SAP Expands Cloud Partner Program With New Referral Option

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SAP is adding a customer referral option to the ways that solution providers can profit from generating sales leads for the software company's cloud products.

The new SAP PartnerEdge Cloud Choice–Referral Option comes as SAP executives plan to increase spending on the vendor's small and midsize enterprise (SME) go-to-market efforts, including recruiting additional channel partners.

Adding urgency to SAP's moves is Oracle's recent $9.3 billion acquisition of cloud application competitor NetSuite, possibly creating a window of opportunity for SAP. Also impacting the market is Microsoft's recent launch of its Dynamics 365 cloud applications.

[Related: SAP Targets Digital Transformation Projects With Its Next Generation Of The HANA Platform]

"It's going to take Oracle time to figure out the new portfolio, the new segmentation, the new positioning and the messaging to the market," said Rodolpho Cardenuto, president of SAP global channels and general business, in an interview. "It's going to be a very complex situation. I think we're going to have a window of six months [when] the market is going to be more willing to hear from us."

SAP launched the PartnerEdge Cloud Choice--Profit Option in August, the first component of what eventually will be a multifaceted cloud partner program accommodating different partner models for working with SAP's cloud software.

Under the Profit Option, now operating in 24 countries and being rolled out in more geographies this quarter, partners drive the sales cycle, including identifying customer prospects and providing post-sale implementation and support services, while SAP signs the subscription contract and handles the billing. Partners receive a percentage of the contract's value -- both for the initial year and for renewal years.

Under the new Referral Option, unveiled Thursday at an SAP SME Summit event in New York, solution providers earn a finder's fee for cloud software sales leads they bring to SAP. The fees are 10 percent of a deal's value in the U.S., 5 percent in some other countries.

Any solution provider, even those not members of SAP's PartnerEdge program, can take advantage of the offer. Solution providers have to officially register the lead with SAP to get the fee.

Cardenuto said the Referral Option, available immediately, is particularly aimed at two types of partners: inactive solution providers in SAP's partner program and solution providers who come across opportunities outside their areas of expertise.

SAP currently has some 15,000 partners in the PartnerEdge program, but only about 7,000 of them are active, Cardenuto said. The opportunity referral option, the channel chief said, offers a simple way for inactive partners to re-engage with SAP.

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