The theme of the SAP Global Partner Summit, "Partnership with Purpose,” ties in closely with SAP’s vision of helping businesses make the world run better.

July 9, 2018

3 Min Read
SAP Partner Summit

At our recent SAP Global Partner Summit in Orlando, we served up a robust menu of executive keynotes, expert sessions, partner networking and learning experiences for thousands of attendees.

My team works throughout the year to pull off this intense one-day event that is like a fast-moving Broadway production with plenty of set changes, seamlessly executed from breakfast through the end-of-day cocktail networking hour.

Our theme for the partner summit, “Partnership with Purpose,” was integrated into the content presented throughout the day, and ties in closely to SAP’s vision of helping businesses make the world run better.

Guest speaker Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO, is known for his unconventional approach to business and life, and he helped bring home the point of our theme by presenting his unique story.

SAP CEO Bill McDermott then emphasized the message with a passionate closing that highlighted the positive changes being made at SAP with an eye toward the future, and 10 key insights on which partners should focus based on that shift toward Intelligent Enterprise.

Partnership with Purpose

Purpose is not something that we thought sounded cool or picked arbitrarily; it’s an integral part of SAP’s vision. We took that messaging to our partners because we want them to be purpose-driven organizations. That’s because at SAP we know that solving big problems is what business does best, and that doing good for the environment, the economy and customers will also result in positive business outcomes for them. 

The idea of “purpose” is something that we are implementing internally at SAP, too. Our Chief Marketing Officer, Alicia Tillman, told the crowd of channel partners about SAP’s own purpose and vision that “the best-run businesses help the world run better.”

Kelsey Mason, a senior analyst with Technology Business Research who attended the event, recently wrote that the idea of this vision is meant to show that software technology is more than a process and that technology ignites innovation that can positively influence the environment, people and social topics.

Delivering Happiness 

At the SAP Global Partner Summit, Zappos’ Hsieh shared his experiences of infusing a positive, rewarding culture into his successful corporation, along with key ingredients from his best-selling book “Delivering Happiness,” which talked about how a different corporate culture can be a powerful way to achieve success.

Hsieh sold his first company to Microsoft at the age of 24, and then turned Zappos into a billion-dollar company while re-inventing the retail shoe industry. His unconventional corporate model emphasizes customer service, positive company culture and community.

What stood out for me was that Hsieh didn’t view his company, now based in Las Vegas, as an online shoe retailer. Instead, he views his company as a “service company that just happens to sell shoes”–its focus has expanded to include clothing, accessories and other products. “We just wanted the brand to be about the very best customer service and customer experience,” he told the standing room-only crowd.

I also was struck by how Hsieh, almost as an add-on to running Zappos, started the “Downtown Project,” an initiative aimed at transforming a part of downtown Las Vegas–not The Strip, but the neighborhoods surrounding The Strip– into a hub of entrepreneurial energy, innovation and prosperity. So far, the project has resulted in 165 new businesses and 1,000 new jobs, something that Hsieh seemed almost as proud of as what he has accomplished as Zappos.

If you’re interested in seeing Hsieh’s keynote, along with Bill McDermott’s closing statements, you can access a replay of the session, along with other mainstage sessions and several interviews throughout the day on the SAP PartnerEdge FaceBook page.

Want to learn more about how Partnership with Purpose is impacting the world? Visit our SAP Innovations4Good area on where you will find innovative stories of how partners are making the world run better and improving lives with SAP technology and their own touch of IP, service and more.


Ira Simon (follow me on Twitter – @IraASimon) is global vice president, Partner & SME Marketing at SAP. Learn more about partnership opportunities at:

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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