As the harsh economic climate takes its toll on small companies, G2 saw the opportunity to sell enterprise-class SAP applications to the sector—but could it do so at commercially attractive prices?
G2 launched a new Software-as-a-Service offering for SAP® ERP and SAP Business One® applications, enabled by IBM® Cloud Managed Services, eliminating capital expense and providing per-user pricing.
30% fasterperformance through cloud compared to on-premises
4x fasterroll-out of new functionality
Cuts overheadsenabling the company to offer low prices to customers
Business Challenge Story
Spotting a gap in the market
Brazil’s small companies have been hit hard by the global financial crisis, which has left the nation’s economy reeling. As a result, these organizations are hunting for efficiency gains.
Amidst the economic gloom, technology pioneer G2 spotted a sparkling commercial opportunity.
Glaucia Vieira, Technology Director at G2, takes up the story: “Enterprise-class SAP ERP applications help companies of all sizes manage their businesses more efficiently and effectively. But in the past, the significant investment required to deploy and manage the sophisticated software has kept this league of technology beyond the reach of small organizations.
“We envisaged a way to make enterprise-class IT affordable to small firms for the very first time. Our plan was to launch a Software-as-a-Service [SaaS] offering for SAP Business One applications, enabling customers to avoid major upfront investments and instead access the software on a pay-as-you-go basis.”
As well as offering horizontal SaaS solutions such as SAP ERP, SAP Customer Relationship Management, SAP Supply Chain Management and SAP Business One for companies in all industries, G2 has also developed specialist SAP Business One solutions for specific verticals.
The company’s Health One solution embodies all the domain knowledge and expertise that G2 has built up in more than 25 years of working with healthcare companies.
To enable its consultants to concentrate on providing the best possible SAP application management services, G2 wanted to find a technology partner that could manage the infrastructure supporting all of its SAP SaaS solutions.
“We selected a cloud deployment model because we wanted to focus on our core business of customizing and managing applications, without trying to manage the rest of the technology stack as well,” explains Glaucia Vieira.
“In addition, opting for a cloud deployment would enable us to avoid the cost of purchasing and running our own infrastructure in-house. This was an extremely important factor, because we needed to maintain low overheads to sell the service at an attractive price.”
Finding the right partner
Initially, G2 engaged two different Latin American providers to support its cloud offering. However, both partnerships failed as customers reported poor reliability and performance. Aiming to provide a superior service, G2 enlisted the support of IBM Cloud Managed Services.
“The proposal we received from IBM was very attractive,” recalls Glaucia Vieira. “The IBM team has an excellent knowledge of how best to deploy SAP applications in the cloud. In particular, the consultants already had experience of the SAP Cloud Control Center software used to administer cloud-based SAP solutions efficiently. None of the other vendors were able to match that.”
Today, IBM Cloud Managed Services supports G2’s SaaS offering by managing the entire technology stack up to the operating system level—including the physical and virtual infrastructure, security, event monitoring, networking, databases and remote desktop services. When problems or change requests arise, a dedicated IBM team manages repairs and adjustments, taking the burden off G2’s employees.
Glaucia Vieira remarks: “Because IBM is an expert in keeping the cloud up in the air, we can focus on tailoring and managing SAP applications to suit the needs of our customers.
“We think that mid-market companies often struggle with IT support, and do not have the in-house expertise to administer servers and databases effectively, as it is outside their core business competency. For G2, solving IT challenges is at the heart of what we do. The cloud-enabled solution enables us to do this with no additional hardware costs, the customer does not need in-house IT staff, and G2 acts as the single point of contact for every service, from ERP to anti-virus software.”
She adds: “Partnering with IBM has enabled us to profit from their wealth of SAP expertise. For example, they showed us how to manage all clients in a centralized manner using SAP Cloud Control Center software. So, if we need to upgrade to a new version of an SAP solution, we can do it once for everyone, rather than having to repeat the process for many different customers. This capability makes it much easier to ensure that our systems are compliant. Also, because application management is less time-consuming, we need just one full-time staff member to administer the SaaS offerings.”
Delighting customers with superb service
First, G2 migrated its existing SaaS customers onto the IBM platform. Since then, further uptake of the offerings has also been strong. Now, the majority of G2 customers—a total of 761 users—are running in the IBM cloud.
“Our customers are thrilled with the new services,” elaborates Glaucia Vieira. “Now, they receive the same exceptional levels of performance and reliability enjoyed by IBM’s major international clients. Compared with typical on-premises solutions, performance has risen by 30 percent, and new functionality—such as updates to tax rules—are rolled out four times faster.
“SAP ERP systems are the lifelines of our clients’ businesses, so knowing that their solutions are backed by excellent SLAs gives them peace of mind.”
She continues: “For example, many of our customers in the food traceability industry are farms located 300km from the nearest city. In the past, they endured service interruptions and latency problems—but with the IBM platform, they have experienced neither downtime nor slow-downs. Our customers in São Paulo have also got in touch to tell us how much faster their systems are running.”
Critically, by avoiding the investment and in-house resources associated with running its own infrastructure, G2 has achieved low operational costs. The savings are passed on to its customers, who benefit from top-notch technology at affordable prices.
Teaming up with IBM has also enhanced G2’s reputation, helping it to seize greater market share.
“When we pitch for new business, we always tell our prospective clients that our SAP systems run in IBM data centers,” remarks Glaucia Vieira. “IBM is a very high-end global brand, so our association with it sharpens our competitive edge.
“IBM also arranges events for our current and prospective customers to keep them up-to-speed with the latest technological innovations. Going the extra mile to deliver outstanding customer service pays off, because our clients are happy and likely to remain loyal.”
As G2 conquers an even greater slice of the Brazilian IT services market, it plans to set up all new customers in the IBM cloud.
“Our goal is to have 100 percent of our customers running in the IBM cloud. We expect to have 1,600 users running on the platform by 2016,” concludes Glaucia Vieira.
About G2 Tecnologia
G2 provides enterprise-class SAP applications for small and medium businesses in all industries. It has also developed a successful range of SAP Business One solutions for the healthcare, construction and food retail sectors. Headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil, the company employs around 50 people.
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