SAP sheds more light on channel role in SAP Anywhere North America go-to-market

SAP Anywhere is going to market in China through a strategic partner, China Telecom. The go-to-market strategy when it goes into general release in the U.S. and Canada in 2016 will be very different however, and the company filled in the details for ChannelBuzz.

EJ Jackson SAP

EJ Jackson, SVP and GM, SAP Anywhere

Anticipated demand for SAP Anywhere, SAP’s SMB-focused front-office suite to jointly manage sales, marketing, e-commerce and inventory activities, has led SAP to change its original plan to just have an extended launch in China. ChannelBuzz reported last week that in addition to SAP Anywhere hitting general availability in China, a UK-based pilot has already started, with a U.S. pilot following more recently. A pilot in Canada is scheduled for the first half of 2016. Now, SAP has provided some additional detail on how the product will go to market in North America.

“We are definitely seeing a lot of pent-up demand from both partners and customers, with perhaps more coming from partners at the moment,” said EJ Jackson, SVP and GM, SAP Anywhere.

While there has been much interest, there has also been some curiosity about the role channel partners will play in the North American rollout when it gets here. The China go-to-market is through a single telco partner, China Telecom, which has 40 million business customers. But SAP is stressing that as far as channel strategy is concerned, what goes on in China stays in China.

“China is different, because it’s such a vast market, that the question naturally becomes how we address it, how do we reach small enterprise in China,” said Bobby Vetter, SVP Global Partner Operations – Solution Portfolio Management at SAP. “China Telecom is a very strong local brand and you can start with this giant and build the ecosystem around this.”

Similarly, SAP is also working direct with reference customers in China, including M.R.K.T., a maker of fashion accessories which is based in L.A., but whose initial operations, and still a major part of their core, was 40 retail stores they established in China. M.R.K.T. was a reference customer at SAP’s SME Summit in New York City this week. But both M.R.K.T. and SAP stressed that the direct relationship was a situation relevant to both the pilot and to the way M.R.K.T. encountered SAP.

“Our relationship with SAP came about because of a personal relationship we had with a person on the SAP team who knew we had a problem finding what we were looking for, and said they had a project going that would help us,” said Shaun Nath, M.R.K.T’s Executive Director.

Rodolpho Cardenuto, SAP’s President, Global Partner Operations, emphasized that the unique circumstances of a pilot also made the relationship with the customers atypical.

“We had 10 people working on that with them because they were an early adopter, and we treat them with white gloves,” Cardenuto said. “We developed the product specifically for them, and other early adopters like Factory Five [a Shanghai-based bicycle factory that caters to both a B2B and B2C market]. We do believe we will need partners to reach customers with this in normal circumstances. SMEs are very fragmented, and you need specialists with industry flavour to reach them.”

SAP Anywhere is already one of the core SAP SME-focused business units, along with Business One, Business All-in-One and Business ByDesign. A key part of their go-to-market strategy will be to leverage the channels from these other units.

“That’s the strategy to leverage the channel assets of the other three product lines SAP has in this space,” Jackson said. “We are automatically in contact with their partners.”

“The Business One channel will be the first one to resell SAP Anywhere, and it also will have appeal to SAP ByDesign customers” said Dr. Michael Schmitt, Senior Vice President and General Manager, SAP Business ByDesign.

That cross-selling process will work both ways because SAP Anywhere is a CRM solution, and not an ERP solution, so is a natural fit for the ERP solutions SAP sells.

“In China so far, more than 80 per cent of SAP Anywhere customers are net-new metrics for SAP,” Jackson said. “Many of those net-new names will ask about other products, and it will be a pull through for the other products.”

Jackson also indicated that SAP plans to develop new channels where the company has not gone before for SAP Anywhere in North America.

“We are not being restricted to our existing partner system, but will invest in developing our own as well,” he said. “We ae looking at developing affiliate partners like PayPal. They presently give 15,000-20,000 leads per month to one of our competitors, and our intention is to be one of their strategic partners. We will get a lot of lead flow from similar types of affiliates. These are not a lead stream SAP products have benefitted from in the past, but we expect to with SAP Anywhere.”