SAP looks to make HANA Cloud major volume play as 12-month free access promo goes live

Claus Gruenewald, Global VP of Portfolio Management at SAP

Two months ago at SAPPHIRE, SAP announced the forthcoming availability of 12-month free access for partners to test and demo systems on SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP C/4HANA. There are some conditions, but SAP thinks they are relatively minor.  Now, those programs have gone live. The company sees the initiatives as both reflecting and enabling SAP S/4HANA Cloud’s ability to be a volume prime-time player in the cloud.

“This is a continuation of a program we started late last year with the announcement of 12-months free access to the SAP Cloud Platform,” said Claus Gruenewald, Global VP of Portfolio Management at SAP. “The optics behind the launch was to help partners to be more successful with their cloud business. We started with the SAP Cloud Platform first, because the majority of partners have multiple models in the cloud. Many have been successful on-prem. However, there’s a lot of cash needed in the beginning, because there are financial challenges in building out the cloud businesses, because cost outlay comes up front while revenues come in over time. With SAP Cloud Platform, partners can use established knowhow from on-prem and build out IP, usually in smaller packages. That’s why Dianne Fanelli [SAP’ SVP & GM, Global Platform Channels] announced this to help partners with Cloud Platform, at SAP Partner Business Forum last December.” 850 partners have signed up for this to date.

Extending the 12-months free access for test and demoing systems to S/4HANA Cloud HANA and C/4HANA allows SAP to broaden out their cloud strategy around SAP S/4HANA Cloud’ .

“It was clear in December that we would expand the original offer to S/4HANA Cloud and C/4HANA, and this is what we announced at SAPPHIRE,” Gruenewald said. “This allows us to go for volume with HANA cloud. This will make it much broader than before, ready for volume purchasing. It means that it’s not just available to partners who can afford it, but any who have the technical ability.”

Gruenewald said that all partners in the SAP PartnerEdge program who have three consultants certified in operations capabilities for SAP applications running on SAP S/4HANA Cloud or SAP C/4HANA will be eligible.

“Every partner with three such consultants is eligible for the free test and demo system,” he stated. “This ensures that the partner has the quality to serve customers. They can request the system free of charge for 12 months. After 12 months, there will be a charge, but it will be very little – 5400 Euros. Before, it used to be five times as much, because we had a much smaller go-to-market.”

Gruenwald believes the test and demo capability can play a key role in making partners successful on their first deals.

“We want partners to be able to touch the software, to work with it, before they go to the customer,” he said.” The real learning comes from actually working with the software. SAP doesn’t want to just hand over the Cloud demo system. We want to be sure partners know how to work with it. We want them to go through onboarding for this, so we show them what SAP demos to customers. There are many specific demo scenarios that partners can learn.

“This will help partners to build a successful business, particularly on their first three to four deals,” Gruenwald added.

The onboarding training also starts this week.

“It is virtual training, and is free of charge,” Gruenewald said. “Experience has shown that partners who build out their own cloud systems but weren’t necessarily following SAP procedures. We want them to do that, but this way will let them train themselves.”

Grunewald indicated that they are expecting two groups of partners to sign up for the 12 month free period – one out of the gate, and the other stretched over a longer period later this year and into next year.

“Those partners who already have invested in SAP S/4HANA Cloud education we expect to hear from on Monday,” he said. “These ones will come quickly. Later on, by the end of the year, I expect a second wave, of partners who have been hesitant who want to see the market develop and who will adjust their businesses accordingly. That could be later this year or next year.”

It’s in the partner’s interest to ensure they have capabilities in place before they sign up.

“The 12-month free period always starts when the partner is signing up, not from July 1,” Gruenewald said. “From the time they sign up, then the clock ticks.”  Partners who meet the certification requirement who have already purchased test and demo systems on these SAP solutions will be able to renew their subscription for 12 months at no charge.

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