A valuable relationship
Zanders maintains partnerships with various suppliers of treasury management systems. One of the first partner companies with which Zanders established ties was SAP. Over the past decade Zanders built up a close relationship with this supplier of business software, a connection that is primarily characterised by mutual respect and trust.
In a meeting room in the imposing office complex of SAP Nederland in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Business Alliance Manager Kamiel Beijer pours a cup of coffee for Zanders partner Judith van Paassen. SAP is among the largest suppliers of business software in the world. Worldwide the company has more than 36,000 employees. Beijer and Van Paassen have known each other for years.
“Where our knowledge ends, Zanders’ expertise begins.”
Kamiel Beijer has been the permanent contact person for Zanders at SAP over the past years. “We are extremely selective when it comes to partner applications, but we are happy to open our doors to a company that is a champion in such a narrowly defined business domain like Treasury and Corporate Finance Management”, says Beijer, looking back on the past years. “Zanders is the perfect example of what we strive for with our Special Expertise partners. They are very strong when it comes to substance. They know the possibilities of our modules like no other. Zanders is therefore very important to us in the area of knowledge. Where our knowledge ends, Zanders’ expertise begins.”
“We are happy to open our doors to a company that is a champion in such a narrowly defined business domain like Treasury and Corporate Finance Management.”
Judith van Paassen was introduced to SAP at a trade fair more than eleven years ago. Van Paassen: “SAP was present at that fair with a treasury product. We both asked in depth questions at the time about functionalities. Can SAP do this? Can SAP do that? On the basis of that conversation, we looked together into how the system could be optimised for the Dutch market.” That first contact grew into an excellent relationship. After a number of joint projects the cooperation was made official in 1999. “This is certainly not an alliance for the sake of a press release,” says Beijer. “We see this partnership as structural and long-term.” Van Paassen: “Especially for companies who do their bookkeeping in SAP already, we offer added value. We carry out feasibility studies to analyse clients’ processes and look into how SAP can support them. Then we implement this functionality. We also carry out the application management and updates of the SAP Treasury module.” But the partnership goes farther than that. SAP keeps Zanders updated on the latest developments in software. On the other side Zanders provides SAP with input that ensures that the solution always meets the demands from the market optimally. Zanders also assists with demos. Moreover, Zanders has direct access to the source and can – if necessary – directly link up with the developers in SAP’s German headquarters in Walldorf. SAP and Zanders regularly organise joint very well attended walk-in sessions, which are meant for clients to be updated on a current topic related to both treasury and SAP.
Not the only partner
Zanders has partnerships with various software suppliers. The partnership with SAP does not at all mean that SAP is automatically put forward as the best solution. “That independence is exactly what appeals to me so much in Zanders,” says Beijer. SAP and Zanders have learned a great deal from each other. Zanders for example has largely adopted SAP’s structured implementation method ASAP and expanded with project management elements from Prince II, which allows projects to be delivered on time and within budget. On the other hand SAP has also been able to learn from Zanders. “The importance of business expertise with our partners”, says Beijer. “But mostly what I’ve learned from Zanders is how to build a good consultancy bureau. Zanders makes sure that it gets the best people. And in my opinion they do that by offering the best projects. It is not the salary or the big company car, it is mainly the interesting projects that ensure that people stay with you.” Van Paassen nods: “It is of course very difficult for us to find SAP consultants that know anything about treasury. On the other hand we can train treasury specialists in SAP. You don’t need years of training to get to know the SAP tool and be able to carry out an implementation.”
“Winning the SAP Partner Award confirms that our clients feel that we do good work. It is the icing on the cake.”
Icing on the cake
SAP and Zanders have jointly carried out a number of interesting and often pioneering projects over the past years. The track record includes names like Sabic, Heineken, DSM and many others.
Zanders’ cooperation with SAP experienced a small peak at the end of last year. In December Zanders received an SAP Partner Award. Objective research showed that Zanders received the highest score for customer satisfaction. In doing so Zanders surpassed a number of relatively big SAP partners. “It is actually the best prize you can get from us,” says Beijer. Van Paassen agrees. “Winning the SAP Partner Award confirms that our clients feel that we do good work. It is the icing on the cake.”