August 13, 2008
It’s an impressive SAP ecosystem: Today there are more than 10,000 SAP partners, which were organized in heterogeneous partner programs. From independent software vendors (ISVs) and value-added reseller (VAR) partners, to service, software, and original equipment manufacturer partners, to distributors and training and hosting partners – SAP emphasizes good and qualified partner relations.
Customer value is at the center of the collaboration of SAP and its partners. By 2010, SAP wants to expand its customer base to 100,000, a goal achievable only by closely collaborating with experienced and highly trained sales partners.
With the SAP PartnerEdge program, SAP has created a uniform framework for its global partner network. The program links SAP with its partners and fosters the exchange of information among them.
SAP PartnerEdge focuses on mutual success in the SME space. This focus determines the demands on the program’s participants: substantial enterprise resource planning experience, industry knowledge, a regional market position, and a marketing orientation, as well as a self-contained unit for SME business and financial stability.
Through SAP PartnerEdge, partners can access fast-growing markets where they can offer requested software solutions. Furthermore, they benefit from shorter sales cycles, assured profit margins, and augmented know-how based on the integration with SAP and other partners.
The four areas covered by the SAP PartnerEdge program – management, marketing, sales, and technology – are completely harmonized, thereby letting all partners know what to expect from each aspect of the program and enabling them to generate business for and with SAP.
Currently, the partners are grouped into three large categories:
SAP rewards partner achievement, among other things, by the partner’s status – bronze, silver, or gold – which is based on a system of points. The number of SAP services and benefits supplied to the partner increases as the partner’s status progresses.
SAP PartnerEdge Benefits
The volume business for SAP partners is completed by Partner Service Delivery, a global organization that is regionally structured. Representatives of SAP are positioned locally in all of SAP’s sales regions. They provide partners with a single point of contact and act as their trusted advisor. They speak the language of the country and ensure that partners are enabled for the SAP business.
At present, this SAP program supports some 1,700 partners – and counting. During the last 12 months, the number of partners more than tripled. The goal is to guide all partners into PartnerEdge and support them with additional services from Partner Service Delivery.
Global Partner Operations and Services
Jörg Jung heads the organizational unit that attends to partner relations for volume business within SAP. His organization comprises the PartnerEdge team for software and service partners, the certification of partner solutions, Partner Service Delivery, and solution partners for SAP Business ByDesign. Jung says he and his team are focusing on two issues: “how to create customer value from partner collaboration and how to offer the customer innovations based on joint partner developments.”