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Live Blog: SAP SME Executive Roundtable


SAP has gathered dozens of editors and analysts for an SME Executive Roundtable in Manhattan. The theme: #GrowthMatters. ChannelE2E has a front-row seat for the conversation.

Stay tuned to this live blog throughout the day to get a feel for SAP's overall SME strategy, along with the key partner program components and solutions that will move into the spotlight for 2018. Note: We've paraphrased thoughts from multiple SAP executives, customers and partners below.

SAP and the SME Market

  • Marino & Welsh

    First up: Hernan Marino, COO of marketing and head of global channels and general business marketing, SAP. Interviewed by Evan Welsh, senior director, partner and SME marketing communications, SAP.

  • SMEs Defined: An SME for SAP is based on revenue -- not based on number of employees or seats. In general that's any company up to $1 billion per year. In emerging markets, the threshold is lower.
  • SAP's SME Footprint: Of SAP's 365,000 customers, roughly 300,000 are SMEs -- or roughly 80 percent of the customer base.
  • Popular Platform: BusinessOne, an entry level product, has 55,000 customers.
  • SME Go-to-Market: Partners are SAP's preferred go-to-market for SME. Roughly 3,000 of SAP's 17,000 partners are cloud-centric. Nine out of 10 net-new SAP customers are partner-driven engagements.
  • SME Segments: Retail, professional services and manufacturing are the company's top three verticals, though Marino drove home the point that SAP is deeply engaged in all verticals.

SAP and the importance of SME

  • Cardenuto & Welsh

    Next Up: Rodolpho Cardenuto, president, global channels and general business, SAP: "Only in the last 10 years we've started to focus on SME -- which we also call general business."

  • The SME Opportunity: It's a 43 billion to 45 billion Euro opportunity, and it's a very fragmented market, he asserts.
  • Product Portfolio: "We are giving the GBs the same tools that a large enterprise leverages." Examples include SuccessFactors, Ariba and more, he noted. "It's not about cost; it's about affordability."
  • Fine-tuning the Model: "You can't copy and paste what you do in the large enterprise into the SME space," especially when it comes to sales and the channel, he says.
  • Cloud Adoption: "SMEs are moving much faster to the cloud than enterprises." That means a cloud-first approach. And in some markets, even a cloud-only approach.
  • Joining the panel now: Mark Aboud, global head, commercial sales and Karl Fahrbach, head of global channels, SAP.
  • Digital-driven Sales Models: SAP jumped from phone to digital tools for connecting -- social, video and content tools -- to drive partner and customer engagements. The company physically removed phones from its sales hubs to deliver a true digital engagement with partners and customers. There are not telesales teams. They're digital teams and the average age is 28.
  • Cloud Choice Profit (CCP): Gives the partner the flexibility to keep the cloud deal on partner paper or on SAP's paper. More than 25 percent of SAP's overall SME cloud business now involves CCP. Also, partner-driven GB (i.e., SME) cloud growth is more than 100 percent year over year.

SUNY Geneseo’s Dr. Avan Jassawalla (left)

Research from SUNY Geneseo

  • Next up: Dr. Avan Jassawalla, professor of management at SUNY Geneseo.
  • Research: The college, on behalf of SAP, developed the SAP Business Partnership Study
  • The Psychological Contract: Roughly 80 percent of SMEs value trust over cost when choosing a partner and vendor relationship. This involves the so-called "psychological contract" -- which is the unwritten, unspoken customer expectations that partners and vendors have to fulfill. You need to have 'customer empathy' to really fulfill those needs.

SME Customer Perspectives

  • Ryals, Damiani, Tohumcu & SAP's Sullivan.

    Next Up: Travis Ryals from Seno Medical Instruments; Marcello Damiani from Modern Therapeutics; and Ozgur Tohumcu from Tantalum Corp. Meaghan Sullivan, vice president, global partner marketing & SME at SAP,  drives the conversation.

  • Not Your Typical SMEs: The companies are innovative in complex markets like the sciences, big data, IoT connected cars and more.
  • One Version of the Truth: These are data-intensive companies that want "one version of the truth" with their data. At least one of the companies is a pure-cloud approach -- where all data lives in the cloud.
  • Multi-Cloud Hybrid Strategies: The customers are leveraging blended architectures -- often running SAP workloads on AWS while also plugging into SAP's own SaaS clouds like Concur. In one case, there are still connections to the on-premises world.

More SAP Customer and Partner Perspectives

  • Bonfante, Leimer, Lind, Silva & SAP's Simon.

    Next Up: SAP Global VP Ira Simon moderates a session featuring Larry Bonfante (USTA), Joe Leimer (Design Resources Inc.), Korey Lind (Third Wave Business Systems) & Antonio Silva (Square).

  • Integrations & Scalability: Third Wave is one of SAP's oldest partners.  Lind and each of the customers described how they've either found or built integrations from SAP applications to third-party systems and/or transactional systems. It sounds like Third Wave, by the way, is growing 30-plus percent each year. Also, Leimer pointed to the need for SAP partners that show the 'capacity' to grow and align over time. He pointed directly to Third Wave as a partner that fulfills that need.
  • Partner Moves: Square has done an integration with SAP, and is now exploring relationships with a 'select few' SAP partners. Watch for some potential moves in Q1 2018, Silva hinted.

Stay tuned for additional updates as we navigate the day here.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.