Channel partner programs, CSPs, Small business, VAR

SAP Launches Concur SMB Channel Partner Program

Sachin Vora
Sachin Vora

Concur, the travel and expense management platform owned by SAP, is coming to the IT channel. Indeed, SAP launched a Concur channel partner program today -- aptly name the Concur Solution Provider Program. Sachin Vora senior director of global business development at Concur, is leading the charge.

Vora has serious credentials in the SMB software and cloud market. He previously spent a decade at Microsoft, driving numerous SMB partner efforts across on-premises and cloud platforms.

Vora jumped to Concur in February, and has quietly spent the past six months working with his team to build the partner program. Concur's installed base is massive -- spanning 33,000 customers an 42 million users across 150 countries. "We're a leader in this category an we're seeing fantastic growth in the SMB sector," he tells ChannelE2E. "It's our fastest-growing sector. Cloud transformation has taken root. But at the same time, SMBs sometimes need help trying to figure out which workloads to move to the cloud."

Concur Solution Provider Program & Office 365

That's where the new partner program enters the picture. The Concur Solution Provider Program allows partners to expand their portfolio to include travel, expense and invoice capabilities. "If you look at the T&A category, it's the second largest controllable spend a company has," he says, trailing only payroll. "Partners that help customers to better manage those costs and processes will cement their status as trusted advisors."

Indeed, Concur's tagline -- "To manage spending, you have to see it" -- provides a door opener for partners to broach T&E management discussions with customers.

All types of ecosystem partners are welcome to join the partner program, but this particular effort will likely attract Office 365-type solutions providers that are seeking to add more SaaS services to their portfolio.

Not by coincidence, Vora and the Concur team plan to attend Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2016 next week in Toronto, Canada. And Concur has new hooks to Office 365...

Partner Program Rollout Plan

The Concur partner program will kick off in the U.S. and Canada, with the U.K. and Australia soon to follow.

Near term, the program is focused on a revenue share model that's "heavily loaded to favor customer customer acquisitions." Partners earn a revenue share during the first two years of each customer win, but the revenues are not recurring for life. The program has three tiers -- rewarding partners with more perks as they win more customer business and climb each tier.

Remaining Questions

ChannelE2E doesn't know what type of commissions partners can earn, nor do we know how the program will potentially evolve to support longer-term recurring revenues.

Barry Padgett

Also of note: Concur's partner program isn't part of SAP's sister SaaS portfolio -- which features platforms like  SAP Business One, Anywhere and Business ByDesign.

But here's an interesting twist: Concur veteran Barry Padgett was recently named to serve as president of SAP's SMB solutions — a new position that likely signals deeper engagements with small and midsize customers.

And it begs the question: Are Padgett and Vora working together to piece together SAP's various SMB cloud partner programs for the long haul? Hmmm...

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.