SAP Global VP: Looking for a Few Good Partners for Cloud ERP
Claus Gruenewald, SAP’s global vice president of Global Partner Organization portfolio management, has been heavily involved in efforts aimed at helping to shape the initiative, including the recent launch of free partner access to test and demo systems on SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP C/4HANA that was first announced during the SAP Global Partner Summit in May.
This shifting focus toward encouraging partners to develop their own IP on SAP technology has also included a reorganization of the SAP Global Partner Organization, which included the appointment of Karl Fahrbach to chief partner officer — a first of its kind addition to the C-suite.
This week, Gruenewald visited SAP’s offices in Tempe, Arizona, to introduce partners to its sales team there to help them build their business. In a Q&A with Channel Futures, he gave an update on the initiative and growing demand for cloud ERP.
Channel Futures: How do you work with partners and how has that changed?
Claus Gruenewald: We have done a couple of major changes during the year. The vast majority or almost all of our VARs were the service partners, they had some very good business success in the last 10, 15, sometimes 25 years with the ERP on-premises. And since SAP is changing and the market is changing, which is very much to ERP cloud, there’s still a lot of customers who use ERP on-premises, but we see a significant shift that more and more customers small and larger are asking for ERP cloud. And they have a reason for that. It might be total cost of ownership (TCO) or it might be fast innovations. There is a reason why they ask for ERP cloud, and that has from a business model, from a service model and from a selling model meant some significant differences for us at SAP and of course for the partner. And that’s why we have adjusted the partner go-to-market, as well as also how we work with the partners, how we simplify the processes with the partners so they get quick into business. We subsidized that under the initiative Next Generation Partnering.
CF: So how does Next Generation Partnering work?
CG: In on-premises, classically the business model works where either SAP or the partner sends the software to the customer and then typically it takes quite a while until the project has been set up, all the capacity and right resources on the project and then they start the project work and they implement that project in the SMB sometimes four months. We have quicker ones, but in general, sometimes nine months depending on the complexity of the project. The cloud expectation by the customer is much quicker. The customer asks or activates the cloud product in order to have the values of the cloud product very quickly. It’s not so much the functionality depth that they’re asking for, but rather…