Sponsored Content by SAP

Back-end to the future: Why back-office tech will drive scale-ups to success

By Romain Gauthier, Customer Officer, SAP EMEA North

A new era of businesses is incoming: unicorns and rising stars. In their current state, they are known as scale-ups. Often defined by annual returns, number of employees or levels of funding, what really unites these, typically tech-focused, businesses is their impressive expansion and promising upwards growth trajectory. The UK alone is home to 33,860 scale-ups, contributing £1 trillion to the UK economy annually. 

These businesses are at a critical juncture and scale-ups have not escaped the negative impact of Covid-19. Yet, The Future of Growth Capital Report, created by Deloitte, Innovate Finance and the ScaleUp Institute, highlights how important these scale-ups are to aiding the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery. However, while the report details their important role in boosting regional economies, productivity and innovation, the reality is that they’re facing a £15 billion shortfall in funding.

Despite ongoing challenges, the global pandemic doesn’t need to be the downfall in their prosperous journeys and rapid growth. In fact, we believe unlocking future potential lies in embracing a more sophisticated way of approaching back-office solutions as these businesses reach a crucial point in their growth trajectories.

Laying foundations for continued success

Image Credits: Getty Images

Over the past few years, we’ve seen many of these businesses thrive and find their way into the lives of people up and down the country. The likes of Oddbox have pushed forward with their mission of keeping the nation healthy with sustainable vegetable subscription boxes; fintech scale-up, Plum, has allowed consumers to understand how they spend and budget better; elsewhere, social app, Peanut, has connected thousands of mothers across the country to share their experiences.

There’s no denying, scale-ups are becoming a crucial part of so many different people’s lives, whether consumers or businesses. But, to support the next chapter of their story and continue on the path to profitability, they must refocus when it comes to back-office solutions. 

It’s understandable that scale-ups typically rely on the more basic of business tools, with some teams potentially still calling on the support of programmes like Excel or freemium-type tools. But for increasingly complex tasks and operations, we often see that these tools have a limited scope, functionality and scalability and can quickly become a glass ceiling more than a support for growth.

While these back-end solutions aren’t typically perceived as the sexiest aspects of running a fast growth business, they are becoming more important; particularly for businesses of this calibre. From our observations of the market, solid financial structure, the ability to expand internationally in a matter of days, end-to-end employee management and real-time visibility over business KPIs, amongst other aspects, are what can really determine a business’s future.

But why does it all matter?

For scale-ups, approaching back-office solutions in a more sophisticated way is critical for three key reasons. Firstly, while focusing on selling the product, raising money and hiring the right people has got scale-ups to where they are, attention now needs to turn to running the business once these milestones are reached. What we have seen in the market is that maintaining tremendous growth is best achieved when the foundations are built on robust back-end solutions. 

Secondly, to reach the next level, understanding what is happening in the business in real-time has been proven as a real differentiator. We have seen companies where it takes upwards of three weeks to provide things like sales data due to unfit solutions that were outpaced by fast growth. This can make fast decision-making near impossible and ultimately prohibits implementing critical changes when required. Dynamic back-end solutions will provide the power of rapid decision making and help companies to steer their business based on data.

Last but certainly not least, as these businesses look ahead to further investment, or even greater IPO ambitions, a certain level of structure and data insight is key to make a compelling business case for investors and venture capitalists. This is only afforded through technologies that can provide accurate data with clear traceability. Fit-for-purpose back-end solutions will help bridge the gap between potential and clear profitability.

Embracing the support network

Image Credits: Getty Images

Although the benefits of more advanced back-office solutions are clear, scale-ups have seen them as somewhat aspirational due to cost and integration barriers. This is no longer the case and providers, like us, are here to deliver this much needed access in order to power the businesses of tomorrow, today.

As Europe’s largest tech company, and as the inventors of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), we knew it was our duty to make our world-class solutions no longer just a pipedream for scale-ups. Seeing reports that highlight scalability and the ability to attract talent as key reasons why European tech scale-ups are failing, we knew we needed to support our fellow European businesses and rising stars. This is why we have launched our Grow by SAP initiative; a programme designed specifically for scale-ups that provides all the essential back-office business requirements, from finance, to procurement, project management, core HR and business analytics with fast implementation schedules. The programme includes commercial incentives, up to 6 months of productive free run as well as dedicated customer success teams. We are committed to fostering long term technology partnerships so we therefore want to provide all of the support we can.

We already have all the solutions to solve these problems, and solving problems is what we do. Therefore, we just needed to connect the dots between our products, initiatives and people to create a programme that truly adds value to this exciting group of businesses.

From financial planning and streaming to socialising and vehicle hire, scale-ups of all kinds are the future. We see that, and so does the rest of the world. This belief, paired with our suite of cloud-based, automated and scalable solutions, means that our doors are wide open for the businesses of tomorrow, and we have all hands on deck to help drive scale-ups forward to reach long term success.

More TechCrunch

London-based fintech Vitesse has closed a $93 million Series C round of funding led by investment giant KKR.

Vitesse, a payments and treasury management platform for insurers, raises $93M to fuel US expansion

Zen Educate, an online marketplace that connects schools with teachers, has raised $37 million in a Series B round of funding. The raise comes amid a growing teacher shortage crisis…

Zen Educate raises $37M and acquires Aquinas Education as it tries to address the teacher shortage

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine.”

Scarlett Johansson says that OpenAI approached her to use her voice

A new self-driving truck — manufactured by Volvo and loaded with autonomous vehicle tech developed by Aurora Innovation — could be on public highways as early as this summer.  The…

Aurora and Volvo unveil self-driving truck designed for a driverless future

The European venture capital firm raised its fourth fund as fund as climate tech “comes of age.”

ETF Partners raises €284M for climate startups that will be effective quickly — not 20 years down the road

Copilot, Microsoft’s brand of generative AI, will soon be far more deeply integrated into the Windows 11 experience.

Microsoft wants to make Windows an AI operating system, launches Copilot+ PCs

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. For those who haven’t heard, the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule has been pushed back yet again to no earlier than…

TechCrunch Space: Star(side)liner

When I attended Automate in Chicago a few weeks back, multiple people thanked me for TechCrunch’s semi-regular robotics job report. It’s always edifying to get that feedback in person. While…

These 81 robotics companies are hiring

The top vehicle safety regulator in the U.S. has launched a formal probe into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV that claimed the lives of a family…

VinFast crash that killed family of four now under federal investigation

When putting a video portal in a public park in the middle of New York City, some inappropriate behavior will likely occur. The Portal, the vision of Lithuanian artist and…

NYC-Dublin real-time video portal reopens with some fixes to prevent inappropriate behavior

Longtime New York-based seed investor, Contour Venture Partners, is making progress on its latest flagship fund after lowering its target. The firm closed on $42 million, raised from 64 backers,…

Contour Venture Partners, an early investor in Datadog and Movable Ink, lowers the target for its fifth fund

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads, and has begun hearing cases from Threads.

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses