thanks to our company construct, we can move quickly in critical decision making while ensuring a broad regional and global reach."
Housing more than 2400 employees across 24 regional offices in 12 countries, Delaware goes to market with the toolkit of a large-scale services provider, leveraging the smarts of an in-country specialist, combining global muscle with local feel.
In Singapore, Delaware operates as the only SAP partner with competence in S/4HANA Public Cloud deployments, resulting in the roll-out of several enterprise projects during the past 12 months.
“A number of challenging and very large engagements have been brought on track to ensure a timely and correct delivery,” Pei Lin outlined. “Some already closed in 2019 while the remainder are being concluded in early 2020.”
A recent case in point is SingEx Holdings, which implemented S/4HANA Cloud as part of expansion plans into Southeast Asia, China, India and the UK. Operating as a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings - one of Singapore’s largest investment holding companies - SingEx houses four organisations providing integrated solutions for venue management and consultancy, exhibition and conference organising services and international exhibition related ventures.
Revealed by Channel Asia, the alliance is centred around the Singapore-based business working with SAP to build an “adaptable and scalable” global finance system designed to support diverse market requirements worldwide. As a result, the first S/4HANA Cloud deployment in Singapore went live in August 2019 with Delaware as the implementation partner.
“With the successful roll-out of the first SAP S/4HANA Cloud implementation in Singapore and its overseas subsidiaries, SingEx moves closer to full digitalisation and achieves actionable insights across the business, creating value for our internal and external stakeholders,” said Desmond Goh, CFO of SingEx, speaking at the time of the deployment.
Such customer credentials has also helped position Delaware as a ‘niche player’ in the recent Gartner magic quadrant, assessing ‘SAP S/4HANA Application Services’ at a global level following evaluation of 18 service providers.
“We aided a number of organisations in Singapore recently to simplify IT landscapes and make operations more predictable through supporting them in adopting the SAP Cloud ERP,” Pei Lin said. “Even if the principles are sound and appear obvious, the transition is a challenging one.
“This is because many organisations are used to the ‘on-premises paradigm’ and working with cloud solutions requires a very different mindset, which requires a lot of skill and support to enable.”
With strong SAP pedigree, Delaware - honoured during the inaugural Channel Asia Innovation Awards in 2019 - provides implementation services across a range of the vendor’s portfolio, including Leonardo, SuccessFactors and Hybris. This is backed up by vendor alliances with Microsoft, Tableau, Databricks and Sitecore among others.
Furthermore, the business was also recently recognised as the SAP Innovation Partner of the Year for 2019 in Singapore, following a stellar 12 months of growth.
“Successful technology providers are christened with an ability to innovate and help customers step away from their comfort zone,” added Christophe Derdeyn, partner at Delaware Singapore. “And perhaps most importantly, there is the key ability to support customers in the journey to adopt the technology they invest in.
“All too often implementations end up as white elephants due to the lack of focused investment in solution adoption. The successful technology provider will not only know the solution but also succeed at guiding the customer towards success.”
Following the departure of CEO Bill McDermott in late 2019, SAP has been bedding in new co-leaders Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein, with plans in place to ramp up partner enablement initiatives to boost cloud sales.
“With SAP’s new leadership, it's time for more emphasis and focus,” Derdeyn observed. “This leads to an increased focus on core competences, existing customers and a (c)leaner product portfolio. After years of many acquisitions it was time to streamline and that’s happening now, which all customers will undoubtedly benefit from.”
According to Derdeyn, the software giant has also developed a “very strong cloud portfolio” and continues to invest heavily in further improvements, closing product function gaps at a "neck-breaking pace".
“If you combine this with the fact that SAP has a massive install base and an equally friendly customer mindset - new management is even more focused on that than before - this can only lead to a continued increase of SAP product adoption,” he advised.
In assessing the Singapore market, Derdeyn cited customer experience management as a key priority for customers in 2020, backed by accelerated cloud adoption, spanning both platform as well as pure software-as-a-service (SaaS) models.
“Due to the continued increase in competition for attention of the customer, businesses are finding it difficult to differentiate,” he acknowledged.
From a technology standpoint, Derdeyn said organisations are increasing focus on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things, while driving core ERP renewal projects in tandem.
Specific to vendors, Derdeyn said increased business interest in Amazon Web Services (AWS) is expected to continue during the next 12 months, with Microsoft Azure appearing to be playing catch-up in Singapore.
Despite such market metrics however, Derdeyn believes that Microsoft - in addition to SAP - will report another strong year in 2020, due to a long-standing loyal base of customers and channel partners.
“Microsoft has gone through tremendous change in the past years and now not only has cutting-edge products that can compete with the best in the market but also a very partner and customer friendly mindset,” Derdeyn added. “This leads to the opening-up of the Microsoft ecosystem, enabling easy interoperability with other platforms.
“The ease of doing business with Microsoft, plus the fact they are quite aggressive in pricing and have a very solid geographic distribution of data centres and continue to focus on strengthening the ecosystem through openness, seems very inducive for success.”