SAP Taps North America Channel Chief For Higher Post

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The executive who has been managing SAP’s North American channel organization since January has been promoted to oversee all of SAP America’s small and midsize enterprise (SME) operations.

Kevin Gilroy was named senior vice president of SME, SAP America, earlier this month. He said the move is further evidence of SAP’s increased emphasis on the channel as a vehicle for growing its sales in SME markets.

“They’ve entrusted [SME] to a channel veteran and that shows the support for the channel,” Gilroy said in an interview. “SAP is well aware that the future of SME with SAP is through a channel play, not a direct play. And that’s an important proof point of SAP‘s support for the channel.”

Gilroy is best known for his 24-year career at Hewlett-Packard, including serving as the company’s channel chief and leading its global SMB operations. Since leaving HP in 2005 he has served as CEO of OnForce and managed Arrow’s Enterprise Solutions Computing group. He was named to the North America channel chief post in January.

Gilroy has taken the post held by Tom Cooper, who is currently on leave and will be taking another post within the company in the fall. While Gilroy’s channel management post will be filled at some point, Gilroy said, “Right now I’m doing double-duty.” Gilroy now reports to Steve Winter, chief operating officer for SAP North America.

"For SAP, building a successful volume business requires us to expand our ability to deliver our products, solutions and services via multiple routes to market," said Rob Enslin, president, SAP North America, in an e-mailed comment. "Our channel business is critical to this approach. Having a senior executive like Kevin Gilroy heading our SME team will accelerate our channel strategy and increase our ability to deliver our industry solutions to more and more SMEs across North America."

In interviews shortly before and after his elevation to head of SME for North America, Gilroy said has been developing and implementing plans for making significant changes to SAP’s North American channel operations. Those include recruiting additional partners, increasing spending on channel-related marketing, and better targeting those dollars toward generating sales leads for partners.

“We’re in a complete transformation, re-engineering mode because we want to grow double-digit. We’re not going to be satisfied with market growth, we’re not even going to be satisfied with low double-digit growth. We’re looking for high-end, double-digit growth. We’re going to triple this business in the next few years,” Gilroy said.

“One tenant of our plan is to materially increase the awareness of SAP in the SME space. We need more and more SMEs around North America to be considering SAP and to really understand how powerful our portfolio is. It's not just an ERP company anymore, it’s a much broader portfolio of products. Our partners are going to see an enormous awareness campaign come up on SAP in the SME space.”


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