Bob Evans interviews Karl Fahrbach, Chief Partner Officer, SAP, as part of the Partners Ecosystem Innovation series, in which he speaks with top executives responsible for the ecosystem businesses of the Cloud Wars Top 10 companies. This exclusive series leads up to the Partners Ecosystem Digital Summit, taking place on April 20. Click here to register for the event.
In this interview, Fahrbach details how SAP intends to shift from a “customer-centric” to a “partner-led” company.
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00:42 — After introducing Fahrbach, Bob asks him about the biggest changes over the last several months relating to SAP’s partners ecosystem.
01:25 — There is no doubt that at all levels, a strong ecosystem is needed in order for a company like SAP to be successful. In order to do that, SAP — and its partners — must be involved in all stages of the customer lifecycle, explains Fahrbach. SAP’s “main metric” is customer success. SAP wants its partners to play a primary role in product development, and it’s the partners who have contributed to innovation development.
03:00 — Fahrbach describes the role of partners as a “big change in the DNA of the company.” Bob asks him to describe the evolving profile of SAP’s partners ecosystem.
04:21 — “We are becoming a partner-centric company,” explains Fahrbach. “We are basically embedding partnering into everything we do at SAP.” The company recently launched a new product, DataSphere, that included four key partnerships with Confluent, Collibra, DataBricks, and DataRobots. The same applies to industry-specific solutions. “In every single industry, we want to go partner-led. We want to make sure that we actually complete our cloud industries with partners, because we realize that we cannot do everything on our own. And we really want to offer the best of the best for the customer.”
06:20 — As it relates to customer experience and success, Fahrbach explains how the company has included a number of programs that allow partners to deliver more value to customers. “I think my next goal, or my next passion as well, in my next vision, is not only to be partner-centric, but really to become a partner-led company. We need the partners, we need to be led by the ecosystem. And that will make sure that we can drive our customers to [be] successful.”
07:45 — What new types of intellectual property (IP) is SAP’s partners ecosystem creating for, or with, customers?
08:20 — When looking across industries, SAP looks for the “white space,” or any area where partners can help the company “complete those industry cloud solutions.” However, Fahrbach notes a growing interest in sustainability — from its customers and its partners. Similarly, partners are looking for ways to manage supply chain disruptions. Another key area of focus for SAP’s partners ecosystem is around artificial intelligence (AI), which is something Fahrbach views as rapidly evolving.
09:30 — How is SAP ensuring that customers feel like they are a fully orchestrated, central part of the process between the company and its partners? “What we always make sure is that our business technology platform, that partner solution, is well integrated with the SAP solution, right, to make sure that for the customer, there is a great integration there. And they see as well as seamlessly how it works.” Of course, this applies to the go-to-market side, too.
11:27 — Bob asks Fahrbach about what the ecosystem is saying to SAP. What’s on their wishlist? First, Fahrabch explains that the ecosystem is “feeling the [positive] change taking place at SAP, which in turn, creates positive momentum. SAP embraces its ecosystem and uses Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge the level of success of its customers and partners. The company takes this feedback very seriously and is always looking for ways to enhance and simplify its processes.
13:32 — In closing, Fahrbach shares that SAP continues to become more partner-centric, but wants to go further beyond that notion and become partner-led. “Again, we’re going to continue to drive more with partners, through partners…again, I think that’s my dream and my passion as well, to really make SAP the ‘new SAP’ which is going to be part of it.”
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