SAP seeks “aggressive” partner growth in mobile, data and cloud

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Looks to grow revenue through channel by continuing to innovate

SAP is looking to “aggressively” increase its position in the channel with more partner recruitment as it moves further into mobile, data and cloud computing .

Speaking at the SAP Forum in London, SME and channel boss for UK&I, John Antunes, said that SAP will keep innovating to stay ahead of the curve in a tough economic climate, following acquisitions of SuccessFactors and Ariba.

As the firm moves away from the traditional ERP slant of SAP’s business, this also means more opportunity for channel as the firm looks to expand into new markets.

“The channel for us is absolutely critical,” Antunes says. “In the SME space in January last year we took the decision to move to a 100 percent indirect model.”

“That decision absolutely stands and we have accelerated that this year.”

“We now do globally about 33 percent of our business through the channel.  Our vision was that by 2014 we would be doing 40 percent of business through the channel, we are absolutely on track for that.”

Five years ago ERP was the only product that SAP was selling, but now acquisitions such as that of SuccessFactors, and as announced today, Ariba, Antunes says that there is more on offer for partners to push.  In fact 70 percent of SAP’s business is currently non-ERP.

“That figure will gradually increase,” he says. “The market is being driven around three areas, HANA, mobility and cloud.”

Rather than consolidating in a tough European market as others have done, SAP, 40 years old this year, is looking to “innovate” and find new areas of growth, alongside pushing its current offerings.

“We are going to existing partners to sell more stuff, and we have also embarked on a very, very aggressive recruitment drive to bring in additional partners.

By building the business away from its ERP offerings SAP is looking to attract partners who specialise in mobility or data analytics.

This means rapid growth for SAP which didn’t traditionally operate substantially in the channel, rising from 12 percent of its business going through the channel to roughly a third in only around three years.

However he says there will be some caution in the approach to adding partners to its PartnerEdge programme.

The strategy in the channel is “partners of volume rather than volume of partners”.  Antunes says that the firm doesn’t want a raft of firms with say 80 percent of the channel “not really transacting”.

“We are not in the business of getting hundreds and hundreds of partners.  With an SAP partnership you know you are not going to be tripping over other 20 or 30 other partners which are less qualified.”

“The fact that we have got 100 percent of the SME business as indirect is a very strong message for our partners, as we are not competing with them.”

“That is quite a differentiator with our competitors where they have a dual approach, where sometimes they go direct and sometimes they go through the channel.”


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