June 19, 2012 // By: Michael Zipf
How did you perceive SAP and its ecosystem when you joined SAP in 2005?
Eric Duffaut: Well first of all, partners always have been very important for SAP’s success, since the beginning. Just listen to the stories from the early days, and you will see what I mean!
Still, when I joined SAP, we were an ERP company addressing large companies in a very direct manner and leveraging partners mostly for implementation.
When a company is like we were years ago – only addressing one primary market it won’t talk about co-innovation, because it fundamentally owns all development, and it won’t talk about partners as a route-to-market, because it controls go to market entirely. So in that sense, the role of partners was limited back then.
Eric: Well, SAP has evolved a lot, and today we are much more than an ERP and large-enterprise-focused company. For example, almost 80% of our customers are small and midsize companies, did you know that?
And of course, innovation is back big time at SAP: Looking at mobile, cloud, analytics, applications and HANA – we operate in 5 market categories and have a much more robust offering today, relevant to customers of all sizes, in all industries and in all geographies. And we can’t cover all these markets and opportunities on our own anymore. This is why we now have a “multi-channel” go-to-market model – we not only sell directly, we also partner with VARs (value added resellers), OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), hardware vendors and service partners, and with our software solution providers, of course. This translates into higher growth for SAP and of course great opportunities for our partners.
Does this show in the numbers?
Eric: Yes for sure. About six years ago, partners contributed not even 15% to our software revenue. Now, more than 30% of total SAP software revenue comes from partners. So that’s a big, big evolution, because when you look at the past few years, our revenue through and with partners grew even faster than SAP overall and hence acted as an engine of accelerated growth for the company.