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Do you sometimes work with SAP customers
but not enough to merit paying the 2,400-euro SAP
channel partner fee? Or do you work with SAP
so much that you need to outsource some of the work to other qualified solution
providers?

For partners who answer "yes" to either of those questions, SAP
has a new plan. SAP has created a program
that empowers SAP’s channel partners to create
partnerships with non-SAP partners.

Called the Extended Business members program, these non-fee-paying partners
get a password and a user ID and then have their SAP
partnership hosted by another SAP channel
partner VAR, says Pat Hume, senior vice
president of integrated channels and SME at SAP.

The program acknowledges that SAP
partners already partner with other VARs.

"We went in and asked partners how they grew their businesses—how they
ensured [that] they had adequate coverage," Hume says. "They said to
us, ‘We build an ecosystem just like you do. We partner with partners.’"
Hume adds that partners said the structure would work even better if SAP
legitimized it.

Extended Business members are sponsored by SAP
channel partners and are provided with a terms and conditions sheet to sign. A
new member is given a password and user ID, says Hume.

"They do not have a commercial relationship with us," she says. "They
don’t buy from us and they don’t resell. We’re not asking them to sell, we’re
asking them to smell for deals."

SAP is providing SAP
channel partners that want to participate as Extended Business member hosts
with several templates and tools to help with the process of bringing those EBM
members onboard, including different business models such as revenue sharing or
outsourcing.

SAP’s goal for 2008 is for 100 VARs to
participate in the program and for those to go on to recruit 500 Extended
Business Members. Currently SAP claims 40
participating VARs and 138 Extended Business Members.

"Some people are very selective and timid [about joining vendor
programs, reluctant] to come in and swallow the whole till," says Hume. "This
gives them a new inflection point.

"Other times we have [had] some Associate
Partners who joined the program but haven’t been as successful as they had
hoped. They can step from the Partner Edge program to the Extended Business partner
program."