Yesterday morning best-of-breed field service optimization vendor, ClickSoftware Technologies, and enterprise applications software giant, SAP, announced a heightened extension to their successful partnering history. Building on an existing record of successful synergy between the two technologies, especially within the utilities industry, SAP will now recognize ClickSoftware as a Solution Extension (SOLEX) Partner.

As an SAP SOLEX partner, ClickSoftware’s Service Optimization Suite will be sold by SAP as the SAP Workforce Scheduling and Optimization application by ClickSoftware.

How is this different from today?

  • ClickSoftware’s optimization suite of products will now appear on SAP’s official pricelist. As a result, SAP account executives will now be compensated for selling the ClickSoftware product and clients will have access to SAP’s support service infrastructure.
  • Prospective buyers, especially existing SAP customers, will have the advantage of negotiating through one vendor, one contract, one sales team – well, you get the idea.
  • SAP will package and resell Click’s solution suite into three bundled offerings. 1) Effectively the entire ClickSoftware suite of products with SAP Workforce Scheduling and Optimization Suite by ClickSoftware; 2) the real-time scheduling optimization and analytics product with SAP Workforce Scheduling and Optimization by ClickSoftware – Field Service and Maintenance Scheduling; and 3) the demand forecasting and resource planning products with SAP Workforce Scheduling and Optimization by ClickSoftware – Forecasting and Rostering.

And what does this mean for customers and other field service vendors?

  • SAP’s existing client base wins big. Although, SAP and ClickSoftware have a history and strong portfolio of clients that leverage both technology sets in their ecosystem of solutions, for the first time ever existing SAP customers will have access to best-of-breed field service technology directly through SAP.
  • ClickSoftware gets direct access to SAP’s current and prospective client base. Although ClickSoftware has consistently exceeded earning expectations and is on target to hit $50M to $52M in revenue in 2008, as a 200 person company direct endorsement from SAP’s sales force and client base is a very positive step for the vendor’s bottom line and continued viability. In a market where consolidation, acquisition, and folding have been common threads this development should keep ClickSoftware customers more than at ease with their application selections.
  • Other best-of-breed optimization vendors stand to lose. With such a strong endorsement by SAP other field service vendors who offer complementary technology to SAP’s ERP and CRM offerings – like ServicePower, Astea International, and even the likes of Dexterra – stand to take a hit or at least face a steep uphill battle to insert themselves into RFPs.

It remains to be seen how existing SAP and ClickSoftware clients, who currently manage their technologies through both vendors separately, will be handled. As well as what client appetites will be for overlapping technology like ClickSoftware’s mobile solution – not included in the bundled offerings. However, the partnership is sure to generate positive buzz for both ClickSoftware and SAP as firms continue to squeeze greater efficiency out of their workforces and improve customer service.

Elisse Gaynor
Business Process & Applications