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Author's profile photo Victoria Robinson

7 Takeaways from SAP’s Global Partner Success Kickoff

SAP’s Global Partner Success Kickoff on February 9 showcased SAP’s strategy and priorities for 2023 – and how integral partners are to those plans and the success of our joint customers. The SAP team packed the event with valuable information that will help partners achieve greater success in their markets, including these seven can’t-miss insights.

  1. Challenges Are Creating Opportunities for SAP Partners

SAP Executive Board Member and Customer Success Lead Scott Russell explained, “It’s easy to feel negative or gloomy in the face of what we’re seeing around the world, there are so many negative stories. But the reality is in tech – and in SAP – to create and build new opportunities for ourselves and our partners, but most importantly for our customers, it’s never been better.”

Speaking with SAP’s Chief Partner Officer Karl Fahrbach, Russell noted that companies are choosing SAP to transform their businesses, face their challenges and seize their own world of opportunity. He stressed that partners are integral in guiding SAP customers through this transformation and that they can grow profitably with SAP by focusing on customer lifetime value (CLTV).

Russell added, “How we achieve our growth in the cloud is as important as the results. So we’re embedding partners in our strategic priorities, whether it be through demand generation, co-innovation, and joint go-to-market efforts. It’s one of the critical moves SAP has made and continues to make.”

To help customers address their biggest pain points, he emphasized that partners should focus on core digital transformation with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, driving net-new opportunities to create best-in-class capabilities in ERP, and doing it at scale. Russell also stressed that partners should lead with RISE with SAP, a proven Business Transformation as a Service solution to help customers establish and scale a clean core platform.

  1. Partners Need to Transition to Digital Leads and Demand Generation

SAP Executive Board Member and Chief Marketing and Solutions Officer Julia White reported that studies show a trend toward digital, self-service B2B technology purchasing. In fact, more than 43% of decision makers in the purchasing process would prefer sales-rep-free methods – and that number increases to 55% for millennials. White discussed how the implications mean that SAP and its partners have to be out in the world where prospects are searching, reading, talking with peers, and making decisions.

In response to this trend, SAP has launched a new Partner-Led Demand Generation Marketing team to provide enablement, content, and marketing assets to allow partners to run successful digital marketing campaigns.

  1. Partner IP Is One of the Biggest Opportunities for Growth

Partners routinely interact with SAP customers. They hear their business challenges and gain deep understanding of their businesses and industries. That knowledge and expertise enable partners to build solutions that provide real value to their customers and overcome challenges, such as sustainability, supply chain disruptions, and developing inroads to new markets. Additionally, owning IP gives partners the opportunity to scale their businesses, stand apart from the competition, and create higher-margin, recurring-revenue offerings.

Karl Fahrbach and Scott Russell drove this point further, explaining that in order to deliver the end-to-end value proposition to customers, partner IP must be part of the mix to complement SAP’s portfolio and extend last-mile capability. They also discussed how a joint go-to-market approach is key to monetization and to ensure the market has a clear understanding of the ways partner IP and SAP’s technology play together.

  1. Sustainability Must Be a Combination of Environmental and Social Responsibility

Alexandra van der Ploeg, SAP’s global head of corporate social responsibility, discussed the relationships between companies, the environment, and society and pointed out that a healthy society is necessary for business success. Boris Goebel, Senior Vice President, Head of Partner Activation, said, “It’s also about just doing the right thing.”

van der Ploeg, Fahrbach and Goebel also explored how corporate social responsibility initiatives can be amplified through SAP’s partners. “If you include the ecosystem, the impact multiplies – millions of people working toward the same cause,” said Fahrbach. The group discussed how these efforts all circle back toward SAP’s mission to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.

  1. SAP Is Training the Next Generation of IT Professionals

Research shows that by 2030, 50% of the world’s youth won’t have the basic reading and math skills needed to set the foundation for the future. This points to an increased talent crunch, which will yield an estimated workforce gap of 85,000,000. “This is not due to a lack of people, but a lack of skills,” van der Ploeg commented.

She then discussed SAP’s partnerships with UNICEF and Generation Unlimited and the launch of the SAP Educate to Employ program, which identifies youth in need. The program trains them, surrounds them with the right support services, and prepares them for work experiences in the SAP ecosystem. The pilot is currently running in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and the Philippines, with plans to expand as the program grows.

  1. Partners Are Key to SAP’s Success

A theme resounded throughout the virtual event: partner success is SAP’s success. “We are here to provide expertise – to sit at the table with you and the customer to ensure success not only of the implementation but what happens after the implementation,” said Cloud Success Services President Claudio Muruzabal. He emphasized that SAP must support partners for the entire onboarding, adoption, and consumption journey so that customers can maximize their investments. Muruzabal also discussed that while we often prioritize meeting customers where they are, this sentiment is also critical for SAP’s partners. “It’s about standing behind you and supporting your success,” he added. “How can we support you in order to support our customers?”

Continuing this throughline, Muruzabal explained that SAP is committed to work “with” and deliver “through” partners and has established an Integrated Delivery Framework which recognizes the unique ways that partners deliver services to customers and aims to marry partner and SAP methodologies for a seamless customer experience. “It’s not about how many services we sell to customers,” Karl Fahrbach added while speaking with Muruzabal. “It’s about making them successful.”

Muruzabal also explore how SAP has combined two of its largest organizations to really dedicate itself to driving value to partners. He stressed, “We have 23,000 people in this organization who wake up every day to help customers achieve their objectives not just with but through our partners.”

  1. Partner Feedback Has Redefined the Partner Role within SAP

At the outset of the kickoff, Karl Fahrbach pointed out that SAP hears partner feedback loud and clear, and the company is responding – some of that feedback is reflected in SAP’s 2023 initiatives.

Every topic presented during Global Partner Success Kickoff underscored opportunities for partners to create new revenue streams, build deeper relationships and CLTV, and grow their businesses. Additionally, the SAP team stressed that it is expanding its commitment to partners to ensure mutual success.

“We want to support partner success in every way we can,” Fahrbach said.

To learn more about SAP’s 2023 strategy and how it tightly integrates partners, watch the Global Partner Success Kickoff replay.

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      Author's profile photo John von Aspen
      John von Aspen

      It's great to talk the talk, but while SAP still does business with handgun manufacturers and tobacco companies you're not walking the walk.

      "Alexandra van der Ploeg, SAP’s global head of corporate social responsibility, discussed the relationships between companies, the environment, and society and pointed out that a healthy society is necessary for business success. Boris Goebel, Senior Vice President, Head of Partner Activation, said, “It’s also about just doing the right thing.”"