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Why Partners are Critical for Continued Success

By Karl Fahrbach

It’s hard to believe only three month ago, over 1,500 SAP partners and SAP staff attended the 2017 Global Partner Summitone of my favorite events of the year. We rewarded some of our top partners with our annual Pinnacle Awards, presented to partners for their outstanding customer success and innovation.

This year we had more than 250 nominations on behalf of partners—all of whom customers thought did an outstanding job designing, building, testing and deploying SAP technologies. Of course, that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to what all our partners do every day. SAP partner revenue and growth numbers in the fourth quarter are nothing short of phenomenal:

  • 50% cloud revenue increase in General Business
  • 85% of SAP S/4HANA projects are managed by partners
  • 88% of all new 4Q customers come through partners
  • 15% increase in number of partners last year
  • Cloud Choice deals double Q4 vs Q3


Simply put, channel partners are critical to SAP’s success. They provide increased flexibility and scalability to our pipeline, allow us to reach new markets, new industries and work with us to create even better solutions. Their success is our success. We continually strive to empower our partners through new programs, training, enablement and selling resources—improvements that will continue throughout 2017.

Partner Value Proves Invaluable

As our Pinnacle winners demonstrate, SAP partners help us scale our business, increasing our efficiency in reaching customers in the far reaches of the globe, all while driving more value and profitability than we could do ourselves—and expanding opportunities with clients by building close relationships as trusted business and IT advisors.

In addition, partners provide an invaluable asset for SAP—as much-needed feet on the street, advocating and evangelizing SAP technologies to thousands of customer and prospects. Frankly, partners are often nimbler and closer to the customer to build relationships, drive customer outcomes and create new opportunities.

Finally, channel partners provide the SAP community with incredible innovation. Every day, our SAP partners develop not only world-class solutions for customers, but also original applications and services to complement our products. The SAP Store now houses nearly 1,000 partner applications, with many, many more in development.


Enabling Partners For Future Success

Over the last year, SAP has strengthened and formalized our partner programs—adopting a well-disciplined “Partner First” strategy that includes Go-to-Market segmentation, Partner Code of Conduct, Global Channel Policy and much more. Partners are an indelible component of SAP’s success and we’ve taken great steps to protect our mutual success.

We’ve also introduced SAP PartnerEdge Cloud Choice, a comprehensive program designed to help SAP partners accelerate cloud sales and profits. We recognize that each of our partners does business differently and Cloud Choice lets partners choose how they want to engage with SAP—based on their individual capabilities, skills and opportunities.

Finally, SAP has made great progress in raising partner visibility across the company, all while developing some amazing partner enablement resources to facilitate even more success. From our redesigned SAP PartnerEdge program, to innovative marketing campaigns, to expanded training opportunities and our upcoming Global Partner Summit, SAP is enabling partners to drive new opportunities and innovation. And we—and our customers—appreciate it.

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