Company is looking for Extended Business Member partners to work with SAP VARs to expand reach and sales

SAP program seeks to boost channel sales

In an effort to drive more sales through its indirect channels, SAP Canada Inc. (NYSE: SAP) is looking to recruit new Extended Business Member (EBM) partners to its Extended Business program.

Conrad Mandala, vice-president of SME for SAP Canada, said the company is in the process of transitioning away from a once primarily direct sales model to an indirect and multi-channel-driven one.

“In Q4, 94 per cent of our overall sales (in the SME) will go through indirect sales,” Mandala said. “We’re helping partners get more enabled and prepared so they can be our primary route to market in 2010.”

To further broaden its channel and to more aggressively target the lower-end of the market space, SAP created its Extended Business program for partners. This program has members, better known as EBMs. that work closely with SAP VARs (value-added resellers) to deliver the company’s line of Business All-in-One business management software solutions.

Through this program, EBMs are paired up with VARs who are a part of SAP’s PartnerEdge channel program, so they can leverage expertise and expand their market reach. The Extended Business program provides EBMs with access to SAP systems, resources, training programs and certification tools, Mandala explained.

The program is designed to help extend market reach and find new services and revenue opportunities, Mandala said.

“The cost of entry to become an SAP VAR has traditionally been high because of the level of expertise and staffing requirements that are needed to get involved,” Mandala said. “The Extended Business program lets us broaden our channel at the low-end (of the market) by extending our business model with VARs and EBMs.”

EBMs and VARs go to market together and can expand their local reach just by levering each other’s expertise and (regional) reach, Mandala said.

Currently in Canada there are four VARs that are part of the Extended Business program, and there’s plans to increase this.

“We’re targeting and planning to stay in the 20 (partner) range,” he said. “(An EBM) can be small today and they can work with a VAR to help them grow over time. When they have enough capital, the transition will be easier for them to become a VAR. We’re making SAP an easy company to partner with and we want to support our partners to help them grow their business.”

Michael Pearson, president of Toronto-based Contax, a SAP channel partner and consulting company, said being part of the Extended Business program has really helped his business.

“We were recruited into the channel program by SAP about a year ago to focus on mid-market customers,” Pearson said. “EBMs help us extend our market presence by finding opportunities in specific regional or vertical areas that we probably wouldn’t have been able to cover on our own. The program allows us to leverage both our and the EBM’s expertise to further expand our (market) presence.”

Mandala said in terms of specific regional partner growth for next year, he’d like to see more traction in the Atlantic Canada region. In 2010, he said the company will be focusing its efforts on advertising as well as additional partner search initiatives.

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