United VARs, an alliance of SAP channel partners, has struck a deal with enterprise cloud service company Symmetry to provide a global cloud platform that members of United VARs will use to provide private SAP cloud application services to their customers
The announcement comes as SAP is ramping up its efforts to convince customers to migrate their enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications and other SAP software to the cloud.
Last week at the vendor’s Sapphire Now conference in Orlando SAP channel executives outlined plans to accelerate cloud ERP software sales through the channel.
ERP applications, because of their business-critical nature and use of sensitive data, are generally among the last types of applications businesses are moving to the cloud.
Symmetry will become the world infrastructure partner for the United VARs Cloud Solution for SAP HANA, a globally connected cloud hosting platform developed specifically for running mission-critical cloud enterprise SAP applications.
Symmetry, a certified SAP partner since 2005, has deep experience in hosting and managing private and hybrid cloud systems, including SAP HANA Cloud and SAP applications such as SAP S/4HANA.
United VARs is an alliance of some SAP channel partners that provide SAP services in more than 80 countries including Seidor, Illumiti, All for One Steeb and Answerthink. The alliance was founded in 2006, became a legal entity in 2011, and won a platinum SAP reseller designation in 2015.
United VARs has some 8,000 customers under maintenance contracts with a focus on midmarket customers, said Detlef Mehlmann, director of the alliance, in an interview with CRN.
“The United VARs Cloud Solution for SAP HANA will be a strategic driver for United VARs, providing our 40-plus member companies with the best possible cloud deployment option for SAP HANA, with a cost structure that creates a competitive advantage in the market,” said Mehlmann, who is also head of business development international for All for One Steeb, a United VARs founding member and SAP platinum partner.
“This new global solution is also a major differentiator for United VARs. We are now the only organization in the world that can combine the localized expertise of a regional specialist with the global resources of a large consulting company, covering SAP application management and cloud infrastructure,” Mehlmann said. “This is a particularly compelling value proposition for international enterprises.”
The Symmetry-United VARs relationship is also expected to reduce the capital and operational costs, and the complexity, of SAP HANA adoption, according to the companies.
While SAP offers its own HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) private cloud service, Mehlmann said SAP is more focused on providing private cloud services to large companies while the Symmetry/United VARs services will be targeted toward mid-size customers.
“There’s a big void in the middle part of the market,” said Symmetry CEO Pete Stevenson, also in an interview with CRN.
The United VARs Cloud Solution for SAP HANA will be deployed on Symmetry’s converged cloud infrastructure platform running through a global network of Tier 3 data centers.
United VARs partners will leverage the Symmetry network to add a global cloud platform option to their product portfolios, offering their customers SAP HANA and SAP applications with disaster recovery, state-of-the-art monitoring and 99.999 percent uptime service level agreements, according to a statement from Symmetry and United VARs.
“This gives United VARs a unified global platform,” Stevenson said.
Symmetry will be taking its hosting “footprint” in North America and replicating it in Europe and in the Asia/Pacific region, Stevenson said. Symmetry is currently rolling out the United VARs Cloud Solution for SAP HANA service in North America and the company expects to have the service available in other regions of the world by the end of this year.
Under the deal Symmetry will bill the solution providers for the cloud services with VARs billing the customers. “The VARs will own the customer relationship,” Stevenson said.
While businesses have been moving their ERP applications to the cloud at a slower pace than other applications, Mehlmann said, that’s changing as businesses move to digitally transform their operations. And as those businesses’ customers move more of their systems to the cloud, the businesses have to follow suit, he said.
Another market driver: SAP has set 2025 as the end date for maintenance for its older on-premise-only applications, Mehlmann said.