New Global Partner Operations organization to strengthen channel role: SAP

Rodolpho Cardenuto, head of SAP's new Global Partner Operations group

Rodolpho Cardenuto, head of SAP’s new Global Partner Operations group

SAP has announced the formation of a new Global Partner Operations (GPO) organization under co-CEO Bill McDermott. Led by Rodolpho Cardenuto, the GPO will focus on driving Board-sponsored initiatives through strategic SAP partners and accelerating the company’s growth through new and existing sales channels.

In addition to the responsibilities of the company’s existing Ecosystem and Channels team, the new GPO organization will also manage SAP Business One, the OEM business and the company’s overall strategic partnerships around the world.

SAP is presently undergoing some executive turnover, with one of the two co-CEOs, Jim Hageman Snabe, departing the company on May 21, Bill McDermott assuming the CEO position then in his own right, and senior execs like Vishal Sikka, who had responsibility for development and delivery of all products, and Shawn Price, SAP’s president of global cloud, leaving the company. But SAP is stressing that the channel moves are not part of that process, and that the new organization does not take any authority away from the existing SAP channels organization. Cardenuto replaces Mark Ferrer, who had been in that job since September as overall channels boss, owning all partner types, including ISVs, OEMs, cloud partners, and technology partners. Ferrer, however, isn’t going anywhere.

“Mark has done a phenomenal job in this channel role, but he also had two jobs, the other being Chief Operating Officer of Customer Operations,” said Kevin Gilroy, senior vice president and general manager of global indirect channels and SME at SAP. “Since he was also COO, he was in a good position to advocate for the channel.” As before, Ferrer will report to Robert Enslin, president of Global Customer Operations and member of the Executive Board of SAP AG.

Gilroy said that his own role remains exactly as before, with responsibility for the reseller channel, distribution, and the SME and midmarket, except that he now reports to Cardenuto, who inherits all of Ferrer’s channel responsibilities. Although Cardenuto spent the past year as president of SAP Americas, he has spent most of his career in the Latin America region, so may not be well known in the channel in the U.S. and Canada. He does, however, have a proven track record of channel success, with double-digit growth for 12 consecutive quarters in the Latin America region, and Gilroy, who knows him well, says he is a strong channels guy.

“I worked with Rodolpho at HP, and he knows channels really well,” Gilroy said. “He has channel DNA and a very positive attitude.”

“The formation of our new Global Partner Operations organization is key to driving scale and adoption of the SAP Cloud powered by SAP HANA,” said Bill McDermott, SAP’s co-CEO. “Rodolpho will engage with a vibrant and open ecosystem of more than 11,500 companies worldwide to unlock the potential of every customer to become a best-run business. Rodolpho’s appointment shows that our bedrock commitment to the spirit of partnership with the SAP ecosystem has never been stronger.”

Gilroy said that the creation of the new organization reporting directly to the CEO will be a major plus for the channel.

“Other major vendors have the channel reporting directly to the CEO,” he said, “It’s a signal how important the channel is now at SAP, and it’s something that will elevate the partner community.

Gilroy also thinks McDermott will have an open ear to the GPO.

“Bill  McDermott is the reason I joined SAP,” he said. “He convinced me they were serious about channels.”

Gilroy said the partners he interacted with before will see continuity, with no change in their dealings with SAP because of the change.

“We will also continue to expand our cloud and recruit new partners who want to get on board with SAP in the cloud,” he added.

This article originally appeared on eChannelLine.