Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) play an important role in SAP’s overall strategy, with the market being its fifth largest in terms of cloud revenue.
This is according to Damien Bueno, president and managing director of SAP A/NZ, who also said partners from the A/NZ region are crucial, as they are “absolutely critical to our growth and ambition”.
“We certainly punch above our weight in terms of the addressable market, being the fifth-largest cloud revenue market that SAP has,” Bueno said to ARN.
In order to support this community, the A/NZ MD said there’s both a need and demand to tackle the ongoing skills shortage in the IT industry.
“We need to educate people in tertiary and secondary education to the possibilities of what SAP can do, what it does for enterprises,” Bueno said.
“That requires effort in helping people understand the potential and opportunities as pathways around a career in SAP, either as a developer working in a company that's developing IP [intellectual property], a partner implementing for customers or an organisation that wants to focus on implementation and resell.
“I don't think we get that by happenstance; we get it by investing in skills, putting people into universities and helping to grow the economic pie for everybody. That's a very important focus for us.”
That focus on skills has culminated in a number of different ways, Bueno continued, such as a global program with Coursera, of which A/NZ participants make up 7 per cent of participants, as well as other programs through the University of Victoria in Victoria and TAFE in NSW in Australia.
Building these skills up then pushes through to SAP’s desire in fostering needed skills in both existing partners and new partners entering its ecosystem.
“We feel we are investing both in partner recruitment as well as partner development; development inside of those new partners that we're building and at building the right skills and the transition that we're making inside of our existing partners such that they continue to grow in their skill state current against the demand that we see in the marketplace,” Bueno said.
“Therefore, as we get more sophisticated in the way that we define our channel we take a very multifaceted approach to recruiting.
“So, recruiting can be in the form of IP-based partners that are innovating on our platform so that they resell through our global SAP store or partners that we recruit and we develop who are implementing and those that we recruit and develop that are selling and reselling.
“Therefore, with those customers, we're looking a lot at how we develop joint marketing programs. How do we develop joint lead-generation activities? How do we really accelerate the ability for them to be successful?”
This cultivation of its partner ecosystem is what Bueno referred to as his “secret sauce” and is where the software vendor is looking to invest, rather than recruiting more salespeople in the region.
With that being said, however, Bueno added that in order to enact his plans, his short-term focus is on getting the right teams set up to secure the necessary funds for training and development.
If everything works as it should, Bueno said that by 2025, SAP will see at least 20 to 25 per cent of its annual revenue, if not more, generated through the channel.
The software vendor's moves to focus on skills for its local partner base come months after it released its Regional Strategic Services Partner (RSSP) initiative to boost partners in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region that are on a rapid growth trajectory.
At the time of the initiative's launch, SAP said it would provide strategic support to eligible partners, which may include coordinated industry-aligned solutions, joint go-to-market strategy and access to SAP regional and market unit industry expertise.