SAP: Channel Maturing, Says Gilroy, Wilkinson

SAP provides an update to the growth channel program, which outlines how SAP is mobilizing its channel presence as it seeks to gain a competitive edge against rivals like Oracle in business intelligence space.

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SAP has been building out its channel, looking to accelerate partner growth and development to better tap into the marketplace. Recently, SAP made moves with a renewed effort to build out its channel, alongside the SAP’s Startup Focus Program, which SAP leveraged to find additional companies that could bring more value to the SAP platform.

It's starting to look like some of those moves are paying off. On a press call, Kevin Gilroy, SAP's senior vice president for ecosystems and channels and John Wilkinson, vice president of analytics, global ecosystem and channels discussed the growing segments of SAP's budding channel program.

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"Over the last 3 years, we've built out a very powerful channel," said Gilroy, and at this point, the "channel DNA is locked in cement in this company." However, Gilroy admitted that SAP required some serious internal evangelization to get the channel idea implanted and subsequently, get the channel program kick-started. To that end, Gilroy also noted that "we're not there yet -- we still have a phase road map," that SAP is following.

But it seems as though the important parts are falling together. "We're continuing to call out and recruit," said Gilroy, adding that many more partners are voluntarily coming to the program, which has helped the platform grow by more than 28 percent annually.

More technically:

  • SAP is set for more than 40% of overall revenue to come through the channel by 2015
  • 1100 analytics VARs are on board with two thirds as resellers of  business suites and one third selling solely  non-SAP business suite demographic
  • Resellers through distribution partners hit 2-3k active partners each year
  • Partner Edge resellers are carry more complicated software solutions
  • OEM partners are embedding specific restrictive use SAP technology into their own products

In addition, SAP is also focusing on four core improvements for the channel community:

  • extending route to market
  • increasing market reach
  • improving channel economics
  • expand channel innovation

"We're programmaticly engaging every country to find more market space for our partners...[and] engaging the 'white space," said Wilkinson. SAP now has partners in over 100 countries.

Internally, the partner program is seeing some considerable community efforts. "We are now supporting our partners to complete their [analytics] design and take it to market," said Wilkinson, noting that if a design is particularly good, you can "build once and sell many times," -- and not just to customers, but to the partner community, too. Wilkinson noted that they currently have 95 of this "rapid deployment solutions" from partners that are pre-built and ready to go and partners can choose to license those designs out on a per-partner basis, or keep it up for sale.

Wilkinson also mentioned that "one of the most popular packages we have is [the analytics] that's being built on Microsoft Dynamics. Some partners have gone out and built an 8 or 13 module solution that integrates directly with Dynamics. It's a ramp-up for them. They don't have to go through the stages of building their own solutions," said Wilkinson.

One pressing question was posed to the SAP team: Where would SAP's infamous HANA product plays out in the channel? Wilkinson noted that "every version of HANA is on the partner price list -- we've put in some interesting incentives around ares like migration of 3rd party databases and HANNA BW." Interestingly, Wilkinson also noted that "All products, in due course, will run in HANA We can see our long-term direction is to have everything run there. "

It's critically important that SAP maintains this steady growth, especially if SAP wishes to have a competitive product in this space. With that motivation in tow, SAP's moves are on the right track and aimed at rivals like Oracle Corp, ---  but the real secret for SAP will be energizing its partners and strengthening out its community. Then, SAP can truly compete without needing to completely leapfrog everyone on innovation alone.

 

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