SAS® Global Forum (SASGF) always attracts thousands of SAS users and analytically minded executives. That’s why we planned a handful of key, Partner-specific events throughout SASGF – to inspire, educate and connect Partners with SAS customers and their peers. In addition to the 82 presentations made by partners at SASGF, here’s a sampling of other Partner-specific activities enjoyed in Orlando in April.
After two Partner Forums aligned with Analytics Experience events in Las Vegas and Rome in 2016, we decided to hold this year’s forum alongside SASGF. The goal was to give SAS partners more value at the event by providing access to all the great content of SAS’ anchor event, and allow for important networking opportunities with their peers.
“SAS is developing new technologies and exploring ways to help our customers grow their businesses. Our partner community plays a critical part in that.” —Russ Cobb
The result was fantastic. More than 300 partners attended this year’s Partner Forum, a 50-percent increase over the combined attendance from last year’s forums. And there was an international flavor to this event, with 60 percent of attendees coming from outside the United States.
The main stage session featured partner-focused content from SAS executives Carl Farrell, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer; Randy Guard, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer; and Oliver Schabenberger, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. Partner representatives from Accenture and Capgemini also shared their thoughts on the importance of partnering, in a fireside chat with Russ Cobb, Vice President of Alliances and Channels.
Keynote speaker Mike Harvath, President and CEO of Revenue Rocket, a company focused on the growth and maturity of system integrators, IT service providers and resellers, took the stage and shared bold ideas on how companies can make small adjustments to their business models to survive – and even thrive.
The channel Partners in the room listened intently as Rob Spee, Director of Global Channel Programs at SAS, used the sailing term “tacking,” or turning into the wind, metaphorically to make a point about strategic timing. “It’s important not to tack too early - or too late,” Spee said. “For SAS channel partners, the time to tack is now. All the elements for success are there.”
Scott Batchelor, Partner Marketing Manager and host of the event, talked about the importance of making small adjustments that can lead to big successes. Cobb later returned to the stage to share his takeaways for how Partners can experience growth with SAS.
The afternoon session was highlighted by a discussion around two opportunities that SAS Partners can leverage to gain a competitive advantage. Gavin Day, Vice President of Data Management, gave an overview of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new European regulation that requires a significant data management component. Fiona McNeill, Principal Product Marketing Manager, dove into the hot topic of SAS® Viya™ and what partners can do to leverage it with their customers.
As customer demand for analytics solutions grows and delivery models evolve, a robust partner community extends our reach. SAS’ strong Partner Program of consulting firms, resellers, OEMs and managed analytic services providers continues to introduce customers to the power of SAS®, as well as help customers implement SAS technology and solve their most complex business problems. In fact, many partners capitalized on the new training and credentials program to deepen their SAS skills, resulting in a 68-percent increase in partners earning SAS credentials last year.
“There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in the analytics space,” Cobb said. “SAS is developing new technologies and exploring ways to help our customers grow their businesses. Our partner community plays a critical part in that. Together, we give our customers an end-to-end solution from implementing the technology to business process change.”
The awards program is part of our continued efforts to drive partners’ return on investment in SAS and recognize the great work happening around the world.
At an awards ceremony held during the conference, SAS recognized the innovation and value that our partners are driving every day for customers. The award winners are as follows.
- Global Partner of the Year – Accenture.
- Channel Partner of the Year – Maxtera Technologies.
- Excellence in Innovation – Datagear.
Additionally, SAS honored the following organizations as Regional Partners of the Year:
- Asia Pacific: ITOCHU Techno-Solutions (CTC).
- Canada/Latin America: Financial Risk Group.
- Central/Eastern Europe: Nunatac.
- DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland): Cintellic.
- MEA (Middle East, Africa): LinkTera.
- Nordics: KnowIT.
- SWE (Southwest Europe): Sopra Steria.
- United Kingdom/Ireland: Sopra Steria.
- United States: d-Wise.
Partner Advisory Board
In addition to the Partner Forum and awards ceremony, we held our first meeting of the SAS Partner Advisory Board during SAS Global Forum. This board was created to enable SAS to engage with Partners of all sizes and types, thereby providing us with a diverse and invested sounding board in our Partner community.
Partner members of the board include executives from global system integrators Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte and EY; technology partners Oracle, Teradata and Cisco; regional partners Reply Group and Corios; and channel partners Kolon Benit, Pinnacle, CDS/Maxtera, Amadeaus and Novencia.
We had great dialogue and received excellent feedback about the SAS Viya platform, and now have a shared view of some of the commercial opportunities that SAS Viya makes possible. SAS Product Management and Professional Services leadership also attended the meeting and now have a solid list of recommendations and actions for follow-up.
Looking back on a great week in Orlando, we consider our Partners’ presence and participation at SASGF a resounding success, and look forward to more opportunities to leverage their reach and incorporate them into go-to-market plans around the world throughout 2017.