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SAP evolves channel program to unify partners under one umbrella

Channel StrategySoftwareSAP

In the words of Daniel Ciechanower, even using the word “revamp” to describe SAP’s update this week to its PartnerEdge program is an understatement.

The vice president of global partner operations PartnerEdge and partner experience group at SAP, says that, for starters, the new program integrates any and all partners under one umbrella.

This is a far cry from previous iterations of the 10-year program.  Designed for VARs, it “limited a lot of the kinds of partners we could have,” Ciechanower said.

As SAP’s global ecosystem grew to some 13,000 partners, and more and more asked for the benefits that PartnerEdge offered.

With Monday’s announcement, PartnerEdge will become the umbrella encompassing what will eventually all partnerships at SAP.

Depending on their capacity, such as service provider, reseller, OEM, technology partners, developer, or consultant, partners are sorted into four categories, namely Build, Sell, Service, and Run.

In many cases, partners can also fit into more than one category.

To Ciechanower, this should provide both simplification as well as “massive benefits” to partners, many of whom were engaged in different business models with the line of business at SAP.

As for benefits, they have been standardized through value points, which determine the types of discounts, the amount of free training, online tools, costs of buying or renting demo systems, the amount of deal engagement and support and more.

As for tiers, all former bronze partners have been moved up to silver, while a new “Open Ecosystem” tier has been added instead for businesses that want to try without commitment.

Within SAP, Ciechanower explained, the PartnerEdge team has been trained to understand other types of partners, and the company is also adding people who work remotely in the field.

“As an evolving organization, we try to make sure we have the right team ensure partners are growing the way we want,” Ciechanower said.

While all of this accounts for the majority of changes to the program, it remains phase 1 of the update. Phase 2 will bring the remaining partnerships, around 15 percent, into the PartnerEdge umbrella in Q1 2016, as well as create a catalogue of services and benefits for transparency.

“We expect it to be a success,” Ciechanower said.