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Q&A: Luis Murguia, SAP

SAP is sitting down with partners and customers in Orlando next week, but before that one of its senior channel executives was prepared to give an update about its reseller base

Ahead of SAP Sapphire, Luis Murguia, senior vice-president of global customer and partner operations at SAP Business One and Business ByDesign, responded to questions around the vendor’s channel position.

Q. What is happening in the channel right now? Are partners where you would like them to be?
A. It’s the same for the channel as it is for the internet: ‘content is king’. We are seeing a tremendous shift in the VAR channel from reselling technology into offering end-to-end industry-specific solutions. VARs are building software development capacity to package their unique industry expertise into simple-to-deploy industry applications. In North America, MWAi is becoming the premier channel, reinventing the imaging and copier dealer industry. Instead of being another ERP reseller, it has built very strong industry capabilities on top of SAP Business One, and along the way, it will pave the way for the digital transformation of a whole industry in North America. It is the way to go.

Q. What are the themes for the second half of the year going to be with partners?
A. The acceleration of cloud adoption, on the basis that cloud is seen as the ideal platform to deliver technology solutions to customers. The cloud shifts the ownership of customer success onto the technology vendor and channel partner. In the ‘on-premise’ deployment world, it is the customer’s problem to deal with servers, backup processes, uptime, version updates, security patches and so on. The cloud moves all of these processes away from the customer, ensuring they only need be concerned about the uptime and service levels of the cloud solution. This requires a massive mindset change, and a strong cloud infrastructure (automation tools, password reset self-service and so on) with the channel partners and the technology vendors. Many channel partners get it – Orchestra Software is doing amazing things in the craft beer industry with its OrchestratedBEER cloud solution. Our efforts are to enable their journey into the cloud.

Q. In the past, SAP has worked with the channel to open up the mid-market. Do those efforts continue and how are they going?
A. At SAP, partners are at the centre of everything we do with customers. Our partner ecosystem has close to 17,000 partners worldwide. Their impact is clear. For example, just the first quarter of this year, more than 70% of all new SAP S/4 Hana customers came through indirect channels. The number climbs to 99% with SAP Business One. A key milestone will happen on 4 June in Orlando at the SAP Global Partner Summit, when we will kick off the SAP Intelligent Enterprise strategy. This is the combination of an integrated ERP suite, with a robust cloud platform, powered by intelligent technologies like data-driven machine learning. SAP will pave the way for companies to succeed in the digital economy – and our partners will be with us, all along the way.

Q. Has a shift to cloud had a big impact on channel partners and the way SAP works with them?
A. We are constantly looking to introduce new services around the cloud for our channel partners. For example, we reinvented our award-winning PartnerEdge partner programme. Last year, we introduced Cloud Choice Profit Option, where SAP takes over the burdensome processes of invoicing and collecting the cloud subscriptions, and guarantees the margin of a cloud deal to the channel partner. It allows them to reduce their general and administrative (G&A) operating costs of doing business in the cloud, by leveraging the scalability of SAP financial systems and processes. Today, a significant part of SAP’s indirect cloud business flows through the Cloud Choice Profit Option.

Biography: Luis Murguia

Luis Murguia is the senior vice-president for global customer and partner operations at SAP Business One and Business ByDesgin. With small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurship on the rise, he is tasked with driving growth and adoption of SAP’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) offering for the SME: Business One and Business ByDesign. He is leveraging a combination of established value-added reseller, software solution partners, and new routes to market such as OEM partners or private managed cloud partners, to accelerate the success of Business One and Business ByDesign.

Previously, he was the senior vice-president of general business and partner operations (GPO) for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea) at SAP. In this position, he worked to drive sales activities targeting small businesses, mid-size companies and large enterprises in close cooperation with the SAP Partner Ecosystem. The Emea GPO business has been the fastest growing GPO business at SAP for the past two years. Prior to this, Murguia was senior vice-president of SME for EMEA and Latin America.  

He has more than 20 years of experience in the information technology business, across multiple countries in Latin America. Prior to joining SAP, Murguia managed the Latin American operations at Macromedia, where he was responsible for the channels organisation, the enterprise sales team and marketing programmes. Prior to this, he held various corporate sales, channel, marketing and senior management positions at Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Sybase, both at country and regional level. He holds an electrical engineering degree from the Instituto Tecnologico de Buenos Aires, and a Masters degree in engineering management from Stanford University. 

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