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SAP recruiting Canadian Business ByDesign partners

An analyst says the business software vendor is still deciding how best to take new technologies and applications to market

ORLANDO- With the arrival of Business ByDesign to Canada in February of this year, the SAG AG‘s (NYSE: SAP) Canadian channel leader provided some detail at the SapphireNow user conference on how the on-demand enterprise resource planning (ERP) offering for the midmarket will be pushed-out through the partner ecosystem.

Rene Giguere, national vice-president for small and medium businesses and the channel with SAP Canada, told CDN that some recent hires will be tasked with recruiting ByDesign partners. There are already six partners accredited to resell and implement ByDesign in Canada, and the goal is to have 10.

Given that Business ByDesign was made available in the U.S. in 2010, Giguere said the Canadian channel has the advantage of learning from partner experiences south of the border.

Globally, adoption of Business ByDesign has reached 500 customers, and SAP has set a goal of 1,000 customers worldwide by end of 2011. General availability of the on-demand technology was delayed until its release last year due to scalability and multi-tenancy issues.

With the acquisition of Sybase in 2010, SAP has been pushing mobility with the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP), an enterprise mobile app development and management platform for IT managers and developers.

Giguere couldn’t give detail on channel plans for SUP in Canada, except that a plan is currently being devised for the second half of the fiscal year.

“There will be lots of opportunity for the partners we have right now and there probably will be a few places where we are going to recruit partners,” said Giguere.

SAP is putting effort into ensuring the scalability of the knowledge base required to push out and support SUP, especially given that SAP’s customer base is larger in number than that of Sybase, said Sybase president Terry Stepien to ComputerWorld Canada earlier at the conference.

Part of that, anticipates Stepien, will be to implement programs that will teach partners how to build apps on top of SUP. “We feel that we are on a very good path of scaling that knowledge across other parts of the world,” said Stepien.

Similarly, with SAP’s in-memory technology, HANA, Giguere said a channel plan is in the works for the latter half of the fiscal year but no detail is available yet.

Generally, the SAP channel “business is very, very solid in Canada,” said Giguere, adding that partners working with smaller businesses report seeing increased activity after a scaling back with the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009.

Toronto-based analyst Joel Martin agreed that SAP has built a solid channel across Canada, but said the company must now decide whether to push new technologies-mobility and analytics-to the midmarket through existing accounts or bring in new partners.

“I think SAP is figuring that out right now, which one of those two strategies to go forth with,” said Martin.

This year is different for SAP, thinks Martin, because the company has come to understand the requirements for a North American channel to work for the midmarket.

Canadian channel leaders, continued Martin, are “well-positioned to show strong revenue growth this year and then bring in other solutions, whether Business ByDesign, the mobility around SUP, or the HANA solution as it makes sense into their midmarket accounts.”

What’s key, said Martin, is to introduce these new offerings at the right stages.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau.