My visit to SAPPHIRE this year started with a day at SAP’s Global Partner Summit, attended by 800 of its 13,000 partners worldwide, where in a presentation titled “PartnerEdge 2.0” SAP Global Partner Operations (GPO) President Rodolpho Cardenuto laid out the theme of the day as: “Partners First, Simple Wins, Deliver Value” underpinned by a simple program architecture.
SAP has invested significant time and effort shifting to a channel-centric company and partners today account for nearly 80 percent of SAP’s 291,500 customers (up from 38,000 ten years ago).
Sensitive to the transformation its own partners are going through, Cardenuto said that in today’s SaaS-oriented world value must be rewarded more than volume and that “delivering value, in turn, creates more volume.”
So just how does SAP plan to simplify its PartnerEdge program and empower and reward partners that deliver customer value? Cardenuto summed that up as:
- Enhancing the Partner Select program that incorporates products designated for channel-only sales. These solutions, such as SAP Business ByDesign, are sold as fixed price, fixed scope packages. For example, SAP recently introduced SAP Anywhere, a SaaS-based front office suite for SMBs that will initially be delivered in China by China Telecom. I expect many more new solutions to make it into the fold by year end.
- Streamlining and simplifying the PartnerEdge discount structure from fifteen to five.
- Creating modular partner contracts in order to increase flexibility in supporting an expanded range of portfolio of solutions extending from cloud to mobility, the HANA database and e-commerce.
- Improving partner enablement and training for its most successful partners so that they can more easily sell and deliver these solutions.
- Creating a new simplified value-point system for rewarding partners. SAP currently has 10+ partner types—from resellers and OEMS to all types of distributors all with criteria specific to each.
- Helping SAP partners use SAP’s software in their own businesses. SAP pledged to lift past barriers that made this difficult. This will incorporate SAP’s Partner License initiative which offers partners discounts to purchase and use SAP products in-house.
So taken together we have six tangible commitments from SAP for simplifying and enhancing PartnerEdge and incenting partners to deliver value ahead of volume. We’ll be monitoring closely and analyzing the timely execution of each. Partners I spoke with at the event for the most part felt SAP had really stepped-up its game working with them over the last handful of years and were encouraged by the latest moves aimed at taking PartnerEdge to the next level. Many are keen to see what SAP comes up with to enhance the Partner Select portfolio so as to provide them with more arrows for their quiver. With strong leaders like Cardenuto—this guy exudes energy —and long-time channel experts like Kevin Gilroy at the helm of the program, I like the odds of these guys continuing to drive partner satisfaction throughout the transformation.
Topping things off it was great to see my colleague, Tiffani Bova, up on stage delivering the analyst keynote for the event. She drove home how shifting buying behaviors are driving a new buying experience and subsequently radical transformation of the channel and traditional selling skills. Beyond the program-specific content they had come for, many told me her pitch had been the highlight of the Summit over the last few years. If you get a chance to hear her, I recommend you do so—she knows how to cut right to the chase about the future of sales in both an informative and entertaining way.
Until next time..
Disclosure: Opinions are my own and do not constitute Gartner’s consensus position on any of the above topics addressed.
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