SAP announces new Cloud Business Partner Program

At its partner event preceding the broader SAPPHIRE conference, SAP previewed a major new cloud program, which will be implemented in three stages, the first of which will be in Q3 and the next two, next year. Details at this point were exceedingly scarce.

Rodolpho Cardenuto

Rodolpho Cardenuto, SAP’s President of Global Partner Operations

ORLANDO – Today at the SAP Partner Summit here preceding the SAPPHIRE event which kicks off tomorrow, SAP gave its business partners a preview of coming attractions for 2016. The highlight was a new Cloud Business Partner Program. Details were a little scarce – SAP admitted the program is a work in progress and much of it is still being designed – but the company is attaching considerable weight to its importance.

“SAP will be recognized as one of the cloud leaders in terms of our ecosystem, and this program will be unique in the industry,” Rodolpho Cardenuto, SAP’s President of Global Partner Operations, told the audience.

Cardenuto said that SAP has been working on this program for quite some time, but acknowledged it isn’t finished yet.

“We will launch the program in stages, with the first stage starting in Q3,” Cardenuto said. The goal is to help partners transition from traditional business to cloud business. Next year, we will launch two additional phases with more benefits for the partners.”

Specifics on what will be required, and the benefits to be offered in return, were exceedingly general at this point in the process. Cardenuto did indicate, however, that the program will operate according to a three stage process.

The first stage, prospect identification, will reward partners for finding cloud opportunities that SAP can sign up as customers. The second stage, covering presales to close, offers further rewards for leading the sales cycle, and for closing a sale. The third stage, covering customer lifestyle, offers further rewards for selling, closing and implementing.

Despite the almost complete absence of program specifics, Cardenuto did indicate one important element. SAP over the past year has been very aggressive in indicating to partners that they see the cloud as the future, and that notwithstanding the significant on-prem base many of them have, partners need to invest in being able to transition for a cloud future, on peril of becoming less relevant to SAP if they fail to do so. Cardenuto stressed however, that the Cloud program is not being designed to replace the broader partner program.

“This is additive program,” he said. “We are not going to eliminate anything. We are just adding one more option for partners.”

Cardenuto also indicated that the Cloud Business Partner Program would be closely tied up with S/4 HANA cloud edition, as well as to the three solutions SAP deems critical to its public cloud strategy: SAP Ariba, SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Hybris.