VistaVu Solutions was one of the first SAP Business One partners in Canada, and found great success selling the solution to midsize enterprise customers. But relying on project-based sales found the Canadian-based company to be at the mercy of unpredictable IT budgets that could vary from industry to industry, year to year.
Two changes have helped stabilize VistaVu’s business and strengthen its long-term success—adding SAP Business ByDesign and developing industry-specific pre-packaged solutions sold with a fixed scope, cost and implementation. These moves have opened many new doors for the company, said CEO Jory Lamb.
“We needed to widen the net beyond SAP Business One. We went from zero SAP Business ByDesign business at the beginning of 2017 to become one of the largest partners today,” Lamb said. “We did that by being vertically focused, acquiring great organizations with great people and name-brand clients and leveraging that to add new clients into the fold.”
As Lamb explains, VistaVu’s proprietary FieldVu solution has played a key role in the company’s growth. FieldVu is a field service software solution that allows companies with field operations to monitor and manage job and contract set-up, job and unit costing, dispatch, field ticketing, labor, equipment rental, maintenance, billing, payroll and more.
“We’ve spent a lifetime selling to the mid-market, and very often, our FieldVu product has been the way in the door or what ultimately makes the sale,” Lamb said. “The fact that it sits on top of SAP is good because it reinforces the stability of the platform.”
A packaged solutions market takes shape
VistaVu’s traditional target customer has been mid-market companies that are private-equity- funded subsidiaries of large, publicly traded enterprises. With annual revenue between $100 million and $1 billion, this is a demographic used to getting what it wants.
“At that size, they have the resources to get what they want. They’re doing $1 million projects and if they say they want the screen to be purple with dancing bears, they get purple screens with dancing bears,” Lamb said. “But we see the value of land and expand. We go in and one thing turns into 20 projects. We’re not wired for volume, but we see the value in what that can bring to our company.”
VistaVu also serves another market group with distinct needs: owner-operators. An owner-operator could have started as a tradesperson with one truck to serve customers. Jump ahead 20 years, and the business has 40 trucks with the founder serving as de facto CEO. This owner-operator wants to get a solution up and running without spending a lot of money and time to do so.
“Packaged solutions give them a low-risk, simplified way to see value, to make a small investment,” said Lamb. “As the company grows, the package grows, their product grows.”
Today, VistaVu has SAP-qualified partner-packaged SAP Business ByDesign solutions in six industries: Life Sciences, Industrial Field Services, Industrial Machinery & Components, High Tech Manufacturing, Aerospace & Defense and Food & Beverage.
As Lamb sees it, you need three things to offer an SAP packaged solution: a standardized implementation process, Intellectual Property (IP) that sits on top of SAP Cloud ERP software solutions and industry-specific expertise.
With more than 80 active clients and many dozens of SAP ERP implementations under its belt, VistaVu has built a repeatable process that can now drive packaged solution engagements. The essential Intellectual Property is FieldVu, now available on top of SAP Business One, SAP Business ByDesign and other solutions.
“Our third strength in packaged solutions is our industry expertise,” said Lamb. “Take our Life Sciences package as an example. VistaVu has people who’ve not only sold and implemented SAP for Life Sciences companies but have worked inside these companies. This expertise ensures our standardized package delivers what Life Sciences companies need.”
Educating the SMB Masses
Packaged solutions also open more doors for more customers and higher growth, Lamb said. “There are 20,000 professionally managed companies in the U.S. There are two million small businesses. If we capture just 1% of that, everybody would be happy,” he said.
Among these smaller organizations, Lamb has noticed a division of experience and opinion with regard to SAP.
“When people who’ve used SAP say they don’t like it, we ask why,” Lamb said. “Very often they tell us it’s inflexible and overly rigorous for users. But here’s the thing: that very same rigor is exactly what business owners want. They were spiraling out of control trying to manage their own growth and SAP brought visibility, order and control to their operations.”
Smaller businesses look to larger companies for inspiration, ideas and proven best practices. Larger companies are likely to be running highly customized versions of SAP ERP software, but smaller companies can see SAP packaged solutions as an entry point to running big-company processes at an affordable cost.
“SAP has 40-plus years of integrating the best practices of the world’s largest companies into its software,” said Lamb. “The packages bring these best practices to smaller and mid-sized companies, right out of the box.”
Looking forward, VistaVu plans to add more packaged solutions, and enhance those it currently offers, Lamb said. It is also increasing the brand presence of FieldVu in the SMB space, focusing on the robust capabilities and quick time to value that packaged solutions can bring.
“I wish we had done packaged solutions sooner, but eventually we gave it the time and attention necessary,” Lamb said. “For us, it’s not about price, it’s about domain expertise. We’re focused on the value and the value proposition that made us so successful.”