SAP shifts partner focus from sales quantity to quantity plus delivery quality
Enterprise software giant SAP announced a series of changes to its partner programmes overnight, saying they would put partners at the centre of the company’s drive to improve customer success.
A new broad area called “customer success” within SAP would move away from just sales targets but focus on taking care of the customer, SAP chief partner officer Karl Fahrbach told Reseller News from SAP’s global partner summit.
Sales, parts of marketing, services, customer engagement and Fahrbach’s partner team would be under that umbrella as well.
“The role of the partners is evolving from an SAP perspective,” Fahrbach said. “We don’t see them any more as just a go-to-market element that helps us sell through indirect channels or as system integrators to help us implement the solutions we sell.
“Rather they play a key role in the entire lifecycle of the customer to make sure that they support us to make our customers successful.”
The changes include a three-part partner delivery quality framework to enable partners to improve the quality of services they deliver.
The first component of that is project delivery quality, Fahrbach said. It provides a set of standard processes, tools and reporting aids to help partners train and enable their delivery resources and monitor quality across projects.
Within this, feedback loops will be established between partners, SAP and the customers to ensure that for every project they know what is going right and what is going wrong and SAP can help the partner to ensure smooth delivery and quick adoption.
The second element is partner service quality, focusing on enablement to ensure partners remain current with the latest technologies through training and certification.
Grants for consultant education will be awarded as well as incentives for partner investments, emphasising customer success. Additionally, SAP will increase its own investment in partner learning and enablement and provide services to support partner implementation projects and customer adoption.
The third element is post-sale partner management as opposed to focusing on business development.
“What we didn’t really invest a lot in was the services side of our partners,” Fahrbach said. “All of our partners have a services delivery arm and now with the introduction of a new role they will be working hand-in-hand with a partner business manager that we call a partner delivery manager (PDM).
“We are going to make sure that we help the partners from a services perspective making sure as well that they are in line with the quality our customers are requiring.”
SAP Investment & Enablement
Fahrbach said there would be a lot of benefits for partners in the initiative through best-in-class enablement and increased quality.
“We are going to ask them as well to have a much deeper expertise when it comes to the SAP consultants, making sure they invest in certification and that we together drive a much stronger relationship with the customer,” he said.