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SAP revamps PartnerEdge channel program

SAP has retooled its channel program in the first major overhaul in a decade. The revamped initiative moves away from traditional partner types.

Today at the online SAP Global Mid-Year Partner Update event, with more than 1,000 partners in attendance, SAP announced the launch of the company's next-generation PartnerEdge program. The 10-year-old program is evolving from one that supported volume business to one that focuses on value, moving away from traditional partner types to focus on engagement types.

Calling it the most significant program change in a decade, Diane Pereira, senior director of partner communications with SAP Global Partner Operations (GPO), said that the next-generation program would roll out on Aug. 31 in a phased-in approach, with the full rollout expected in the second half of 2016.

"There's a new reality, partner business models are changing and many of you have grown and evolved your business to the point where calling you a reseller isn't enough. The days of being a pure SI [systems integrator] or value-added reseller [VAR] … are gone," she said.

With the lines blurring between partner types as the channel firms diversify their business, PartnerEdge is evolving and adjusting to the multiple ways that partner businesses are growing.

The next-generation SAP channel partner program will offer a single, holistic partner management model that puts the partner at the center, and removes the siloed approach and complexities of the past, according to Pereira.

PartnerEdge updates channel view

Gone are the traditional partner types -- i.e., VAR, SI, OEM, independent software vendor and more. These labels will be replaced with the types of SAP solution engagements that partners have with their customers, such as selling, building, servicing or running SAP offerings on behalf of a customer.

The new engagement model is designed to be flexible and provide SAP with a new way to look at a partner's business. "With this structure, your total partner contribution is recognized," Pereira said.

Pthartners could engage in one or more of the engagement types. All of a partner's activities are cumulative and count towards that partner's level and how the partner is rewarded for its business.

Additionally, new program features include standardized fees; discounts for various engagement types; a new e-contract for partners that's simple, concise and could be executed in as little as 24 hours; enablement, such as training and other resources; and the SAP-recognized Expert designation to help partners differentiate themselves in the market, according to the company.

"This new program is about how you want to partner with us, grow and be profitable," she said.

SAP also announced the SAP Open Ecosystem offering for new and existing partners. It allows partner firms to explore or test-drive a new partnership with SAP at no cost, or for existing partners to explore growing with SAP at no cost.

The vendor will give Open Ecosystem participants the option of remaining in the Open Ecosystem or becoming a full-fledged PartnerEdge program partner.

Pereira called the Open Ecosystem a try-before-you-buy concept that gives partners time to ramp up their SAP business before having to meet the full PartnerEdge requirements, if they decide sign on with the program.

Other SAP partner news

Also at today's partner event, SAP channel ecosystem participants heard Mark Aboud, global head of commercial sales at SAP, talk about how his organization is 100% committed to working with partners to drive the company's small and medium  enterprise (SME) business.

Aboud explained his organization's go-to-market model and the use of a digital sales motion and tools that include social selling, Virtual Studio for experience, and credible conversations. These tools are also available for partners.

He also noted that the commercial sales group engages with partners via 'megablitz' events to generate pipeline, demand agents to find leads and partner packages for joint go-to-market activities. According to Aboud, partner packages include software and services, which are offered to partners at a fixed cost.

"It's a joint solution between ourselves and our partners, and we jointly go to market to generate demand for them," he said.

The partner packages are very popular and partners could expect to see more of them through 2016.

According to SAP, the SME business market is poised to grow to $90 billion by 2018, representing a big and currently untapped opportunity for partners.

In other partner news, SAP confirmed that Kevin Gilroy, SAP global channel chief -- senior vice president and general manager, global small and midmarket segment -- is leaving the company. Gilroy said his farewells to partners on the online partner event. Gilroy joined SAP in January 2010 as senior vice president, North America. No replacement was named.

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Do the changes to the PartnerEdge program reflect the way the channel does business today?
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