SAP ramps up partner enablement, training

Bobby Vetter, senior vice president of partner solution management, enablement and programs at SAP

, senior vice president of partner solution management, and programs at

ORLANDO – A new partner portal and revised training plans highlight an ongoing revamp of SAP’s partner enablement and training effort. But with much of the new program elements in place, the company is focusing on making sure its recent changes percolate through the community.

The company used Now here this week to roll out a newly redesigned portal and program framework that provides a new and common interface for all of the company’s growing number of types of partners. Bobby Vetter, senior vice president of partner solution management, enablement and programs at SAP, said the result is a site that’s “a lot more personalized” for all of the company’s partners.

The new site also provides a front-end for the company’s SAP Learning Hub, rolled out late last year. Learning Hub effectively changes SAP training model. In the past, SAP has largely done with face-to-face trainer-led sessions. But that proved too onerous for many partners, prompting a change to a subscription-based online service that is designed to let partners learn at their own pace and reduce the downtime for technical and sales staff getting trained.

The new training service is based on SAP’s own SuccessFactors cloud-based HR platform, and includes all of the training material the company uses with its own internal sales and deployment staff.

“You subscribe to it, and you consume your enablement whenever you have time,” Vetter said. “Partner aren’t so much worried about the cost of the education as they are the opportunity cost of getting their resources trained.”

While there is a subscription cost attached to the Learning Hub, Vetter said it’s significantly less than training was under the previous scheme, even without travel cost and lost billings left out of the equation.

The company has also opened up its own cloud-based demo system for partners to use in their own sales and proof-of-concept efforts.

In terms of technology, over the last year, SAP has focused on getting partners enabled and engaged on its in-memory database, now a keystone of everything SAP does.

“Fifty per cent of all deals for the Suite on HANA were done indirect. Partners don’t close that kind of business if they’re not well-enabled,” Vetter said. “Now we’re focusing fully on cloud partner enablement, and we’ll increase the numbers there, too.”

Aside from making sure the recent changes are being embraced and used by the company’s partners, Vetter said SAP is looking at implementing a new partner finder that will allow it to greater differentiate its partners based on not only geographic and product specialty, but program level, industry expertise, and other measures.

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