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In my last blog, I shared how the release of Cloud Foundry-based services offers SAP partners pivotal features such as portability, enterprise grade capabilities, and openness. For this post, let’s focus on how a vibrant and diverse partner ecosystem is critical to the success of SAP Cloud Platform.

To understand the importance of the ecosystem, we need to start by exploring the industry trend towards bi-modal IT and why it is preferable to a traditional monolithic stack approach. Secondly, we need to articulate the business benefits it will bring our customers if successfully adopted. Finally, we need to hypothesise what success might look like and why the ecosystem is a critical success factor.

So, what is bi-modal IT and why is it important? Bi-modal is a Gartner term for an IT paradigm of a stable core, mode 1, and an agility layer that allows for rapid business innovation, mode 2. SAP S/4 HANA and its public cloud are the SAP mode 1 application portfolios for on-premises and cloud deployments respectively. SAP Cloud Platform is the SAP agility layer that offers mode 2 capabilities. To be truly considered as mode 2, a platform must allow customers to trial and experiment new business capabilities in days and weeks, not months and years.

Over 700 SAP business partners successfully embrace the agile application development of the SAP Cloud Platform, moving from an idea to proof of concept in generally less than a month. This represents a dramatic shift in how rapidly businesses can innovate and requires the support of many partner types with differing skills such as building cloud native applications or running digital transformation projects using agile methodology. At SAP, we are working closely with existing partners and attracting new cloud native and ISV partners to rapidly deliver agile application capabilities. The key is choice and breadth of innovation.

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With so many partners driving “edge innovation” how do our traditional customers benefit? The innovative solutions developed by the SAP Cloud Platform partner ecosystem can quickly solve a multitude of difficult business challenges delivering real commercial value to benefit our 350,000 install-base customers. With a rich portfolio of ecosystem applications that support and complement the existing SAP application portfolio, customers can spend less of their budget on maintenance and spend more on innovation and growth. Quicker innovation drives more success which frees up more budget to help fund more innovation.

So, what does success look like for the SAP Cloud Platform? A broad community and ecosystem of developers, ISVs, consulting partners, technology partners and customers who build, export and consume APIs on an open platform. The current Cloud Platform ecosystem successfully spans 25 industries, and 10+ lines of business across all geographies.

A thriving ecosystem means partners are no longer tied to a specific market. A small consulting firm in Australia can sell its IP to customers in North America at minimal cost. And financial services partners for example can use their niche knowledge to rethink business problems in other industries like retail with reduced barriers to entry.

Bottom line, access to SAP Cloud Platform innovation through a diverse and vibrant partner ecosystem is a win-win-win for both customers and the partners. @SAPCP #wherethecoolshithappens.