Business Objects aims channel at cross-selling opportunities

Business Objects aims channel at cross-selling opportunities

Local chief says it will continue to operate its partner network separately to SAP's for now but look for cross-customer sales as area of growth

Business Objects and SAP will continue to run separate channel networks short-term but are pushing cross-selling opportunities as a key area of partner growth.

Business Objects vice-president and managing director A/NZ, Rob Wells, said the merger had opened up new avenues for its partners within SAP's customer base. Currently, the number of customers buying from both vendors sits at 30 per cent.

"There are good opportunities in the marketplace for the Business Objects partner community and that's because SAP customers are much more attuned with the Business Objects brand and looking at how that can help them," he said.

"All of the marketing is joint marketing now as well. One of the programs we have recently been driving is aimed at the All-In-One SAP customer community and getting them to look at the Business Objects Edge products. That's an opportunity for our partners because they have the skills around that technology."

SME was another key area of growth pursued by SAP which tied into Business Objects' strengths, Wells said.

"SAP's All-In-One has a great deal of synergy with our Edge brand, which targets that mid-market," he said. "SAP is looking to get better traction in that space. And our experience is quite relevant there."

About 35 per cent of Business Objects' revenue in Australia comes from channel partners. Wells said it had 31 local solution providers including SA-based MHM and Praxa.

The vendor also has OEM relationships and partners with Ingram Micro and ACA Pacific to distribute its Crystal Reporting product suite. The entire partner structure remains unchanged, he said.

Earlier this year, SAP announced Business Objects partners could participate in its Edge partner programs. At the time, the two vendors shared one only common channel partner in New Zealand.

"Rather than waiting until we had worked out how to combine the two programs and make them synchronous, we have let each type of partner come into the other vendor's partner community," Wells said.

On the flip side, Business Objects has brought six SAP partners into its VAR network since the acquisition, he said.

The two vendors will bring their respective channel programs together in the future, according to Wells, but he was unable to say when.

"The important thing is we don't inadvertently weaken the program by blending them," he said.

SAP announced plans to acquire Business Objects for $US6.8 billion last October and closed the deal in January.

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