Australia is to become a hotbed of SAP partner activity as the German software giant’s global channel market is set to hit US$260 billion by 2024.
According to Mark Hettler, SAP’s channel chief for Australia and New Zealand, the vendor is seeing increasing demand from its international partners to set up operations on local shores.
Speaking to ARN, Hettler claimed Australia is seen as a “real growth opportunity” by overseas partners, driven in part by SAP’s S/4HANA.
“In A/NZ, we’ve seen significant demand from customers for partners to support their move to SAP S/4HANA,” Hettler said. “We’re also seeing strong demand and take-up of the SAP Cloud Platform. As a result, we’ve seen a growing number of international partners looking to establish operations in Australia.”
The Department of Finance is currently in the process of migrating its services to S/4HANA, streamlining enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and use of service providers across the Federal Government.
Forming part of the Shared Services Program, the move was motivated by SAP’s decision to no longer support the ERP version currently in use by at least five hubs after 2025.
Meanwhile, Hettler claimed that the vendor expected more than 500 Australian companies to move to the new platform over the next seven years, with retail giant Woolworths being one of the most high profile users.
Globally, according to an SAP-sponsored IDC report, the vendor is expecting its cloud market opportunity to offer US$204 billion worth of opportunities for partners until 2024 and US$260 billion in total.
The research revealed SAP’s cloud revenues over the next four years will be split relatively equally between cloud and on-premises, indicating that hybrid set-ups will still feature prominently in customers’ infrastructure.
However, cloud computing will form at least 68 per cent of SAP’s total ecosystem revenue until 2024.
The report also claimed that 280,000 SAP consultant roles will be created globally between 2020 and 2024, providing roughly one billion billable hours to the partner community.
On a local footing, Hettler said positive growth could be seen in Australian partners' own investments and acquisitions in the ecosystem.
These include EY acquiring Sydney-based Plaut IT in January 2019 and Deloitte buying Presence of IT last October. One month later, DXC picked up Sydney-based Bluleader and Switzerland-based SoftwareONE acquired Melbourne-based BNW.
Hettler also cited specialist partners such as Bourne Digital, which partnered with SAP for a Melbourne experience design centre last year.
“We’ve seen increased investment by partners in the A/NZ market with the growth and increased hiring of SAP practices,” he said.
“The recent acquisitions are also a positive sign for our partners by providing evidence of good long-term prospects to other players. It also leaves space in the market for entry by new partners or for expansion by existing partners and SAP A/NZ is always looking for new partners.”
This year, SAP announced the most significant overhaul of its 14-year-old partner program, moving its 21,000-strong global partner network away from its traditional tiering model.
The announcement coincided with the launch of the vendor’s SAP for Me app, a digital automation tool designed to provide a “new learning experience” for the channel.
Hettler said that he expected both the program and the apps’ launches to drive more growth, citing its recent partnership with Honeywell as an example of this, with the two to build a new cloud platform using Honeywell’s autonomous buildings solution and SAP Cloud for Real Estate.
“Digital transformation has been increasingly important for some time, with growing demand for digitisation across enterprises,” he added. “COVID has just accelerated what was already happening – digital transformation is no longer an option, it’s a must.”