Zimmerer GmbH expands its SAP portfolio with IBM

By Andrew Davidson, IBM (Original post here)

Germany’s Zimmerer GmbH offers customized SAP solutions from its 12 regional centers across the country, specializing in the automotive, mechanical engineering and medical industries. Zimmerer’s core business is focused on helping clients transform their ERP capabilities. The company assists organizations in reducing complexity and reorganizing business processes to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital era.

To help its clients address the wider challenges posed by the digital economy, Zimmerer first recognized the need to undertake its own transformation. “We had no accounting center, we had no cloud know-how, and we had limited knowledge of what kind of services the SAP environment entails,” explains Hans-Werner Zimmerer, CEO and founder of the company.

Zimmerer evaluated a number of potential partners that could help bridge those gaps, but the company’s preference was to work with a single partner that could offer a full spectrum of services. That preference resulted in a very short list. Ultimately, Zimmerer selected IBM. “By working with IBM, we aimed to better leverage our internal skills.”

The IBM model seemed to be the most practical fit for Zimmerer’s needs. The company’s decision-makers were impressed by IBM’s willingness to adapt to the specifics of their proposals. And while other suppliers came forward with competitive offers, none could offer the entire range of what Zimmerer wanted to achieve. The IBM partnership offered both the highest quality and a reassurance of long-term commitment.

Zimmerer engaged IBM to examine its existing business model and to expand its portfolio across the full spectrum of SAP services. “We wanted to invest on the SAP technology and take our clients on this journey because we believe it is a sustainable path for the next 5 to 10 years,” says Zimmerer.

Expanding the portfolio required some change. “We had to rethink our whole portfolio and make sure our clients would have a good understanding of it,” says Zimmerer. “We had to make it available at a local level and emphasize the fact services could be easily delivered anywhere.” The company now positions itself not as a German player, but as a German-based player that partners with IBM and SAP at a global level.

“We want to operate at a global level and provide quality services to clients, no matter where they are. IBM was able to quickly understand what our mission statement was all about. We wanted to start with small-sized companies, taking over their cloud, for example. This could only be done with the help of IBM.”
—Hans-Werner Zimmerer, CEO, Zimmerer GmbH

At first, the size of IBM was daunting, but the commitment to partnership and the “people factor” allayed those concerns. “We were taken seriously from the outset and had the feeling we could trust each other,” says Zimmerer. “It’s all related to the nature of the people involved.”

IBM Cloud capabilities and IBM’s global reputation for security and reliability are key factors in influencing clients’ decisions to move to the cloud. Meanwhile, the potential to tap into IBM Watson capabilities for new perspectives on predictive maintenance and other areas is a major differentiator for Zimmerer.

The collaboration with IBM enables Zimmerer to work with clients that neither company might ordinarily engage on its own. It’s a great example of the sum of the relationship being greater than its parts. Zimmerer’s network of business contacts and the power of the IBM brand work together to open doors and give potential customers high levels of quality, innovation and longevity.

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