SAP Canada names new president

When Mark Aboud joined SAP Canada (NYSE: SAP) this spring in the newly created position of executive vice-president, SME and public services, he had a mandate to build the company’s position in the SMB space, and the channel capacity needed to succeed there. As he moves into the president’s suite, he expects that focus to continue.

SAP Canada announced that Aboud has been appointed president and managing director for SAP Canada. He replaces Robert Courteau, who will continue to be based in Toronto but will now lead Business Objects operations in North America as executive vice-president, business user, SAP North America. Aboud will continue to report to Courteau.

Before joining SAP Canada, Aboud spent 12-years with rival Oracle, where one of his roles was running Canadian sales. As he assumes the president’s role, Aboud says his priority will be fulfilling SAP’s goal of being a valued business advisor to its clients, as well as continuing to build in the SMB.

“We’ve done a nice job here in Canada but we haven’t focused on it as much as we would have liked,” said Aboud. “I think that part of the business will grow as we focus more on it.”

At least in the short-term, Aboud says his old position as vice-president, SME and public services won’t be filled and he’ll continue to take the lead directly on SAP Canada’s push into the SMB space, a segment where, he noted in March, SAP is already the market leader.

“We’ve made tremendous progress in the first two quarters expanding our partner network and building our customer base, with significant growth in our indirect and direct pipelines,” said Aboud.

While he declined to disclose specific numbers around channel growth, Aboud says he expects to announce the signing of several high-profile partners in the coming months. He adds about 40 per cent of SAP Canada’s SMB business is now moving through the channel.

“Our growth in this space has been tremendous,” said Aboud.

In addition to the SMB, he notes large enterprise business has clearly been a mainstay of SAP Canada, and this area continues to be healthy.

With Courteau remaining in Toronto, SAP Canada will have a direct pipeline into him and the Business Objects side of the house, with Aboud calls a positive. While Business Objects is remaining organized as a separate company the sales teams have been integrated, a move Aboud says is already producing significant results. With the large Business Objects presence in Canada, including its Vancouver lab complimenting SAP’s Montreal lab, SAP Canada now has some 2,900 employees and two of SAP’s 10 labs, making it a disproportionately large piece of SAP overall.

Paul Edwards, director of SMB and channel strategies with IDC Canada, calls the new roles for Aboud and Courteau great moves for SAP Canada. Aboud, says Edwards, has a very good understanding of the SMB market in Canada and the fact that SAP needs to serve that market.

“It bodes well for the packaging of SAP Canada into the SMB market and the partner strategy, because I think Mark understands the importance of partners and what they mean to the SAP business in Canada,” said Edwards.

There’s always been an understanding within SAP in Canada that partners are an important part of their growth strategy, and Edwards says Aboud was one of the individuals within the organization helping to drive that direction. In Canada, SAP is starting to build its reputation within the partner ecosystem, and Edwards says with Aboud’s new position that will continue.

“I think it’s going to be a positive thing for partners interested in operating in this part of the business and driving business in the SMB space,” said Edwards. “SAP would probably be the first to admit there’s work to be done bringing-on and building-up the right partners to get at that market; that’s their direction and it’s the right thing to do.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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