Top Gun 51 Profile: SAP’s Karl Fahrbach on Becoming First Chief Partner Officer
… our technology and on top of our platforms. Partner economics means we want to make sure that we have new offerings in terms of partner programs, and in terms of partner initiatives for the partners to monetize right in this new reality. And for the partner experience, we want to make sure as well that partners can monetize with us, and therefore will make sure they have a beautiful experience.
CF: What have you delivered from that?
KF: In the area of innovation, we launched a new option that basically helps the partners to integrate their technologies and their IP within SAP. Before, we were just telling the partners, “Look, this is our technology; you can build on it.” Right now, we are saying, “If you have good IP, if you have something that you have developed that makes sense for our customers, we want to integrate that.” So, we are becoming more open in the innovation area. Another quick win that we were able to launch in the economics area was to lower the barriers of being a partner. We are lowering the cost of being an SAP partner; for some of the partners it was too high. We took that feedback and the first thing we did is we decided to give free test and demo licenses for the C/4HANA portfolio and the SAP S/4HANA cloud portfolio. After a year, test and demo systems on SAP S/4HANA Cloud will be available to partners at a significantly reduced price. Now partners don’t have to pay for test and demo licenses. That will bring the cost of partnering down. In the experience area, we have launched a number of initiatives in terms of listening more to partners on what can we improve. We actually launched a survey leveraging Qualtrics (the customer experience management platform SAP acquired earlier this year) in order to understand what matters to the partners, how can we improve and so on. And what we’re doing is now following up based on the feedback, and we are establishing feedback loops. But we actually as well are building a framework of partner advisory councils in the market, in the regions and at the global level to make sure that we capture all the feedback and that when we build next-gen partnering it says we’re going to be focused on what partners want to see.
CF: Are there other partner experience improvements in the works?
KF: We’re going to be launching very soon a lot of automation for partners so they can be autonomous when they are dealing with opportunities with SAP. If they want to order an SAP solution for their customers, all of that will be automated. That will represent a big jump in terms of the partner experience. It’s going to be a multiyear journey. And we know that because the change is going to be a very transformative – very big – we want to launch on a quarterly basis, some quick wins to make sure that the partners are feeling that we’re making good progress here.
CF: What are some of the requirements that partners need to think about in terms of adapting to the new next-gen partnering and the other initiatives? What commitments does SAP expect them to make to deliver on the promise of this?
KF: That’s a good question because we always talk about what SAP is doing for the partners, but I think the partners are playing a key role as well as part of this transformation. We can do many, many things but if they don’t change, then they will not be able to capitalize on the opportunity. As much as SAP can do, the partners will have to take on the homework for themselves and go through that journey of transformation.
CF: How would you like to see them do that?
KF: I see two key opportunities for partners. No. 1 is to address …