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SAP Partner Organization Overhaul Nearly Complete

SAP's Kevin Gilroy speaks with CRN about SAP's mantra of simplicity and how it will be reflected in the channel organization's contracts, financing and maintenance agreements.

One month after SAP unveiled a major restructuring of its partner organization, the company is still working out the final details of its channel operations. But a channel executive says the organization is coming together.

"I think we'll have it all wrapped up in a few weeks," said Kevin Gilroy, whose current title is senior vice president and general manager, global small and midsize enterprise segment and indirect channels, in an interview at last week's Sapphire Now conference in Orlando, Fla.

SAP launched a major overhaul of its channel programs earlier last month, creating the Global Partner Operations (GPO) organization and naming Rodolpho Cardenuto, previously president of SAP Americas, as the company's new channel chief reporting directly to CEO Bill McDermott.

Cardenuto spent the following weeks communicating with managers and employees of the new GPO to make sure everyone understood their roles. Those meetings continued at last week's Sapphire and nearly all of the pieces are now in place..

"Everyone knows who they're working for. People know what their role is. Everyone knows what our mission is," Gilroy said in the interview. And everyone knows what their key performance indicators are, he added.

Like SAP as a whole, the company's channel efforts and PartnerEdge partner program are now focused heavily on cloud computing and the vendor's HANA in-memory computing platform.

And in keeping with the marketing message of fostering simplicity in computing, the channel organization will "drive simplicity into everything we do and make it a competitive weapon in the marketplace," Gilroy said. SAP, for example, will push the simplicity concept into its channel contracts, financing and maintenance agreements, he said.

One of the most significant changes to SAP's channel efforts is the creation of two operations within the GPO. One, managed by Gilroy, will oversee more traditional resellers including single-tier VARs and resellers managed through distributors, global resellers such as Cap Gemini and CSC, and other channels.

That pretty closely matches Gilroy's current duties, although he said one of the details still to be worked out is his new title.

The other GPO organization, managed by Kevin Ichhpurani, senior vice president and head of business development and strategic ecosystem, is charged with managing relationships with SAP's ISV, OEM, other strategic technology partners and services partners. Ichhpurani is focused on building a partner ecosystem for all SAP business platforms, including HANA, as well as managing joint sales with strategic partners and co-innovation efforts with partners.

Along those lines, Tuesday SAP unveiled additions to its PartnerEdge program that allow ISV partners to build both on-premise and cloud applications using the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. Developers, for example, can leverage pre-configured ERP applications from the SAP cloud system to develop and test the back-end integration capabilities of their applications.

"This gives us access to the HANA environment and allows us to use the entire HANA development platform," said Stefan Hilger, co-CEO of Gicom, an SAP partner based in Overath, Germany, that develops applications for the retail industry that run on SAP software.

Hilger, in an interview, said the ability to tap into HANA cloud for software development and testing offers Gicom more flexibility to pay for the capacity it needs, rather than purchasing hardware and on-premise software for those operations. And the cloud services can be used to provide prospective customers with application demonstrations.

"It's really a competitive advantage for us," he said. "No other software vendor has a similar advantage such as SAP provides us."

SAP also said that under the program enhancements development partners could now embed SAP technology, such as SAP database and business intelligence software, into their own solutions under their own brand.


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