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SAP partners its way to Q3 wins

SAP channel executives said channel partners played a critical role in pulling in new customer accounts during the third quarter.

SAP is seeing double-digit growth in on-premises software deployments and triple-digit expansion of its cloud offerings, with SAP partners supplying much of the sales momentum.

That's the word from SAP channel executives speaking today at an SAP Partner Update, which was held at the vendor's North American headquarters in Newtown Square, Pa., and also streamed online. The company discussed the channel's contribution to the company's third quarter performance, provided a status report on recently introduced cloud products and discussed the launch of SAP Anywhere. The company announced its third quarter results last week.

Rodolpho Cardenuto, president of SAP Global Partner Operations (GPO), said SAP added about 2,000 new customers during the third quarter -- 1,932 of which came through his organization. SAP partners number 13,000 worldwide.

"We are the net-new customer engine for SAP," he said.

Cardenuto cited the company's SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (S/4HANA), its next-generation enterprise software platform announced in February, as an example. He said partners accounted for 60% of S/4HANA business in the third quarter. That product may be deployed in the cloud or on premises.

SAP Anywhere includes partner angle

SAP partners are also playing a role in marketing SAP Anywhere, a cloud-based, front-office suite that the company is initially releasing in China, with the U.S. and U.K. to follow in the first half of 2016. The offering, according to SAP, targets the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market.

We are the net-new customer engine for SAP.
Rodolpho Cardenutopresident, SAP Global Partner Operations

"It is designed to enable companies, starting with 10 employees up to 500, to offer a ubiquitous buying experience to their customers," the company said.

E.J. Jackson, senior vice president and general manager for SAP Anywhere, said he expects the majority of partners who sell SAP's Business One ERP software for SMBs will be able to get up to speed and sell SAP Anywhere in short order.

SAP Anywhere encompasses sales, marketing, e-commerce, inventory management and mobile point of sale, among other functions. For partners accustomed to selling ERP, SAP's front-office offering for smaller businesses could open a new door.

"It's a new revenue opportunity for partners," Jackson said.

One partner is China Telecom, which SAP said has customized SAP Anywhere for the Chinese market. According to an article on the partnership in the South China Morning Post, China Telecom's professional services unit supports 50,000 online sellers and 40 million SMBs on the mainland.

SAP partners help seal customer wins

SAP's recent partner-driven customer wins include iMerchandise LLC, which provides business-to-business and business-to-consumer offerings to the music, entertainment and sports industries. SAP partnered with Achieve IT Solutions on the deal, which focuses on the Business One version for SAP HANA, according to Beth Walters, an SAP channel executive responsible for Business One channel sales for the East Region. She said Business One's ability to integrate with multiple e-commerce sites, real-time analytics and built-in key performance indicators helped seal the deal.

SAP, meanwhile, is partnering with Capgemini Technologies on an S/4 HANA deployment at Broad Green Pictures LLC, a feature film production, financing and distribution company founded in 2014. Eric Yuan, vice president, North America and SAP alliance leader at Capgemini, said the deal involves less than 20 users, but noted that Los Angeles-based Broad Green is gearing up for growth. He said Broad Green was interested in acquiring a digital core platform for its operations.

Yuan also noted that SAP's cloud support and vertical market emphasis also contributed to attracting new customers.

"Industry focus … is something that is critical," he said. "SAP focuses on 24 key verticals, and that is something that we continue to stress as we go to market."

Terri Snell, vice president of the Platform Solutions Group, SAP GPO, said partners are in a position to help SMB customers navigate their digital transformation projects.

"People in the [SMB] space need help," she said. "Partners can really capitalize on that."

Next Steps

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