SAP plans ‘most significant’ program overhaul in 14 years

SAP plans ‘most significant’ program overhaul in 14 years

Will switch from revenue tiering model to competency based recognition structure

Emer Neville (SAP)

Emer Neville (SAP)

Credit: SAP

SAP is to embark on a mammoth, multi-year transformation of its 14-year-old partner program that will see it move away from its traditional tiering model.

The German software giant will start rolling out its so-called ‘Next Gen Partnering Model’ over 2020, putting competency recognition and ‘customer success’ at the forefront.

SAP’s 21,000-strong global partner network can expect to see a number of implemented by the end of this calendar year.

Speaking to ARN, SAP global partner organisation COO Emer Neville, said the tiers structure is no longer “as full forward looking” for today’s generation of partners.

“We can't just classify our partners into one group,” she said. “It's much more than the contribution that they will offer the customers so the benefits will be flexible. And that's our idea for the evolving program that will be released later this year.”

Neville said these benefits will largely centre on partners’ “customer success”, adding: “We’re not just going to be focusing on indirect revenue as a component which historically we would have focused on. It's really end-to-end customer success.”

SAP was unable to specify measurement metrics for this beyond revenue-sharing for renewals within its Cloud Choice program. 

Usual benefits such as marketing and business development funds, alongside rebates, will be on the table, with service partners gaining a bigger share of these funds for delivering projects. 

The vendor also plans to roll out its customer SAP for Me app, a digital automation tool, to partners. According to Neville, this will introduce a “new learning experience” to the channel.

New schemes to help partners monetise their IP with SAP through its ‘App Centre Experience’ will be on the table, which, says Neville, will give partners access to 440,000 customers.

In addition, for those transitioning to SAP S/4HANA, the company will provide reduced test and demo development fees, and intends to increase its number of consultants to help drive migrations. 

Neville added that the guiding principles of “innovation, economics and experience” would underpin SAP’s strategy as it pilots the new measures in certain markets this year.

“The reality is that the legacy of our ecosystem continues to flourish. And we have a very strong on premise business, but we have a huge emerging demand for cloud and a lot of our existing partners have bridged the transformation,” she added.

“We have a completely new set of ecosystem partners that are coming in that are expecting immediate focus on the cloud-centric model.”

SAP’s change of direction comes just months after its CEO Bill McDermott’s sudden exit, placing cloud and S/4 HANA leads Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein into the roles of co-leadership. 

However, according to Neville, the building blocks of the partner program changes have been in the works for some time.

“We've rebuilt the business,” she said. “There's new leadership within the software partner business, we've pretty much rebuilt it from a global perspective.”

“We've been working on the plans and the execution with validation from our partners every step of the way.”

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