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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Allison Gapter is a channel marketing veteran with more than 20 years’ experience in high-tech marketing and business development. Currently, she serves as Vice President of Global Partner Marketing, Demand Generation at SAP. Prior to SAP, Gapter held various channel management roles for vendors, and ran marketing for distributor Westcon-Comstor. She is passionate about leading high-performing teams, developing talent and helping partners drive revenue to grow their businesses.
Interviewed by Swastika Singh
/ / How has the PRM function evolved in your company over the past few years?
At SAP, we use our own software to manage partners, and over the years, we have further developed our systems to offer partners unique functionality. We’ve also created tighter integrations with other SAP systems like CRM, deal management, lead registration tools and our own SAP Partner Services Benefits Catalog. Further, we’ve automated partner management processes like authorizations for specific products, Market Development Funds (MDF) balances and usage, etc. Within MDF specifically, we have automated the process to order specific services. As an example, if a partner would like to “order” a marketing activity, they can simply go into our SAP Partner Benefits Catalog, and at the click of a button, purchase a campaign list. Their payment is automatically withdrawn from the MDF account – no processes for reimbursement or waiting for approvals necessary. We call this “MDF Direct Pay”, and it creates a seamless experience for the partner. All of this functionality comes from the advancements we’ve made with our PRM system.
/ / How do you recruit your partners? What parameters do you consider while choosing a partner?
We leverage partner profiles based on the success patterns of our existing channels, and match this with companies in the market. We also leverage our PRM system to drive a standardized workflow-based process for recruitment across the different types of partner engagement models we offer.
/ / Elaborate on the challenges that you face while managing your partners?
At SAP, we face challenges similar to those many other businesses do – we hear this at various round tables and conference discussions. Due to our broad portfolio, we need to find a balanced approach across a very diversified ecosystem. We’ve made our program and processes more specific to reflect this shift.
/ / Is partner onboarding a critical function in partner management? Should companies create different onboarding programs for different partners?
Yes, onboarding is very critical, as most of our solutions require a lot of investment for new partners. We’ve established dedicated teams to incubate new partners, and each of these teams are focused on a specific partner type: i.e., resellers, systems integrators, or ISVs.
/ / Name the different partner performance metrics that you track.
Our primary metrics are:
In some cases, we look at the partners’ expansion into different areas of the SAP portfolio.
/ / What are the different content assets that you create for your partners? What role do they play in enabling your partners?
SAP provides a very comprehensive set of assets for our partners to be able to properly position, market, sell and implement our solutions. We also provide both, on-demand and in-person marketing enablement, which are accompanied by tools and assets to help partners in their marketing journey. We also provide partners with turn-key campaigns and a virtual platform for campaign execution, both free of charge. Further, we provide artificial intelligence tools to help our partners track prospects through the buying cycle (an MDF-reimbursable option).
/ / What types of training do you conduct for your partners?
SAP offers comprehensive training for our partners in pre-sales, sales, support and technical consulting across all the products in our portfolio. In addition to this, we offer a marketing certification course and a series of ongoing marketing enablement training that teach partners a wide variety of marketing skills and tactics. This helps them build their pipeline and drive revenue through both, digital campaigns and social selling tactics, the latter of which we’re seeing great success with.
/ / What role does MDF (Marketing Development Fund) play in partner marketing? How do you allocate the MDF amongst your partners?
MDF can play a very large role for our partners, especially the smaller ones who may rely quite heavily on these funds to help them drive business.
SAP PartnerEdge, which has been an award-winning program since its inception, offers a tiered approach to partnership, with rewards around business performance, competency and strategic alignment with SAP.
SAP also provides partners with business development funds, which any partner can apply for. This is supplemental to the partner’s regular MDF accrual.
/ / Do you create co-branded marketing content for your partners? What other partner activities do you undertake?
We offer our partners a wide variety of campaigns that they can customize to create their own demand generation campaign. We provide not only content for digital campaigns, but customizable content for use on LinkedIn (Sales Navigator’s PointDrive functionality), as well as a platform called SAP Virtual Agency on which to actually execute campaigns. All of this is provided free of charge to our partners as a benefit of the SAP PartnerEdge program. Partners can also use MDF for additional services like Contact AI (offered via SAP Virtual Agency), which provides intelligence on contacts uploaded by the partner. A unique advantage here is the ability to score an individual’s intent to buy and understand where they are in their buying cycle. This is a great tool to help partners pay proper attention to leads at the right time.
/ / Do you think companies are investing enough in PRM?
While we cannot speak for other businesses, SAP is, indeed, making the necessary investments into PRM. The latest of these is our investment in cloud-based apps integrated with our core PRM system, which increase usability for our partners and ourselves. These apps also provide us with improved tracking mechanisms, allowing for easier observation of partner marketing efforts, which, in turn, helps us provide them with the resources they need to be successful.
/ / How is the evolution of technologies like LMS (Learning Management System) and processes like lead distribution through marketing automation changing the PRM function?
Automated systems are allowing us to do more (serve more partners) with fewer resources. By freeing up employees from these more administrative tasks, we’re able to focus on higher-value initiatives like sales programs to drive revenue and the creation of more resources for our partners to market themselves.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive PRM in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
At SAP, we go through digital transformation for our processes and systems, leveraging SAP’s latest innovations like cloud-based products and services, machine learning and AI. I would estimate that other software vendors are likely doing similar work to drive better/faster results from their partner ecosystems.
Partners need rich, marketable content to sell better
Aimee Catalano, Head of Global Partner Marketing, Google Cloud
Enable your partners to be modern marketers
Michelle Chiantera, Vice President of Americas Marketing and Communications, Cisco