SAP has thrown down the gauntlet to rivals by offering its VARs preferred status in its new partner programme.
At SAP's Sapphire event in the US last week, the vendor launched its first tiered partner programme: SAP PartnerEdge. Under the SME-focused scheme, VARs will earn PartnerEdge value points to be promoted up to the levels of Associate, Silver or Gold.
Ira Simon, vice-president of channel marketing at SAP, told CRN that partners have two ways of accruing points: transactional activities, such as revenue targets, and capability building such as training. "When partners accrue enough points they then go up a level," he said.
Simon added that the firm is extending a special invitation to "partners who are disenchanted with their current vendor" to join the scheme at a high status.
He also didn't rule out a two-tier strategy. "We are exploring the potential [of going through distribution] but there is nothing formal yet," he said.
George Dziedzic, director at channel consultancy Foster MacCallum, said SAP is making all the right moves. "It is poised to capture one of the most vital market growth sectors: the elusive mid-market," he said.
"From a partner programme perspective, it's treating partners as businesses in their own right, rewarding them for the value they create and the contribution they make. SAP's competitors may find themselves wondering where they went wrong."
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