Sapphire Systems development of digital operations platform proposition

Sapphire Systems is a company on a journey, and has a clear sense of where it is headed on that journey, as it looks like it can carve out a strong position in providing more visibility and intelligence to mid-enterprise customers. .

The firm has evolved over nearly three decades of its life, from specializing in the provision of a financial management platform, then moving to SAP, where it gained a significant position as a partner, and then entered the management of enterprise assets. Through those steps it has developed platforms to track finance, supply chains and asset operations.

Horizon Capital invested in the business in December 2019, supporting an approach based on the assumption that the enterprise resource planning (ERP) SAP market was integrated across the channel and there was an opportunity for Sapphire to be a part of it, adding of depth in its own business as well as moving to fresh areas.

“If we help the finances work, we help the supply chain run, we help the asset maintenance and all that stuff works, can we help the rest of our customers work? Operations, processes, platforms, people, that kind of thing, would be logical, ”said Chris Gabriel, chief strategy officer at Sapphire Systems, as he explained the progress the business has made.

While standing in 2022, the company adheres to a “digital operating platform” strategy, combining all of its expertise with a clear target to fulfill demand in a mid-enterprise market ripe for such support. .

“I used this term a few weeks ago-‘ Accenturising ’the mid-market. If you look at the enterprise space, Accentures and Deloittes, they do that for the FTSE 100 and the global enterprise players. You don’t have to go down too far to find companies with ERP partners, finance partners, asset partners and IT partners. We can consolidate the ERP space, but we can also expand and help companies operate in other areas, ”Gabriel said.

“Today, we operate in five key areas of operation for our customers. We have $ 100m now, with the UK and US markets we focus on, so we can consolidate other geographies in the future or maybe we continue to grow and integrate other operating platforms.We have become a business platform, not just a digital operating platform, but we see ourselves as a business platform to further integrate the UK with the US, “he added.

In its early stages, the approach to acquiring ServiceNow partner ITOM began in earnest in December 2020. It was then followed by Openwave, a data analytics planning partner, and SAP Business ByDesign player InCloud, which further expanded its depth and scope.

“We help companies work better, driving their success, growth and optimization, but fundamentally on things like supply chain stability, reliability, we’re in productivity, we’re really in digital transformation, ”he said.

Gabriel added that it also has great insights into what customers need, working with the company’s 1,000 clients. “We don’t do one big project in a year – we work with businesses on a regular basis and we do that in all of our different business units,” he said.

Gabriel said the company seeks to stay in line with the needs of customers, who continue to evolve as they expect their ERP systems to deliver more functionality.

“Go and talk to your typical CFO, and [ask if] they want a system of record or system of cash flow, system of insight, system of productivity, system of automation and system of predictive debting from customers who may or may not pay based on data, ”he added.

“I’ve talked to many of our customers-each of them wants to be progressive in how they run, whether it’s finance, operations, maintenance or IT, because they’re the people trying to run that function. . ”

He said others have identified the opportunity at the top end, but at the mid-enterprise level there is plenty of room for growth. “Why is the mid-market, a £ 250m business, different from a £ 2bn business? They all have a financial system, they all have a supply chain system, they all have assets, they all have IT and they all have some level of digital thinking now.

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