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In today’s interview, we sit down with Imran Khan, Vice-President for the SAP Integration and Certification Center (SAP ICC) to discuss the latest offerings for certification with partners and ISVs, as well as milestones, successes, and adoption of certification within the SAP ecosystem over the past 20 years.

BARAJAS: This year, 2016, marks 20 years of enabling the SAP partner ecosystem with various cross-portfolio product certifications provided by SAP ICC.  What is SAP ICC’s mission and how has it contributed to its long term success with the SAP partner ecosystem?

KHAN: From its inception back in 1996, SAP ICC’s mission has been to help partners and ISVs adopt the latest SAP technologies and solutions, and test the integration or deployment of third-party applications resulting in high quality solutions provided by the SAP ecosystem.  We ensure customers and prospects purchase with ease and peace of mind, since the partner applications have gone through a series of in-depth testing in order to gain SAP’s technical stamp of approval in the form of a certification.  Our partners demonstrate technical alignment at the integration layer and ideally strategic alignment with SAP’s portfolio of solutions.

In addition, SAP ICC’s success is due to our ability to adjust rapidly to market demands, see beyond the trends, and create programs and services of value to aid the needs of partners and ISVs.  Our certification program integrates partner solutions of acquired companies like BusinessObjects, SuccessFactors, Sybase, and Hybris, as well as innovations such as SAP HANA, SAP HANA Cloud Platform, and SAP Fiori.  In our 20 years of service, we have performed more than 9,000 certifications for more than 3,000 partners and ISVs worldwide across different solutions and technologies with many today interested in seeking certifications with SAP HANA Cloud Platform and SAP S/4HANA.

BARAJAS: Given SAP ICC’s success with various certifications across different solutions and products with partners and ISVs, why was it important to establish certification centers around the globe and what does it look like today?

KHAN: In order to cover the multiple time zones, cultures and languages, where our partners and ISVs are located, SAP ICC established a strong regional presence.  Today, we have certification centers in Palo Alto in the United States of America, Toronto and Montreal in Canada, and São Leopoldo in Brazil. In EMEA, we haves offices in Walldorf, Germany and Moscow, Russia.  In APJ, we have offices in Bangalore, India, Beijing, China, and Sydney, Australia. Each location is composed of integration experts with expertise across the diverse portfolio of SAP solutions to drive joint certification projects with partners and ISVs.

Even though SAP ICC interacts with hundreds of partners each year, the regional presence allows us a personal touch and good rapport often over a long period of engagement with our partners.  We hold many face-to-face meetings at events, such as regional SAP Forums, partner summits and SAP TechEds, so partners understand the value of certification for their customers and prospects.

BARAJAS: Given SAP ICC’s history and success with its evolution of certification programs and enablement services, how can partners and ISVs offer input and provide feedback to address future needs and areas of improvement?

KHAN: Today, SAP ICC is interacting with partners and ISVs via partner meetups like in SAP Silicon Valley and in the future, Walldorf and Bangalore will host them as well.  Special breakfast engagements and private partner pre-events before SAPPPHIRE NOW and SAP TechEds are also opportunities to network with partners and ISVs.  So meet with us, or engage with us via Twitter using #SAPICC and on the SAP Community Network (SAP SCN).

BARAJAS: It has been interesting to see, how SAP ICC has grown over time since 1996, and to revisit the many important initiatives that our partners took part in.  Now in 2016, how is SAP ICC going to highlight more of its milestones and share with the partner and ISV community?  What does SAP ICC have in store for the future?

KHAN: To learn more about the different milestones by SAP ICC throughout its 20 years of dedicated service to the SAP partner ecosystem, please visit our timeline with facts and figures throughout 1996 to 2016:

Throughout 2016, SAP ICC will use blogs, special engagements and events at SAP SAPPHIRE NOW and SAP TechEds, along with other interactive ways to show case and highlight different milestones to share with the SAP partner ecosystem its success in driving many innovative and successful joint certification projects across the portfolio of SAP solutions.

Currently, SAP ICC offers various options for certification with SAP S/4HANA, along with offering partner-built extensions the opportunity to certify with SAP HANA Cloud Platform.  In addition, we now offer an SAP S/4HANA system, so partners and ISVs can explore and test their integrations, while offering SAP HANA Hardware Certification, Premium Certification, and many other innovative services to come in 2016.

BARAJAS: Thank you, Imran for sharing SAP ICC’s milestones and successes across its 20 years of dedicated service. Enjoy the celebrations!

To learn more, please visit with the SAP Integration and Certification Center to explore potential certifications with SAP S/4HANA and SAP HANA Cloud Platform.  In addition, explore the latest promotional offers available with SAP S/4HANA and SAP HANA Cloud Platform for future certification projects.