SAP is revamping its channel strategy to capitalise on strong growth (see story below).
Until now SAP had split its business into direct and indirect sales with an arbitrary line in the sand, but that barrier is about to be removed and more power given to partners.
Alex Morcom, partner alliances manager, says Asia-Pacific is SAP’s fastest growing region and to maintain that growth the company needs to become a channel-led organisation.
“SAP will invest strongly in partners and give them more high-profile opportunities. It’s a strong structure that will deliver well for the company and I’m looking forward to getting it there,” he says.
As part of the restructure, direct sales executives will be given a territory stretching up and down a vertical market and have a partner assigned to them.
Morcom explains this will give SAP strong sales resources right through the vertical market and the company can provide pre-sales resources.
“Behind this is a new enablement process to upskill existing partners and work on co-branded marketing campaigns.”
At the same time SAP will bring at least two new partners into the fold to fuel growth for its All in One offering.
“I’m really happy with where BusinessOne is headed as we have a good set of partners, such as Enprise, that are developing skills around it, but All in One faces some challenges,” says Morcom.
SAP currently has three All in One partners: Realtech, Intelligroup and Tango.
“We need very influential partners with good brands, a strong customer base, high reputation and the ability to build complete solutions. That way they can take MySAPAll-in-One software, build a solution that’s either horizontal or enter an industry vertical, bundle it with the hardware and support and put a really good sales and marketing team and consultants behind it,” he says.
According to Morcom, existing partners are excited about the new strategy.
“SAP is giving them more opportunity and partners are going to double the number of deals they did last year.”
Nick Mulcahy, Intelligroup mid-market business manager, welcomes the change.
“I felt the previous structure was rather silly because the New Zealand market is so small. It makes sense to work closely with the SAP account managers rather than potentially competing with them in the market,” he says.
On the other hand Mulcahy isn’t delighted about more partners coming on board.
“I’m not overly excited but I suspect they will fill niche areas and won’t take away business or marketing dollars from Intelligroup. I doubt SAP will do a Microsoft and have every man and his dog competing for the same business.”
Tim Woolfield, Realtech managing director, agrees the channel overhaul is a positive move.
“It’s a good strategic move, particularly in this market. I believe the environment will be much more collaborative,” he says.
Woolfield says the addition of two extra partners doesn’t especially bother him.
“The focus shouldn’t be on other partners but on delivering good results to prospects.”