SAP Names Exec To Lead North American Channel Efforts

SAP has named John Graham, a 10-year veteran of the software company, to take on many of Kevin Gilroy's North American channel duties following Gilroy's promotion to an international channel role.

Graham, now senior vice president of North America volume markets and public sector, is responsible for driving SAP's regional volume sales business, according to the company. He is taking over responsibility for developing strategies for small and midsize enterprise (SME) sales in North America and managing channel, OEM and distribution sales.

Graham also is taking on responsibility for sales through system integrator partners and managing relationships with third-party software developers. ISVs generate $250 million in annual sales for SAP in North America.

"I think this gives me a really good opportunity to leverage my background here at SAP," Graham said in an interview, referring to the other channel-related posts he has held. "I think I've got a really good sense for the partner channel and the ecosystem as a whole in North America."

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Graham, a Minneapolis resident, previously was regional vice president for North America line-of-business solutions. During his tenure at SAP he also served as senior vice president of SAP's ecosystem and partner group, senior vice president of the territory sales organization, vice president of sales global alliance accounts for the Midwest, and national vice president of CRM sales.

One aspect of those positions involved working with resellers of SAP's Business All-in-One and BusinessOne applications, Graham said.

As part of his added responsibility for the public sector, Graham sees opportunities to leverage SAP's partner base to expand sales to state and local governments.

Graham reports to Robert Courteau, president of SAP North America. Before joining SAP he worked for CRM application vendor Siebel Systems as vice president of sales for the Midwest region, and before that he held a number of sales management jobs with Oracle.

Gilroy and Graham are in New Orleans this week where SAP is holding its annual field sales kickoff meeting. The channel now accounts for about 25 percent of SAP's global sales, and company executives have said they want to grow that to 40 percent of all sales by 2015.

Gilroy has been with SAP for two years, joining in January 2010 as vice president in charge of channels and business development for SAP's small and midsize business organization in North America.

In an interview, Gilroy said he is already planning trips to Europe and Asia in coming months where he will meet with channel partners and SAP channel management managers. "Listening will be my 100-day, No. 1 objective," he said.

"Being in the channel, you've got to be in front of the partners, in front of the internal folks, and you have to be advocating for them in [SAP global headquarters] Waldorf, [Germany], and around the world. And I plan on doing that.

"My goal at the global level will be to add value to the regions; regions like [Graham's] are my customer. And I'm going to listen to them, listen to the partners, listen to the employee base, and understand what we need to deliver for the 21st century channel model and architecture that is delightful for our customers, delightful for our partners, and delightful for our employees."

One priority for Gilroy will be building up the channel for SAP BusinessOne, the company's application set for small businesses. "Our [BusinessOne] practice is something I'm going to spend a lot of time on," he said. "I think it's a very powerful product for the volume market, for the small to medium market." While he said sales have been growing, he said the product's potential has been "sub-optimized" because SAP hasn't built out "an aggressive channel" for the software.

Gilroy also said he would spend time expanding the team that manages channel sales for SAP's cloud computing products.