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SAP Canada channel chief puts on the pressure

Channel StrategySAP

Weeks after SAP significantly overhauled its PartnerEdge program introducing new partner levels and a unified reward structure, Canadian channel chief Rob Stevens has issued a directive to SAP Canada solution providers to start addressing the line of business opportunity or risk being left behind.

“The channel shakeup at SAP Canada is well underway five months into my tenure. Realizing that 80 per cent of SAP revenue in Canada comes from nine key partners, I’ve informed them of the need for increased coverage in one-to-two line of business solutions, outside traditional ERP, to avoid getting left behind,” said Stevens, the vice president of general business and partner channel network at Toronto-based SAP Canada.

The strategy behind Stevens’ directive is the fact that business apps have evolved and SAP’s increased solution portfolio means the top nine channel partners today could look completely different to the top nine in a year’s time, mostly because of increased demand for SAP solutions like hybris, Ariba, Concur and SuccessFactors.

Rob Stevens

Rob Stevens

“There are currently 39 partners on SAP Canada’s VAR list, representing all our solutions and acquired technologies. I’m looking to SAP’s top line of business partners to create a plan to meet demand in high growth areas. ‘True cloud’ is a huge factor (not just some version of private cloud), as well as key business solutions that help companies grow efficiently and profitably,” he said.

This directive lines up with the significant changes to the PartnerEdge program. Those changes include channel partners earning credit for total SAP business. Also the new eContracts attempts to reduce paperwork a partner is required to do to receive those rewards.

The changes to PartnerEdge was describes as the most significant in the 10-year history of the program and was targeted at address the new market trend of digital transformation. SAP instead is offering a one-holistic partner management model revolving around four engagement types: build, sell, service and run.

Channel partners can stick to one engagement or do as many as they can and all is counted towards the solution providers rewards.

Partner tiers also changed. SAP dropped the Bronze level and will now run with just three: Silver, Gold and Platinum. SAP did introduce an additional layer called the Open Ecosystem, where solution providers who are considering becoming an SAP partner and partners who want to expand their SAP services and offerings can try it out or check into a new engagement level without a financial commitment.

Currently Stevens leads a network of partner-based selling teams that own more than 90 per cent of all current SAP sales opportunities in the subsidiary’s general business segment.

“This encompasses the entire market of customers with less than $1 billion in annual revenues, which means the channel has never been more important to SAP. Getting the right partners delivering predictability and excellence in execution is critical.”