SAP plans “big leap” into channel for 2012

Business software vendor SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) will take another step in its evolution from a direct-first company by opening up the entire Canadian enterprise market, with the exception of 150 named accounts, to its indirect reseller channel.

It’s the next step in a process that first saw SAP focus its channel efforts in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), opening that space up to the channel and then deciding to lead entirely with the channel in that segment. That was followed last spring with the Greenfield program, which saw some 500 enterprise prospects in Canada reserved for the channel. Now, with the exception of the 150 named accounts, all of the Canadian market is open for SAP partners. It amounts to over 8000 net new accounts for the channel.

“We’re continuing to evolve the channel, and 2012 is going to be a big year for us,” said Mary Peterson, national director, channels with SAP Canada. “This year we’ll take a big leap of expansion into the channel.”

SAP has set a worldwide goal of driving 40 per cent of its global revenue through the indirect channel by 2015 (the internal goal is more ambitious, at 50 per cent). The current figure is around 20 per cent, and Peterson said the Canadian number is similar.

It’s a big challenge, and to prime the pump, in 2011 Peterson said SAP doubled its channel feet on the street by growing with existing partners, and recruiting new partners to fill key gaps in geography such as Western Canada and Quebec, technology priorities such as analytics, and key industries such as financial services, oil and gas, the public sector and health care.

“Now, in 2012 we’re taking a big leap into channel expansion because we know this is what we have to do to achieve our targets in 2015 and it’s the only way to maintain our growth,” said Peterson.

With a lot of new ground now open for the channel, partner enablement will be key, and Peterson said the steps taken in 2011 have helped to ensure SAP’s existing partners are ready to capitalize on the opportunity.

“The challenge, but also the excitement and opportunity is building the channel and enabling them quickly enough,” said Peterson. “We’re going through major boot-camps and partner training right now to get new partners up to speed with the wave of opportunity.”

SAP will rely on its traditional SAP and Business Objects partners to drive this growth in the enterprise space, helping them to drive more business by leveraging their already influential positions in the market. But Peterson said they’ll also be working more with larger consultancy partners such as IBM and Deloitte, and a closer relationship with tier two distribution is also in the works.

Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.

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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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