SAP this month launched a new Partner Competency Framework, characterizing the framework’s first iteration as “the most significant enhancement” and a “big change” to improve how current and future SAP customers find and evaluate partners across the SAP ecosystem.

The initial framework consists of three designations—essential, advanced, and expert—that represent partner experience, skills, and expertise across seven competencies and 21 specializations. The framework, developed collaboratively by customers, partners, and administered by SAP, is a more sophisticated, detailed approach to move beyond current silver and gold badging designations.

“We want to make sure that customers, when they are looking for a partner, have clear, relevant information,” said Karl Fahrbach, SAP Chief Partner Officer. “This framework lets customers look for the skills, experiences, and expertise they seek—what’s relevant to them. Partners can differentiate and distinguish themselves. We’ve made it easy for customers to understand.

“When a customer wants a solution for a specific problem, we’ve amplified what a partner is really good at. And the designations are really the SAP seal of approval,” he added.

Cloud-Focused Framework

The framework is aimed at organizations seeking SAP solutions and partners with cloud, hybrid, and cloud-transition experience. In general, the competencies are tiered. Competencies reflect several sets of criteria associated with key elements to demonstrate a partner’s expertise and skill sets with a particular SAP solution and/or in each industry or line of business.

The current competency set includes:

  • ERP
  • ERP for small and mid-sized businesses
  • Supply chain management
  • Human capital management
  • Spend management
  • Customer relationship management
  • SAP Business Technology Platform

Designations Reflect Global Scope

The specializations, meanwhile, are not tiered and feature extensive details related to partner expertise and skill sets at the product and process level, according to Beth Glasstetter, SAP VP, Global SAP Partner Edge, Design and Readiness. Glasstetter called the specializations “building blocks” for the competencies while emphasizing that the new designations are global in scope—a plus for multinational organizations seeking partner support.

She also noted the framework will evolve and that current topics that may be added in the future include industries, the Intelligent Enterprise, security, and support collaboration.

SAP leaders also said partner performance and achievement are key drivers to attain and represent competencies and specializations. Partners must document and report to SAP related to its knowledge base (solution consultants, project managers and platform experts), customer success (delivered projects, customer references), and proficiencies (multiple specializations and SAP portfolio coverage, partner IP based on BTP).

In the framework announcement SAP included new branding components, marketing materials and logos that partners may begin to use to easily identify designations, competencies, and specializations. Once partners document and gain approvals under the new framework rubric, customers will begin to see the new information and details in SAP Partner Finder and within partner profiles.

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