SAP partner program expands to account for cloud applications

Some 500 SuccessFactors partners will be rolled into the fold this year

SAP's burgeoning portfolio of cloud-based applications has prompted it to make some changes to its PartnerEdge channel program.

More than 500 partners who have relationships with SuccessFactors, the cloud HCM (human capital management) vendor SAP finished acquiring last year, will be added to the program during the course of 2013, SAP said this week.

Partners "now have the opportunity to tackle the fast-growing cloud market and offer best-of-breed cloud solutions and suites to their installed base customers and prospects," SAP said in a statement.

SAP is also trying to make life easier for partners on the contractual side of things. A single deal will allow partners to sell all of SAP's cloud offerings, rather than requiring separate agreements for each one, according to a statement.

PartnerEdge also includes the usual sort of things involved with partner programs, such as technical support, certifications and training, and demand generation services.

"SAP's always had a good partner program," said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. "Extending it into the cloud should help with adoption."

In fact, SAP's stated goal is to generate 40 percent of its revenue through indirect sales by 2015.

But in the long run, SAP will need to build out a more comprehensive PaaS (platform as a service) offering, according to Wang. "What they have now allows a light build. Partners will want a longer term development kit that's easier to use than classic SAP dev tools."

SAP has been doing just that, using the HANA in-memory platform as a foundation for a next-generation PaaS.

However, SAP's relative newness to the PaaS market means it could take some time for its offering to be widely adopted by customers and partners, particularly to the degree of rival platforms such as Salesforce.com's Force.com.

A PaaS can be seen as a multiplying force for a vendor like SAP, since it creates a community of developers and systems integrators with a shared interest in its success.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Tags SuccessFactorsbusiness issuesInternet-based applications and servicesSAPsoftwareinternetcloud computing

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Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service

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