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SAP SCN Podcast Transcripts

Starting in December of 2007, Jon began a multi-year series of podcasts with the SAP SCN Community team. Many of these have their own transcripts, which you can view here. If you want to check out all the SAP SCN podcasts and download them, go to the JonERP.com SAP SCN Podcast Page.
EcoHub and the Challenges of Online Marketing - Podcast Transcription Print E-mail
Article Index
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Podcast Transcription:
EcoHub and the Challenges of Online Marketing: An SAP Community Podcast with Eric Bushman of Paymetric
Hosted by Jon Reed of JonERP.com
Podcast Interview Date: April 14, 2009

Jon Reed: Welcome to this special SAP EcoHub Community podcast. I'm your host, Jon Reed, of JonERP.com. Joining me today is Eric Bushman, Vice President of Solutions Engineering at Paymetric, an SAP Partner with a presence on EcoHub. We're here to talk with Eric about the benefits of EcoHub to SCN members, how EcoHub ratings can provide a better way to evaluate SAP third-party products and how Paymetric has figured out that balancing act between online marketing and community participation that most of us must navigate.

Eric, let's start out by having you tell us about Paymetric and why you chose to get involved with EcoHub.

Bushman: Paymetric is a company that was founded back in 1998, and as early as 2000, we certified a product with SAP that would allow companies to accept credit card payments in their SAP products and connect them to the various processors and gateways. We've been certified since 2000, and we have around 55 employees right now. We're based in Houston, Texas, and have been a long-time SAP development partner providing those integrated secure e-payment processing services into the SAP community.

Reed: When you chose to get involved with EcoHub, what made you realize it was a good place for you guys to establish a presence?

Bushman: As any partner of SAP and any third-party vendor, we're always trying to find a way to better promote our products and services within that ecosystem to the SAP community at large. We'd done so through our entries in various SAP customer and partner lists, and EcoHub was the next evolution of that service provided by SAP. It actually provided more value in that it became a central place where customers could come and locate all of the trusted and relevant solutions that SAP has endorsed and certified to work with their systems and with various interfaces that have been designed and developed by SAP.

As a third-party vendor, we wanted to take advantage of the community that SAP was building and the ability to show our products and services in that forum. It was a natural fit for us - we jumped at the chance to participate in EcoHub.

Reed: For those who are new to EcoHub and haven't spent much time there, what do you think EcoHub has to offer in terms of helping SAP Community Network members get a better view into SAP's third-party software partners?

Bushman: What's interesting about EcoHub that I've not seen prior in any SAP forum is the ability for SAP's customers and end-users to interact with each other. The EcoHub environment allows a company such as us, who has a third-party product, to put a listing on EcoHub to describe their solutions. We've uploaded white papers and other information that can be downloaded by those customers and users regarding our solutions. You can post demos, you can put links to blogs, etc. and when end-users and customers access that information in EcoHub, there's a wealth of information they can use to evaluate the available solutions.

Beyond just evaluating them, it's a way they can find out if there's even a solution that exists for the business problem they're facing. By finding that information all in one central place, along with customer and user feedback on those products, it's a much more concise, central location to do all that research, rather than having to go out and research that on the web in general. It's a very convenient place to find all that information.

Reed: Eric, one of the concerns you hear from SAP customers is that they are wary of integrating third-party products with SAP. To be involved with EcoHub, do firms like yours have to go through a process that ensures your solution will be integratable with SAP and easy to support?

Bushman: Yes, we had to first go through a process of having our solutions certified with SAP. So if you take Paymetric solutions as an example, there was a process we went through with our solutions for processing electronic payments with SAP, which certified that our solution worked with a predefined SAP interface - that's the Cross Application Payment Card Interface, or CA-PCI. Also, we've certified with SAP's Enterprise Service interface service for payment card processing.

As a company whose services and products have received that stamp of approval from SAP, we've qualified ourselves as a trusted third party who provides solutions that are relevant in the SAP world because they've been certified by SAP. When you find our solutions and others' solutions on EcoHub, you know that those have received SAP's stamp of approval: they've gone through a rigorous certification, that development process, and the listings exist because those products and those solutions have received that stamp of approval from SAP.

Reed: Some SCN members have wondered how EcoHub fits in with the other communities. One thing I noticed right off the bat is that you can get SCN points for participating in EcoHub ratings. I wanted to ask you about your experience with EcoHub's ratings - how they work and what you've learned from the rating system so far.

Bushman: At Paymetric, if you go out to our site, you'll notice several of the end-users using our product left feedback. It's a one- to five-star rating system right now, and I think all of our feedback has been five stars with the exception of one four-star rating. We're very pleased with our customers' feedback. Obviously, it's up to the customer to leave whatever type of response and feedback they would like. We're very proud to have received such favorable ratings so far.

I think that allows other companies and end-users from other companies to look at what's being provided by these ISPs and these solutions providers and receive the feedback that they would want to receive from other unbiased users that perhaps have used that product or service in a previous company they've worked for, or they've been a consultant that's helped implement that at a prior project.

In any case, it allows you to get feedback you typically wouldn't get just by reading a service provider or solution provider's web site or marketing literature. It's really that unbiased look into a product solution that can only be provided by one of your peers at a different company.

Reed: The rules of online marketing are changing quickly, and I think one thing many of us struggle with on SCN is how to market our services where it is appropriate, but also how to participate authentically in the conversations that are going on. I don't think every firm has figured out how to do this. As someone who promotes Paymetric on EcoHub and also blogs on SCN, can you tell us what you've learned about how to wear these different hats?


 

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