SAP Will Look To Partners To Spur Its Sales Of Anywhere Apps In The U.S.

SAP will be counting on its channel partners, especially those that work with the vendor's Business One software, to market the company's new SAP Anywhere front-office applications when they become available in the U.S. next year.

The cloud-based Anywhere applications, unveiled at the SAP Sapphire conference in May, went live in China last week and are slated to go live in the U.S. in the first half of 2016.

SAP, based in Walldorf, Germany, laid out its channel plans for Anywhere during a webcast Wednesday in which channel chief Rodolpho Cardenuto offered an update on the vendor's channel initiatives.

[Related: SAP Reports Solid Q3 Growth In Cloud, S/4 HANA Sales]

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"We are the net-new-customer engine for SAP," Cardenuto said, noting that the company's Global Partner Operations (GPO) unit, of which he is president, was responsible for 1,932 of the 2,000 new customers SAP recruited in the third quarter.

Once largely known for selling ERP and CRM applications to large enterprises, SAP has ramped up its sales and marketing efforts toward small and midsize businesses. Those are accompanied by a vigorous partner program that has recorded growing sales in recent years.

The third quarter marked the fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth for the GPO, Cardenuto said.

Earlier this year, SAP unveiled S/4HANA, a new generation of the vendor's flagship business applications suite. On Wednesday, Cardenuto said the GPO in the third quarter accounted for 60 percent of S/4HANA sales.

Paris-based systems integrator and IT consulting company Cap Gemini, one of those global SAP partners, works with the S/4HANA software, using it as a platform for cloud computing services. "It's really a cloud-first conversation now," said Eric Yuan, North America vice president and SAP alliance leader at Cap Gemini, speaking during the webcast about S/4HANA demand.

Following plans outlined at Sapphire, SAP has been overhauling its 10-year-old PartnerEdge program. This week the company showed off the expanded dashboard capabilities of the PartnerEdge website with new capabilities for managing marketing campaigns and tracking sales activities.

During the third quarter, sales of SAP Business All-in-One, a set of ERP applications targeting midsize companies, grew 11 percent year over year, the company reported, while sales of SAP Business One grew 20 percent. Both are sold through channel partners -- Business One exclusively.

The new SAP Anywhere software for small and midsize businesses (those with 10 to 500 employees) includes front-office applications for e-commerce, CRM, digital marketing, customer support, mobile point of sale and inventory management.

Nearly 50 early-adopter customers in China are already using Anywhere, SAP said, and the cloud apps are now generally available in that country through China Telecom, one of that country's three major telecommunications companies. SAP chose to launch Anywhere in China because e-commerce is bigger in that country than anywhere else, said EJ Jackson, SAP senior vice president and general manager of Anywhere, during the Wednesday webcast.

In addition to the U.S., Anywhere is slated to become available in the U.K. in the first half of 2016, and Jackson said customers who use Business One to run their back-office operations are potential customers for the Anywhere applications, making them good prospects for Business One partners.

"I think the majority of Business One partners should be able to embrace and begin selling Anywhere in pretty short order," Jackson said. "It's new revenue opportunities for partners."

Cardenuto agreed, saying that selling Anywhere to run on Business One could be "low-hanging fruit" for partners.

Navigator Business Solutions, a Salt Lake City-based solution provider and gold SAP partner that works with Business One, has already signed up to be an early adopter Anywhere partner and is now prospecting for a few initial customers, said president and CEO Grant Fraser, in an email to CRN. "It fits well into our cloud strategy, so we are excited about it, along with the SAP Business One Cloud for HANA offering," he said.