SAP HANA opens wide to channel partners

Over the past year, SAP’s HANA business has been growing fast. And it’s now branching out even more into the channel.

On Monday, SAP AG (Nasdaq: SAP)announced that channel partners will no longer be restricted to re-selling HANA Edge, the small, entry-level version of the platform. From now on, they’ll have access to the enterprise, limited runtime and database for business warehouses editions. Meanwhile, HANA Edge is getting an upgrade and will now be available in 64 GB as well as 32 GB version.Dirk Ammermann, vice-president of SAP ecosystems and channels, said that now that HANA is out of infancy, it was the right time for the move. “Since we’re in the second year, you could say the child is kind of growing up. So, we’re opening up.”

Another benefit for partners will come in the form of a 12-month “premium certification” program that will allow them to provide first- and second-level support to their customers, he added. Previously, only SAP itself could support HANA.

As well, SAP announced two additional programs aimed at encouraging business warehouse migration over to HANA via a credit system. The first is designed for systems integrators dealing with larger enterprise clients and the second for channel partners, which Ammermann said serve 10 per cent of the 10,000 companies running the SAP business warehouse.

For the larger partners, “we now have a program where if they help us to close a business warehouse on HANA deal we provide a migration credit which goes to the end customer… and the customer can then use that credit with the service partner to kind of ease the implementation of the solution,” he said.

Channel partners will receive a similar deal, he said. “In that case, our partners actually sell the solution,” so they themselves would receive the credit.

Overall, Ammermann underscored the increasing importance SAP is placing on selling through the channel, which now accounts for around a third of its revenue. “One of the goals that we have in our 2015 plan is that we would like our partners to contribute up to 40 per cent of our total revenue.”

Liz Herbert, a principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc., said the growing openness SAP is showing to the channel with HANA was to be expected.

“There are a few directions where SAP has had a clear advantage in going through the channel where they realistically don’t have, let’s say, the tentacles to go after customers,” said Herbert.

First among these is the chance to get a crack at the SMB market,” she said. The second has to do with regional considerations. “Clearly there are many parts of the world where SAP is just not as strong and we see that there are significant regional differences in the way that SAP goes to market by geography.”The third, the ability to use the collective expertise of partners to tailor HANA to specific industries, is particularly important. She said the analytics and business intelligence community is struggling to find enough talent, and partners can help cover all the bases.

“For partners like TCS or Accenture, one of the opportunities for them with regards to HANA is to be able to create, let’s say, industry packs, or industry versions of HANA. Maybe like HANA for utilities or HANA for retail, for example.”

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