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SAP CEO: Partners key to recruiting skilled workers

SAP wants to see at least 30,000 new SAP consultants enter the market in the near future. And partners will be the driving force behind that growth.

That’s the word from Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP Americas and Asia Pacific. My colleague Courtney Bjorlin, news editor for, just posted an exclusive interview with McDermott. She asked him if there’s a shortage of skilled SAP workers, and if so, what SAP’s doing to address that. Here’s what he had to say:

Over these next few years, we’ll add 30,000 to 50,000 trained SAP consultants. Some of that will be SAP. But we’ll be the small amount. Partners will continuously invest in these students from university. Also, hiring from the industry where a lot of these smaller software companies have failed, or companies like Oracle where the demand continues to go down, that supply will be regenerated toward SAP. It’s the partner ecosystem.

It’s nice to see a top executive at a major vendor highlight partners, even when he’s not talking to channel-specific media. That hasn’t always been the case at SAP, like back in December, when CEO Henning Kagermann told a room full of reporters that partners would have no post-sale services opportunities with Business ByDesign.

On the subject of Business ByDesign — SAP’s much-maligned on-demand offering — McDermott described it as a work in progress and said SAP’s testing it out in a sort of beta program right now.

“I would rather be a little bit late and right than a little bit early and wrong,” he said. “And that’s why we want to get this product just right, because we know we have a killer application here.”

McDermott spoke to in New York City, where SAP discussed its second-quarter financial results, which showed strong growth and led the company to increase its forecast for the rest of the year.

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