Strategy consulting: New IMPACT for software vendors as SAS

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At the beginning of this year, SAS in DACH offered a fresh framework for providing customers with more comprehensive support. We call it "IMPACT." This is not just a way to provide even more services than simply installing and customizing – it will support the entire life cycle of our AI solutions from conception to operation. I spoke with Thorsten Hagenberger about this impact. He is Director of Professional Services and a member of the management team at SAS in DACH.

Is SAS now turning into a consulting firm?

Thorsten Hagenberger, Director of Professional Services SAS DACH

Thorsten Hagenberger, Director of Professional Services, SAS DACH

Good question, Thomas. In a certain way we already are. For many of our customers, we have long since delivered a whole range of services. This stretches from a design thinking workshop on a specific topic to the development of a cloud strategy to hosting a comprehensive customer application. What has changed is the way we communicate about it. We are a little bit more aggressively specifying our offerings. The fact that we can deliver world-class software remains unaffected.

What exactly do we offer? Or more specifically, what do we mean by "IMPACT"?

We analyzed the market we are a part of. There are consulting firms, software vendors and system integrators. Many show complex slides with depicted graphics that are supposed to summarize their offerings, such as "Plan, Build, Run" schemes, but which are very much likely to be forgotten quickly. We, on the other hand, want to distinguish ourselves from those. Here we summarize our tactics as IMPACT.

  • I - stands for Identification of new opportunities to innovate.
  • M - is the abbreviation for Mapping out. Where we create use case maps as a starter.
  • P - means Proof-of-value, Proof-of-concept, Proof-of-technology phase.
  • A - is Act. We bring "analytics in action" when both idea and concept are ready.
  • C - is for Connect. Any solution must assimilate with an application architecture that already exists.
  • T - stands for Transformation because naturally a business process changes and so do the requirements for the existing workforce.

Starting with a simple IMPulse which we translate into production, hence into ACTion. Here we address needs beyond software.

That sounds wonderful. May I ask if your concept overcomes the buzzwords used in sophisticated PowerPoints?

Absolutely! We updated our current service catalogue and adapted it to our IMPACT phases. This leads to deep conversations to offer our customers exactly what they need. Our customer determines the direction. If desired, we can also coordinate with existing consulting partners or involve our own partners.

This implies, of course, that we don't slowly but steadily become a competitor to our partners ...

... the opposite is the case. By addressing a broader spectrum of our customers and taking responsibility for complete business processes, the need for additional specialized expertise is growing. For example, when it comes to the development of front ends and operational applications, we must integrate our partners into the project and delivery cycle as an overall concept. Both our customers and partners will appreciate it. It is also quite clear that we are not in a position to deal with all conceivable strategic and technical issues. But we will bring an adequate partner from our network to the project.

Sounds like the positioning of consulting firms. In the end, are we competing with McKinsey & Co.?

We have a wealth of experience from practical implementation as our USP. We don't just deliver PowerPoints, but productive applications. For a whole range of processes – especially in the areas of risk, fraud and customer experience – we close the gap between strategy consulting and system integrators. Quite simply because we know what is possible and what requirements must be met. Analytically controlled omnichannel addressing, to name one example, is simply something we have good expertise in – from the idea through implementation to ongoing operational improvement.

Visit IMPACT to find out more.

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About Author

Thomas Keil

Director Marketing

Dr. Thomas Keil is a specialist for the impact of technology on business models and on society in general. He covers topics like Digital transformation, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence & Ethics. Besides his work as Regional Marketing Director at SAS in Germany, Austria and Switzerland he regularly is invited to conferences, workshops and seminars. He serves as advisor to B2B marketing magazines and in program committees of AI-related conferences. Dr. Thomas Keil 2011 came to SAS. Previously, he worked for eight years for the software vendor zetVisions, most recently as Head of Marketing and Head of Channel Sales.

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