Our clear partner strategy continues to propel the objective of growing together: Vivek Malhotra, SAP India

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In converstion with CRN, Vivek Malhotra, Vice President, General Business, SAP Indian Subcontinent, talks about the new customer engagement opportunity that the company has created for partners. 

How can channel partners of SAP leverage Partner Packaging Factory to drive better customer engagement and create innovative solutions for customers?
We have created an exciting new customer engagement opportunity for our partners with the SAP Partner Packaging Factory. It is an industry-first online initiative that aggregates end-to-end SAP packages developed by partners. It thus provides them an opportunity to set up a one stop shop for our customers who can easily evaluate SAP solutions and fast-track their digital transformation journey. By building packages to include SAP software, services, maintenance in addition to hardware, it enables them to offer a combination of self-serviced assets and best practices.

How does this announcement / initiative reiterate your commitment towards the channel community?
Our partner network is a key component in our efforts to simplify our customers’ technology landscapes and improve the lives of people everywhere. This community is also crucial for the success of our customers and we are fully committed to their growth. The SAP Partner Packaging Factory is an extension of that very commitment. It provides unique opportunities to our partners to reinvent business models, drive volumes and enhance revenues. Our clear partner strategy continues to propel our objective of growing together.

What sort of efforts being to put towards partner scalability and enablement? How are you supporting them to capture new growth opportunities?
We know what the top priorities for our partners are — business growth, cost reductions, improving efficiency, productivity and customer loyalty. Our robust partner strategy is geared towards these priorities and is designed to enable them to grow their business sustainably. Our award-winning partner program, SAP PartnerEdge, gives them everything they need to build and grow a successful SAP business. We offer Market Development Funds to help our partners promote their businesses and in marketing demand-generation activities. We provide our partners tools, resources and training to help them scale their business and as well as help them be updated on the latest opportunities offered by the market.

Key channel investments being made to drive growth of SAP in India?
Our success in India is tightly wound around the success of our partners. Currently, an estimated 2 lakh SAP consultants thrive within our partner ecosystem which contributes approximately USD 8 billion in revenues. Considering the recent economic developments in the country, there will be an industry wide requirement of experts, especially in the channel partner community, who will be able to help SMEs transform digitally. Understanding the urgency to fulfil this necessity, we recently announced our commitment to skill, reskill and upskill 1.5 million SAP consultants to plug this digital gap by 2020.

We thus invest in all the avenues necessary to achieve our collective goal of growing together. We invest in support of development of partner sales and consulting skillset through focused training modules as part of initiatives such as SAP Partner Sales Academy, SAP Presales Certification Drive and SAP Platinum Academy. We want our channel partners to be more equipped and capture the market opportunities by addressing the future digital needs of our customers and prospects. To support this, we invest in knowledge sharing capabilities and initiatives such as the Partner Advisory Board that aim to drive business with partners for mutual benefit.

In this digital disruption era, how has the role of partners transformed? What sort of opportunities being created for channel in the digital age?
In the current digital age, the role of partners has expanded considerably. They are joining forces with us & our customers to co-innovate and build upon our technology. Our best-in-class technologies and platforms augments the capabilities of its partner ecosystem to co-innovate. The SAP Partner Packaging Factory is an example of a recent offering for the digital era. This synergistic collaboration by SAP and partners result in new offerings and solutions for the digital era that enhance customer success.

What are your plans to attract next-gen solution providers / new age partners?
We want our potential partners to become leaders in enabling organizations reduce complexity and stay ahead in the competition; and our SAP PartnerEdge program is designed to help the next-gen solution providers achieve that. We provide Business Development Funds to eligible partners which are investments, based on a business plan, intended to help them jump-start revenue growth. The new age partners understand that partnering with us gives them the opportunity to develop and market a comprehensive, growing portfolio of solutions; while enhancing service offerings and the best possible value to their customers.

Any plans to expand channel to capture opportunities in the MSME sector?
Currently, close to 80% of SAP customers in India are SMEs the majority of which are facilitated by SAP India’s partners. Our extensive partner network are our conduit to expand deeper into the country and extend to non-metro locations, where MSMEs operate. As part of the channel strategy expansion plans, we are on track for 100% partner-led go-to-market strategy for our SME business. With all our partner-focused initiatives and MSME specific solutions like SAP Business One, SAP Business ByDesign and SAP Ariba, MSMEs across 26 industries can run smoothly and this will enable our partners to grow & manage the volume of the business in a competitive way.


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