SAP issues a business challenge to the channel

“There is nothing like a challenge to bring out the best in man.”

That’s a quote from James Bond himself actor Sean Connery. And, issuing challenges is nothing new in the business world or IT channel world. Does anyone remember Bill Gates challenge to Steve Ballmer to obtain an operating system moments after he just sold one to IBM? Yesterday SAP challenged its network of channel partners to be more innovative.

According to SAP, the technology world is seeing greater convergence of cloud, big data, mobile and social. All these newer technologies are drastically changing the way that companies operate on a day-to-day basis. Many businesses have found exceptional ways to tap into these technologies to produce innovative solutions that alleviate pain points. SAP wants to hear from businesses and individuals around the world how they make this happen and have partnered with management expert Gary Hamel to launch the SAP Unlimited Human Potential M-Prize – a global competition to determine the best hack or case study to show how organizations and individuals have tackled the challenge of creating more leaders within a company.

SAP is trying to encourage channel partners to submit case studies for what their business does to create a significant impact within their organization and beyond. Submissions should show how channel partners are inventing radically new approaches to organizing, competing, and creating advantage for their teams through the use of these technologies. Winners will receive a variety of prizes including a mentoring session with SAP Ventures, a design thinking workshop with SAP Labs or potential to win up to $50,000 from SAP Ventures for a new start-up. SAP said that with less than 20 per cent of employees truly engaged in their work, this contest could have profound implications for leadership, management and workplace organization moving forward.

What SAP is battling here is complacency in the channel. SAP is new to the channel and they might be struggling with lighting a fire under the collective solution providers they are working with.

As a company, SAP has been bold in its channel journey. Just last year the company revealed its working to create a tight collaboration with the channel team and the direct sales unit.

I think the channel can be very innovative when it wants to be. The question has always been who can spark the channel to do great things. Credit to SAP for trying.

Bring in a management guru like Hamel will give this challenge some cache. Despite giving a very positive review of Enron’s business strategy, Hamel was ranked by Wall Street Journal as one of the world’s most influential business thinkers.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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