How Partners Enable Customer Success Through a Unified Technology Platform: Part Two

In a previous article, we looked at a supplier management scenario where partners used application development tools to integrate and extend SAP solutions. And while SAP has a long history of providing partners with the ability to connect and customize their core business processes, we are now also providing a business technology platform for the Intelligent Enterprise.

SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) represents a more efficient and harmonized way to interface with SAP systems and data domains.

A Unifying Business Technology Platform

SAP Business Technology Platform is a unified platform that offers the flexibility to connect to a broad set of SAP technologies, data, and processes. Business-centric services spanning database and data management, analytics, application development and integration, and intelligent technologies help to quickly turn data into customer business value.

Architecture of SAP Business Technology Platform
Figure 1. The architecture of SAP Business Technology Platform

The application development and integration area of SAP BTP plays a pivotal role in enabling customers and partners to build, integrate, and extend business processes efficiently.

It all starts with SAP Integration Suite, which helps bridge disconnected systems and processes for flexible and agile operations. SAP Integration Suite comes with more than 1,800 prebuilt integrations, 2,100 APIs, and 160 third-party connectors.

SAP Integration Suite is complemented by SAP Extension Suite, which enables simplified development application extensions for quick adaptation and innovation across heterogeneous landscapes. SAP Extension Suite supports partners to transition away from classic extensions that involve direct customization of SAP solutions and instead build powerful extensions that decouple their IP using SAP BTP. This helps remove complexity, and, when it is time, they can more easily transition to the cloud and reap the benefits of regular SAP updates.

By using SAP BTP, our customers and partners can access these native capabilities as they build new applications and extensions or integrate them across SAP systems. They can do so with less technical complexity and while offering more consistent user experiences. SAP BTP is the platform that can help connect data in on-premise, cloud, and hybrid environments, including solutions that sit across multi-cloud (multi-hyperscaler) landscapes.

Integrating with SAP Solutions through Application Interface Register for Partners

In the on-premise era, open APIs allowed for flexible customization and integration of SAP solutions, but the customer took on the responsibility of securing access to the integration APIs and any associated risks. In the cloud era, the responsibility of managing API access falls to the cloud service provider, which means, to mitigate those risks and better ensure reliable cloud infrastructure services, service providers need to implement security protocols that support proper and safe access.

For this reason, SAP has introduced Application Interface Register for partners. The register is simple to implement and use, helping ensure that third-party applications properly access SAP cloud properties.

The register not only helps to manage risks, but it also enables us to better understand the demands on SAP cloud infrastructure so we can forecast cloud service resources and bandwidth. Enforcement related to the register will be phased in as new partners come on board and as existing partners renew their contracts for SAP PartnerEdge, Build.

Building on and Integrating with SAP Technologies

Combined with the register, SAP BTP will evolve to be our unifying technology foundation, creating a platform that is reliable, sustainable, and built for interoperability around every key SAP business service. It will act as the development and connection layer across the user experience, business processes, and master data domains.

But that’s just part of the equation. We are also committed to simplifying the partner experience by making it easy for our partners to use our technology, promote their applications, and support our mutual customers, so they can find, connect, and consume the right solutions to run their business. ​

Simplifying the Partner Experience

The promise of the platform cannot be realized without our partners. ​It is essential that we now focus on providing a more holistic program experience, one that reduces complexity, endorses SAP Business Technology Platform, and rewards our value-added reseller, software, and service partners’ commitment.

This is important; we recognize that our increased commitment to partners and their commitment to SAP technology will ultimately improve each customer’s experience.

To effectively chart a new path forward together, we are – and will continue to be – more opinionated about how partners develop on, extend, and integrate around SAP technology. ​

In the past, our approach has been largely hands-off. SAP didn’t manage access to our APIs or have visibility into their use. We also had different fee structures attached to how partners used SAP technology, solution APIs, and SAP data domain access. This led to an imbalance in how partners were supporting the cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) systems. ​

Of course, it also led to a more complicated partner experience, which contributed to more complexity for customers.

Going forward, we plan to get rid of multifaceted revenue share models, contracts, and fee structures. And we want to shift to a unified approach that eliminates one-off partner integrations and uneven contributions to the ecosystem.

We will work to be more opinionated about how technology is used and support apps that support this strategy. And partners will enjoy:

  • A single agreement – with one contract instead of three
  • A clear revenue sharing model – eliminating complex and fragmented fee structures
  • Simpler developer and product licenses – with a smoother transition process from trial to paid license

As discussed previously, partners are facing highly fragmented user experiences, siloed business processes, and redundant applications, with high security and compliance risks.

Our go-forward strategy will work to reduce fragmentation of business processes and promote a consistent cloud user experience by supporting our partners to build their integrated solutions on SAP Business Technology Platform. We’ll continue to focus on curating the applications that enable our customers to have a more integrated set of business processes, and we’ll support our partners to promote these solutions through SAP Store, our digital marketplace.

Exposing Partner Applications to a Global Customer Base

Today, SAP Store provides partner solutions with exposure to our global customer base in its mission to enable customers to discover, try, and buy trusted SAP partner solutions.

It gives customers access to a fully transactable B2B marketplace designed to bring partner-built solutions​ across all product lines ​and industries into the hands of customers in a simple, digital manner.

Relationship between SAP Store, partners, and customers
Figure 2: The relationship among SAP Store, partners, and customers

Access and Manage Opportunities
The new partner cockpit for SAP Store allows partners to manage all their opportunities and deals from one intuitive interface. From the cockpit, you can access opportunities and manage them throughout the lifecycle – from initial lead to closed deals – and track the performance of their solutions on SAP Store with a detailed analytics dashboard.

Extend the Reach of Your Message
A variety of our marketing support levels are provided along our partner progression. For example, partners with spotlight solutions and partners that offer SAP Endorsed Apps can access enablement to help amplify their efforts and extend the reach of their message. In addition to providing a platform for partners to sell, we provide deal support to engage with our joint customers.

Connect with SAP Sales
SAP Store is the gateway for connecting with the SAP sales team, a group committed to promoting partner apps and assisting in SAP Store deals. SAP Store is the only place where partners can directly connect with more than 440,000 SAP customers to deliver applications and integrations – enabling the ability to reach out into new market segments and geographies.

Reassure Customers
Partners benefit from readiness checks, certifications, and premium certifications that reassure customers that the technology integrates smoothly with SAP solutions and is reliable, giving customers greater confidence in their investment decision. And partners also get a stamp of approval from a globally recognized brand, as well as the awareness that comes along with it.

Together, We Can Create Great Opportunities

By embracing a unified technology foundation, our goal is to make it easier to extend, integrate with, and connect to SAP solutions and data – so that partners can tap into the systems that touch 77% of the world’s transactions. And through a simplified experience, partners will be able to accelerate their go-to-market strategy. This means benefiting from exposure to more than 440,000 SAP customers across 25 industries.

And so, together, we can turn the challenges our customers are facing – as well as the challenges we all face in these uncertain times – into advantages, creating a profitable path to growth for both of our businesses.

Interested in learning more? To get started with a SAP software partnership, visit us online: SAP.com/BuildBetter.

If you’re already a partner, you can register your applications with the Application Interface Register for partners and explore the potential of SAP Business Technology Platform with your SAP partner team.


Jagdish Sahasrabudhe is CTO of the Global Partner Organization at SAP.