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SAP Launches Partner Recognition Process Based on New Competency Framework

SAP is the latest to start recognizing partners based on skills and success, and new tiering.

Jeffrey Schwartz

September 6, 2022

3 Min Read
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SAP has begun rolling out a new partner recognition process that determines status based on customer outcomes. The new SAP PartnerEdge Competency Framework, has been in the works for more than two years.

The move marks a significant shift in how SAP ranks its partners. It’s replacing its traditional gold, silver and medallion logos. The new partner tiers are essential, advanced and expert.

SAP’s new partner recognition program comes as many IT providers take similar actions. Notably, Microsoft is changing how it designates its partners — and has faced backlash. The new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program will also phase out gold and silver designations. But Microsoft’s new program also raises the bar on the technical competency that its partners must meet.

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SAP’s Beth Glastetter

Beth Glasstetter, SAP’s senior director of partner programs, has led development of the new partner recognition process. She said partners won’t find SAP’s new designations disruptive. Similarly, SAP will recognize partners based on customer performance, considering the maturity of their practices, skills and success.

“This is not changing a requirement but an additional designation that’s meaningful to customers,” Glassteter told Channel Futures. “Think of it as more as a carrot to generate and motivate [partners’] behavior, where they’re meeting these requirements. And then we are automatically awarding them these designations.”

When a partner meets the new designations, the new logos appear in the new Partner Finder tool. Partners must still have certifications in specializations, Glassteter noted.

“But it’s not like they have to have achieved a specialization by the end of the year in order to stay an active operational PartnerEdge partner,” she said. “[It’s a] little differed from how Microsoft is moving theirs.”

Glasstetter said demonstrating partner IP will be a requirement in 2023. SAP partners will need to have project managers certified.

Competency and Specialization

SAP’s new framework segments partners by competency and specialization. The framework launched with seven competencies; those are aligned with solutions or line-of-business areas. According to the announcement, SAP measures partner performance in each competency based on their expertise, customer success and proficiency.

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Several SAP partners participated in a trial of the new framework last month. After assessing how to build out its new partner recognition program, their new designations will appear in the profiles. Among those partners who welcome the changes are Paul Viviano, VP of global alliances at Rizing, a consulting firm specializing in SAP implementations acquired by Wipro earlier this year.

Viviano said the new framework lets Rizing highlight its expertise in SAP’s seven new competencies.

“It will also help potential or existing customers properly identify the right partner to work with as they begin or continue their journey to an intelligent enterprise,” Viviano said. “We really like the fact that customers can drill down into the competencies and specializations to see the granular details behind the partner.”

A customer can view all of its global competencies, which include how many solution consultants, project managers and platform experts, Viviano noted. Likewise, they can see the number of people qualified in each of SAP’s Global Specializations and Detailed Account Specializations, which include projects globally completed by the partner.

“It is a great way for partners to differentiate themselves as well as providing the customer with the comfort they need to use a specific partner and SAP,” Viviano said. “All in all, we think it was a great move by SAP to switch to this framework, and we look forward to the success it will bring Rizing, other partners, and SAP.”

Glasstetter said next year, SAP will begin the process of sunsetting the current logos, though not before the second half.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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