#25 Newsmaker: Conrad Mandala of SAP Canada

For a vendor working to overcome a history and a reputation for being a direct-first company, 2010 saw continued progress building channel capacity, investing in channel programs, and convincing the community that SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) is serious about being a channel-centric company in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) segment.

Leading that effort in Canada is Conrad Mandala, as vice-president, SME for SAP Canada. One of Mandala’s biggest challenge is convincing partners and customers that SAP isn’t just for the enterprise, but is for SMEs as well.

SAP found success making that case this year with the Fast Start for SAP Business All-in-One program, which promises to get an SME customer up and running with SAP in just 30 days.

The Fast Start tool allows channel partners to configure SAP Business All-in-One online and immediately obtain a cost estimate for pre-tested, preconfigured software and hardware.

In addition to a quicker and easier implementation for the customer, Mandala said the program also sees partners get to revenue sooner.

“The cost of selling typical ERP systems is weeks, if not months of demos. If the premise is true that the software works then let’s move to a show and tell piece and accelerate the sales process,” he said.

SAP also signaled a stronger commitment to the channel in 2010 with the hiring of former HP channel chief to lead SAP’s channel push in North America.

Between Mandala, Gilroy and Pat Hume, the former IBM channel chief who now leads SAP’s worldwide channels, the vendor has a core of key channel veterans that are pushing SAP to go even deeper on the indirect side, which is ultimately good news for the channel.

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