SAP channel chief on board with simplicity push

Kevin Gilroy, senior vice president and general manager of Global Small & Midmarket Segment at SAP

Kevin Gilroy, senior vice president and general manager of Global Small & Midmarket Segment at SAP

ORLANDO – SAP’s channel and SME boss says CEO Bill McDermott’s push to make SAP a simpler company to deal with plays well for his constituencies. In fact, it echoes moves his group has been making for some time.

His own division has been working on making things easier for about four years, Kevin Gilroy, senior vice president and general manager of global indirect channels and SMEs, said at the company’s SAPPHIRE Now event here.

In fact, it all started almost four years ago, when a company study found that for an implementation of SAP’s A1 midmarket ERP package, partners typically had a legal costs worth about six or seven per cent of the total deal size each time out. The culprit was a common term that was being red-lined in almost ever instance, and was ultimately removed. It’s part of an effort Gilroy described to remove “non value-added costs” from partners’ processes with the software giant.

“To me, value is something somebody will pay for If it’s a process that doesn’t add value, I’m directing the team to rip it out. Fast,” Gilroy said.

About a year and a half ago, he took the case to the CEO, presenting McDermott with the contract required of a partner for a $5,000 business analytics deal a partner had done in Canada. It was a 108-page document, and Gilroy said that stuck with McDermott.

In another change, the company is changing the way it recognizes MDF, which in the past, could take up to 13 weeks for partners to get paid out.

“It’s about how we are empathetic to their cash positions,” Gilroy said. “I know we like to be paid by our partners a lot quicker than 13 weeks.”

Another change saw the company streamline processes for its partner account managers, after it found that PAMs, theoretically its most channel-facing people, were spending less than a quarter of their time with partners due to requirements for internal processes.

Gilroy said he expects the process to continue, and will be driven to continue because his team members derive part of their compensation based on both partner satisfaction numbers, and customer satisfaction levels with partner-led deals – the company needs to improve both metrics each year for executives to get their maximum pay.

Gilroy said he expects the drive to simplify the company’s partner programs and processes to accelerate under the new Global Partner Operations group announced last month and headed by Rodolpho Cardenuto. Although that change would seem to add an additional layer of complexity by introducing another layer of management Gilroy suggested that the move actually puts the company’s channel on a more even footing with direct, as the partner organization now gets what the direct business has long had, a seat at the table for the global management of SAP in the form of Cardenuto.

“I used to work with Rodolpho at HP, and he really gets the channel,” Gilroy said.

Gilro added that his role will be changing somewhat, although he was not yet able to discuss details of the changes.

“I’ll still focus on General Business [SAP’s name for SME and lower midmarket] and resellers and different routes to market for our applications. My job will just evolve a little bit,” he said.