Is SAP working on a distribution deal?

Orlando – This morning I sat down with the woman who has been leading SAP AG's (NYSE: SAP) channel revolution for the last two-and-a-half years, Pat Hume, to talk about the process of transforming a once direct-first business software vendor to one that puts the channel at its core, and has set the ambitious goal of doing 100 per cent of its small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) business through the channel.

A former IBM channel chief, Hume is the senior vice-president of SAP's global indirect sales organization. I'll share more of our conversation and Hume's plans in a story and video tomorrow morning in CDN Now, including SAP's plans to open up its channel play beyond just its SME portfolio and the $500 million and below market.

But first, I wanted to share I wanted to share some interesting news that Hume hinted at: namely, that changes could be coming to how SAP brings its ERP offerings to market, including working with distributors with an eye to providing SAP partners with greater go-to-market support.

The revelation came out a discussion around how financing and cash-flow is a challenge, particularly in this economy, for SAP partners. SAP already works with distribution and with volume resellers such as CDW around its Crystal Reports software, but Hume hinted more could be coming.

Here's the exchange:
Jeff Jedras: Have you been helping partners with those financing challenges?
Pat Hume: We haven't done what we have to do, in my opinion. As I look at the evolution of our go-to-market, I was just with Tech Data on Friday and I was talking with Tech Data about our strategy with respect to the role I would like them to play going forward, which maps to their strategy to be able to move into higher-value applications and higher-margin business. And as a $22 billion entity, Tech Data has a lot to offer. One thing is they do is manage credit and capitalization for their channel. So if we can leverage some of these best practices of partners that aren't traditionally in the SAP ecosystem, if we can bring them in and really leverage the power of what they do, they can help us help our partners. And you've got GE Capital, there's a lot of companies we can work with to see if we can help with the challenge around liquidity. Now, are we a bank? We're not a bank, nor will we ever behave as a bank. But there's a lot of firms out there that can be very supportive of our partners.
Jedras: How would you leverage a company like a Tech Data more widely? I can see how you'd work with distribution on the more commodity software side such as Crystal Reports, but you're not shipping ERP software through distribution are you?
Hume: Not today. Not today. That's what I'll say. But we're having some conversations around what could we do. What would make sense. So watch this space. 
And watch CDN tomorrow for more of my conversation with Hume and the latest from Sapphire.

Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
As an assistant editor at IT World Canada, Jeff Jedras contributes primarily to CDN and, covering the reseller channel and the small and medium-sized business space.

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