SAP Canada to marry direct and channel businesses

Toronto – After just 60 days as the new national vice president and head of general business sales, channels and ecosystems for SAP Canada Inc., Catherine Perry-Robertson is working to create a tight collaboration with the channel team and the direct sales unit.

“In a typical organization the channel is over here and the direct sales team is over there. They have always been separate. What’s going to be unique to SAP Canada is that we are going to bring the power of the two organizations together. It’s not going to be an us versus them situation. We are going to use them as a collective team to cover the entire market,” Perry-Robertson said.

She admitted that this new approach is not natural. But, customers in the marketplace are not buying that way anymore. “Customers don’t think that way at all about procurement decisions so we are going to blur those lines,” she added.

That is not the only thing Perry-Robertson wants to accomplish. SAP is developing a Managed Cloud-as-a-Service offering for the marketplace. The details of this new offering are not yet ready to be released, but at the heart of the new concept is SAP working with channel partners and customers in a unified way to develop new revenue streams.

“This is innovative and cutting edge for both the partners and the customers,” she said.

An example of this would be a retailer with a massive supplier network who produces scorecards for each supply area. “Imagine the information on that scorecard being made available, in the cloud and on demand? It would provide tangible information to each supplier in the network. How powerful is that? Instead of providing just information on goods received you’d get rich information that you can then act upon and conceivably the retailer could charge the supplier for this insight,” Perry-Robertson said.

Distribution is another area Perry-Robertson is taking a hard look at, she said. SAP Canada has explored working partnerships in distribution in the past, but Perry-Robertson said it’s time to take it to another level to lift the value-proposition of distributors.

Perry-Robertson, who built J.D. Edwards channel business along with working at executive roles at Bell and Nortel, told CDN that SAP has evolved from the legacy days of Crystal Reports and Sybase in distribution. She believes that HANNA can add the analytical power to augment any solution from the channel that goes through the Tier-2 distribution model.

Other areas where Perry-Robertson sees growth for the channel is in BusinessOne and OEMs. The idea here is to develop unique solutions that could combine a channel partner’s intellectual property on top of an SAP solution. Perry-Robertson, who also co-founded the Business Women’s Network at SAP, said she would be open to joint go-to-market solutions with the channel.

“My whole DNA is about the channel and developing different and profitably routes to market. I want to create a value proposition for the customer to help them drive new levels of business,” she said.

SAP globally has said it wants to reach 40 per cent of its software licensed business through the channel by 2015.

In Canada, Perry-Robertson’s growth goal is to reach $100 million in channel business in two years. She said she knows that’s an aggressive figure, but that the Managed Cloud-as-a-Service offering, working with distribution, augmenting BusinessOne’s go-to-market strategy and its effort with OEMs along with partnering with the traditional channel community would help her reach this goal.

CDN conducted a wide-ranging interview with Catherine Perry-Robertson. Look for a Q&A from the Perry-Robertson interview in a future edition of CDN Now.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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