IQX Business Solutions
Making SAP Friendlier: Shared Goals Bring Success for Excel4apps and Reseller Partner IQX
Shared goals are a key element of successful business relationships, and Excel4apps and its partner IQX Business Solutions are a prime example in their push to make SAP a more user-friendly and productive experience.
A Natural Fit
In 2009, Excel4apps appointed IQX as a reseller of GL Wand for SAP in the Australia-New Zealand (ANZ) region. GL Wand provides direct links to SAP financial data through an Excel-based front end, which complements IQX’s mission to deliver solutions into the SAP ecosystem that combine the power of SAP with the familiarity and flexibility of Microsoft products.
“It was a natural fit for us to work with Excel4apps, because we saw GL Wand as a much needed application that addresses a huge reporting gap,” said Dave Cole, director of sales and marketing for IQX. “GL Wand cuts to the heart of the pain and suffering of SAP financial users, both new and experienced.”
Solutions for Empowering the End User
With his previous background of 10 years in reselling and implementing SAP, Cole quickly recognized GL Wand as an “incredibly simple, yet powerful application” that IQX “could intensively introduce to the SAP market.”
While IQX knew of other Excel spreadsheet applications, they were more generic toolsets that required knowledge of underlying SAP data structures and were not aimed at business users. GL Wand, however, was designed for ease of use by financial professionals for financial professionals, always keeping the end user in mind.
GL Wand empowers finance users by giving them easy, real-time access to SAP general ledger data, without the need for a data warehouse or reliance on programming support from information technology (IT) staff. The software requires minimal training, especially for Excel-savvy finance managers and accountants, and installs without the need for additional hardware, software, extensive training, or security configuration, as it works with existing ERP settings.
“From the beginning, we were excited about the self-sufficiency GL Wand provides users—literally from day one,” described Cole. “We could foresee that a good percentage of SAP users would be interested, because the price point is good, the implementation is extremely easy, the training is almost a nonevent—and we expected user acceptance and satisfaction to be tremendous. Also, the ‘try-before-you-buy’ option for a free trial was just the icing on the cake.”
GL Wand Meets the SAP Market
As a company, IQX specifically addresses the divide between Microsoft and SAP by offering third-party products that bridge the two worlds as GL Wand does, developing packaged solutions that integrate Microsoft SharePoint and SAP and providing consulting services. The first opportunity for joint success came when IQX approached a new SAP customer - Sphere Pharmaceuticals - about its first month end financial reports after going live with SAP. After a demonstration of GL Wand, the company’s CFO was so impressed that he asked IQX to install the reporting tool directly in the production system before leaving.
“Our first GL Wand customer produced its first month end after implementing SAP with no problem, and has since been a great supporter of the software, assisting us with reference calls as needed,” described Cole. “From there, sales have spring boarded, and we have grown our customer base 200% each year, and currently have six more companies actively taking advantage of the free GL Wand trial from Excel4apps.”
GL Wand is now the most common third-party product sold by IQX. It is often bundled with a general ledger data uploader, GLSU, and Budget Loader – both from Z Option, another IQX third-party partner and an alliance partner with Excel4apps.
Reseller Model with a Distributor Twist
In addition to acting as a GL Wand reseller, IQX also is a distributor of the reporting software to reseller partners of its own, functioning within a traditional reseller model. “Due to their proven success as a reseller partner, outstanding customer service and continuing investments in developing the Australian market, IQX was appointed as a distributor for the ANZ region in 2010,” says Michele Buson, CEO of Excel4apps. “As a distributor, IQX grows its domain of influence through the appointment of other resellers.” In general, IQX’s reseller partners fall into two groups: SAP consulting companies and resellers, and resellers who serve the Australian government. “Because we don’t compete in any way with traditional SAP implementation companies or SAP resellers, we can partner with them in a trusted environment,” Cole explained. “Also, our government reseller partners are members of panels with commercial connections to government agencies, which give us access we wouldn’t otherwise have.”
For SAP resellers, GL Wand is an easily demonstrated product that can make the difference in winning or losing a sale, according to Cole. This is especially true for potential customers who are concerned about the financial reporting pitfalls of a major ERP implementation. “It can be a real differentiator in terms of convincing people to buy SAP in the first place,” Cole said.
Collaborative Marketing Initiatives
Excel4apps and IQX collaborate in a range of marketing initiatives. As the headquarters of both companies are in Sydney, though both sell throughout the world, many of the co-marketing activities involve trade show participation in the ANZ region. Conferences have included Mastering SAP Finance seminars, where IQX, Excel4apps and even customers jointly highlight GL Wand and GLSU tools.
Excel4apps and IQX also share booth space at Australia’s main SAP forum, the SAUG Summit. In addition, IQX has featured GL Wand customer case studies in its newsletters and offered live GL Wand webinar demonstrations. Joint breakfast seminars have been a big success, with plans for extending them to other regions.
“Excel4apps has been very good at uncovering new opportunities and ways to show people who haven’t heard of GL Wand what it’s all about,” Cole said. “All we want is for users to take a look at the product, because it invariably sells itself.”
“Our relationship works tremendously well with Excel4apps, as we resell their products and enhance the SAP experience for users,” Cole said. “We have developed a very open and trusting dialogue, which is fundamental to any business relationship.” Cole’s final word for potential customers and reseller partners regarding GL Wand is that there is really no down side to the product.
“We want end users to find out what is possible with GL Wand,” Cole said. “This is a non-threatening product—no dependencies, very self-sufficient, secure, SAP-certified, and reasonably priced. And, if you think it sounds good, you can easily implement a free trial to see how it will add value in your environment. You’ve really got nothing to lose.”