Optimal Solutions Integration Unveils Subscription SAP Business All-In-One SolutionBy Sharon Linsenbach | Posted 2009-05-19 Email Print
SAP partner Optimal Solutions Integration’s new FlexChoice Advantage program allows customers the ultimate flexibility not just in how to deploy SAP Business All-In-One, but also how they pay for it.
It’s been more than 10 years since the first ERP boom swept through corporate America, changing the face of IT departments large and small. With that reflection comes a scary realization for many companies—regardless of current economic conditions, it’s time to upgrade or replace aging ERP systems.
"Many companies are still limping along on outdated legacy systems rolled out over 10 years ago," says Sam Sliman, president of Optimal Solutions Integration, an SAP-exclusive partner. "We were telling customers back then that these ERP solutions had a 10- to 15-year lifecycle, and we’re rapidly approaching the end of that cycle."
The problem, Sliman says, is that budget cuts and uncertainty about long-term economic prospects have left many organizations hesitant to invest in new or upgraded solutions, especially among midmarket customers.
While Optimal has had incredible success focusing on midmarket customers—which they define as customers that bring in under $1.5 billion in revenue—the large upfront cost required to purchase and integrate a new SAP solution was becoming more daunting in a tough economy.
"Midmarket businesses pay differently than a large company," Sliman says. "When they’re in a very stringent cash conservation mode, it’s difficult for IT departments to get approval for large capital expenditures like this," he says.
To counter the pricing obstacles, Optimal Solutions Integration has rolled out what it’s calling the FlexChoice Advantage Program for SAP’s Business All-In-One solutions. The FlexChoice Advantage Program allows customers to purchase Business All-In-One solutions from Optimal and pay for them over a three-, five- or seven-year period, rather than making a large expenditure all at once, Sliman says. The price can vary depending on customer size, but includes the SAP software license, maintenance, implementation, hardware, hosting (if needed) and support, he says.
"The concept is like Burger King’s slogan—'Have it your way.’ Customers have the ultimate flexibility to decide how to roll out SAP and how to pay for it," Sliman says.
SAP Business All-In-One solutions are preconfigured deployments of Business All-In-One that are optimized to include standard features and settings for specific vertical markets, offering solution providers a turnkey software solution that can easily be integrated with midmarket customers’ existing business.
"If you buy SAP off the shelf, it’s not configured, but a Business All-In-One solution has meticulously mapped out every process imaginable that could apply to a number of industries and solutions," Sliman says.
In essence, Business All-In-One solutions come 80 percent configured, just waiting for the customers’ data to be introduced. Companies don’t have to start from a blank slate, and can accelerate their return on investment by easing the startup and integration processes, Sliman says.
Optimal’s goal is to offer these SAP solutions using a model that’s very close to software as a service, and to that end offers a hosted Business All-In-One option as well as the choice to have the solution implemented on premises. In both cases, Sliman says, Optimal takes care of running the solution for customers and feels that added value makes deployment a no-brainer.
Currently, Optimal offers Business All-In-One vertical solutions for mining, manufacturing and professional services, among others, and also a horizontal solution called Finance One for financial services. Sliman says Optimal is working on several more solutions that are currently in the process of being certified by SAP.
"Our belief is that every existing and potential customer would roll this out if they could make it quick, affordable and didn’t involve tapping into credit lines or depleting cash reserves," Sliman says. "We developed these solutions so there are no obstacles for customers wishing to deploy. It’s kind of like buying a car that comes with a driver," he says.