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SAP Offers Partners Free Subscriptions To Its Cloud Platform

New policy is expected to provide ISV, VAR and MSP partners with new opportunities to extend and customize solutions and services based on SAP software.

SAP is now providing free access to the SAP Cloud Platform for its channel partners, offering licenses to use the Platform-as-a-Service system for developing, testing and demonstrating solutions that run on and extend SAP software.

SAP's ISV partners stand to gain the most from the change, said Marc Monday, vice president and head of North America Channels for SAP, in an interview with CRN. But VARs, MSPs and other partners who develop customized solutions will also benefit.

"At the end of the day, this is a development platform," Monday said. "Our partners in North America are leading the way in the pivot to cloud solutions. We think this opens up a whole new category of opportunities for partners."

[Related: SAP’s $8B Deal To Acquire Qualtrics Comes Just Days After IPO Filing]

Before now SAP charged partners a fee to access the cloud platform. Under the new practice current SAP partners can renew their subscriptions to the core SAP Cloud Platform for up to 12 months at no charge. New SAP partners can subscribe to one of the options of the core platform. In both cases partners have the choice of one additional service, with up to 64 GB, provided by the SAP HANA business data platform for the SAP Cloud Platform.

Existing partners that have already purchased one of the options for the core SAP Cloud Platform or an additional service of the SAP HANA business data platform for SAP Cloud Platform will be contacted by SAP inviting them to renew their subscription, the company said.

SAP currently has some 3,700 partners that work in some way with the company's cloud systems and software. Many of them serve SAP's small and mid-size enterprise (SME) customers, defined by SAP as having annual revenue under $1 billion, that make up more than 70 percent of SAP's customer base.

"We're doubling-down on the SME segment," Monday said. He anticipated that the change in cloud platform licensing strategy will create new opportunities for ISV, VAR and MSP partners, adding that "we might not know all the potential scenarios" of how partners will take advantage of the new policy.

SAP said that over the next five years SAP partners are expected to generate nearly $200 billion in net-new revenue ("net-new revenue" being the sum of the difference in revenues between 2018 and each subsequent year. That's according to an IDC partner opportunity study commissioned by SAP.

Cloud-based activities will account for more than 60 percent of net-new revenue for partners, according to the study. And partners focused on creating and selling their own software in the cloud will grow the fastest at 24 percent between 2018 and 2023.

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