Low-Code Channel Revolution: Pillir Platform Is Driving ‘Massive’ SAP Cloud Opportunities For Partners

“The channel opportunity is billions of dollars,” said Pillir Chief Revenue Officer JR Butler. “It is massive. The growth is incredible. Our ability to translate proprietary [ABAP] code has opened the door for regular resellers to finally get to that holy grail: the mission-critical SAP system.”


Low-code powerhouse Pillir is dramatically reducing the high cost of SAP cloud migrations with a highly disruptive EdgeReady Cloud platform that has unleashed a torrent of opportunity for partners.

The new Pillir low-code EdgeReady platform has fundamentally changed the economics of modernizing SAP applications with a platform that does away with costly custom SAP proprietary Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) code. That low-code shift, Pillir said, reduces the total cost of ownership for managing an SAP environment by 30 percent. At the same time, the low-code Pillir object platform opens the door to a mind-boggling 20 times improvement in SAP modern application development, said Pillir.

“The channel opportunity is billions of dollars,” said Pillir Chief Revenue Officer JR Butler, a onetime solution provider sales rep who has built a 100 percent channel sales model that has legacy infrastructure providers with limited SAP expertise rushing into the market. “It is massive. The growth is incredible. Our ability to translate proprietary [ABAP] code has opened the door for regular resellers to finally get to that holy grail: the mission-critical SAP system.”

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[RELATED: 9 Things You Need To Know About Pillir’s Breakthrough SAP Low-Code EdgeReady Cloud Platform]

The secret to the dramatic reduction in SAP application development is Pillir’s ability to translate the proprietary SAP ABAP programming language into a low-code scratch object platform that runs in the cloud. “This approach is changing the way that SAP customers are modernizing their IT environment—the way they are digitally transforming,” said Butler, who is formally kicking off the EdgeReady Cloud sales charge with an SAP business modernization event Thursday. “What we do is take that custom code out of the system so you can make changes quicker. The average SAP customer has 10,000 to 20,000 lines of custom code. That amounts to 30 percent of the cost to manage an SAP environment, no matter where it runs—on-premises or in the cloud.”

In one case, the EdgeReady low-code cloud platform slashed the time it took to write an SAP application for a Fortune 1000 company from nine months and 3,000 man-hours to just five weeks and 300 man-hours, said Butler

The low-code Pillir platform has in one fell swoop shaken up the staid SAP market, which has for decades been hobbled by a severe shortage of ABAP programmers needed to modernize SAP applications.

“With 77 percent of the world’s transaction revenue touching an SAP system, there are only 40,000 ABAP programmers that know how to make these code changes, yet there are over 4 million JavaScript developers,” said Butler. “The opportunity for partners is massive because there are not enough resources for SAP customers to solve their SAP problems. As the go-to-market leader in this low-code market for SAP, I don’t see a way we can be successful without our channel partners being successful.”

Butler said the biggest challenge is convincing customers that they will see the same startling results as early adopters of the low-code platform. That’s why Pillir works with its channel partners to provide every potential prospect a free SAP custom code assessment and pilot program that focuses on the customer’s biggest pain point.

“We ask customers what is their most complex and disruptive custom [SAP] program and we start there,” he said. “What we are doing is going after the hardest, most mission-critical process first to prove to customers that it works and we can do it fast.”

Pillir is so convinced that its new EdgeReady cloud platform will live up to its billing to transform legacy SAP systems that it is pledging to pay any customer that can come up with a competitive platform that does everything it does the equivalent of Pillir CEO Vaidya Aiyer’s salary every month for the rest of the year.

Pillir partners—legacy infrastructure providers and red-hot Amazon Web Services partners migrating SAP to the cloud—said the Pillir low-code platform has forever changed the SAP cloud migration equation.

Ben Lingwood, chief innovation officer and global alliances chief for Lemongrass Consulting, widely considered the leader in AWS SAP cloud migrations with more than 5,800 SAP on AWS servers that it manages, credited Pillir with being bold and innovative with its low-code SAP platform. “Kudos to them,” he said.

The disruptive Pillir platform “radically optimizes” SAP systems by removing customizations, said Lingwood. What’s more, it opens the door for nonprogrammers to make business process changes in the cloud, making customers more agile, he said.

All in all, the Pillir platform has made the SAP “migration experience quicker, more streamlined, with less testing,” said Lingwood. “We have many projects where we do the migration and the customer is then faced with a $100,000-plus bill to do what we call ‘functional remediation’—fix any customizations that are broken,” he said.

The high-five from Lemongrass is no small matter given that the company was the first to move an SAP production workload into AWS and thrives on breaking technology glass. Lemongrass’ sharp focus on SAP cloud migrations has the company growing at a 40 percent annual clip.

“We are excited because we always like to be early adopters of new technology,” said Lingwood. “We are optimistic that technology will mature and more organizations will move into the Pillir model.”

At the other end of the partner spectrum is Converge Technology Solutions, the No. 1 fastest-growing partner in the CRN Fast Growth 150 last year. Before Pillir, Converge Technology Solutions was sitting on the SAP sidelines.

Pillir has opened the door not just to SAP application modernization but a wide range of new opportunities in other solution practices like artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, application development, and even additional cloud and infrastructure sales, said David Pacific, analytics technical lead, North America, for Converge Technology Solutions.

“We can’t do any of the AI predictive analytics solutions that our customers are looking for without the information architecture that Pillir enables,” he said. “We can’t do AI without information architecture. By putting the Pillir information architecture in place, we are enabling better and faster artificial intelligence and data estate modernization.”

The Pillir platform, which was tested by the Converge Technology Solutions technology team before the solution provider took on the product, is “extremely disruptive,” said Pacific, a 20-year technology veteran. The low-code Pillir platform moved Converge Technology solutions into the heart of the SAP application modernization market, said Pacific.

“Before Pillir, we tried to work to help customers modernize SAP from a data warehouse perspective, and it was a struggle,” he said. “Before Pillir, it was a Band-Aid approach. We wouldn’t previously touch an SAP shop for the most part unless we knew the residual technology. Now we have an answer and the sales phone calls are coming in.”

The sales pipeline is building with several customer calls a week aimed at helping SAP customers modernize their IT environments and tap into the data analytics opportunities that come with that application modernization, said Pacific.

One large SAP customer was eyeing a three-year move to SAP S/4 Cloud ERP platform and can now make the cloud migration move in a year or less, said Pacific. He sees a bright future ahead with Converge Technology Solutions partnering with “channel-friendly” Pillir to drive an SAP low-code revolution.

“The opportunity is massive,” he said. “The data and analytics market is booming. A lot of customers are turning to data-centric-focused solutions. Pillir allows us to get the data out of SAP, out of the core, and then into other platforms. This is all about modernizing into a data warehouse, a data lake, a modern data estate. Pillir invokes complementary or residual applications that allows us to help our customers across the board. Pillir allows us to get the data into a modern data estate.”

Butler, for his part, said it is imperative for partners to take advantage of the low-code revolution to be successful in the future. “Over 50 percent of applications in the next five years are going to be built on low code,” he said. “For partners to continue to be relevant in their accounts, they have to come to market with some sort of low-code offering. We believe we are the best one because we are focused on the mission-critical SAP systems that their customers are running. The call to action to partners is reach out to us and we’ll train you on our platform at no cost and work you into our double-digit margin program in less than a week.”