The New Competency Framework: 10 Basics Partners Need to Know

SAP introduced its new Competency Framework in August 2022 that takes the SAP PartnerEdge program to a new level. The framework allows partners to differentiate themselves in their markets with global competency and specializations for SAP’s cloud portfolio, communicating their capabilities, expertise, and experience.

The new Competency Framework is a transformative project to help customers select the partner that best fits their digital transformation journey towards becoming an intelligent enterprise. Designed to focus on customer lifetime value and customer outcomes, it recognizes partners with demonstrated delivery expertise and excellence in specific lines of business and industries. In this way, the framework encourages continuous professional development that helps partners stay on top of changing industries and market demands.

This shift gives potential customers confidence that they’re choosing a provider that has the expertise they need to implement a solution that will deliver value.

Here are 10 things partners need to know about the Competency Framework and how it can benefit your business.

1. The difference between “competency” and “specialization”

Competency designations demonstrate a partner’s maturity at a solution or line-of-business level. There are three levels:

  • Essential: This competency tier recognizes partners who have met delivery and training requirements in at least one SAP product or a process specialization. It communicates that customers can rely on these partners’ level of expertise to successfully implement a project.
  • Advanced: These partners are SAP-certified, have expertise in platform integration, and have successfully implemented a larger number of projects that resulted in customer success.
  • Expert: This tier is reserved for partners who have assisted customers with end-to-end digital transformation and have developed unique solution capabilities within their market focus.

A specialization demonstrates accomplishments at a process level and is a building block toward achieving competencies.

2. Current competencies and specializations

SAP currently recognizes seven competencies with three progressive tiers and 21 specializations. Available competency designations are:

  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • ERP for Small and Midsize Enterprises
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Human Capital Management
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Spend Management
  • SAP Business Technology Platform

You can find the specializations related to each competency on SAP Partner Portal.

3. How to earn competencies and specializations

Partners must meet or exceed requirements in three key areas:

  • Knowledge: Partners must have the required number of certified solution consultants, project managers, and platform experts.
  • Customer success: You must meet the requirements for the number of delivered projects, defined as go-live waves, no older than 24 months.
  • Proficiency: You must also meet the required number of specializations per competency.

4. Finding your competency and specialization designations

Beginning in August 2022, designations will automatically appear in a new competencies and specializations card in SAP for Me. This will give you an opportunity to see which designations you’ve earned to date based on your history with the SAP PartnerEdge program. If you are part of a partner group, you’ll find new cards that show how each business in your group is contributing toward competency and specialization requirements. Starting Q4 2022, you will also be able to track your progress toward additional designations on the card as well.

5. Your designations on display

In September 2022, SAP will include the designations in best-fit partner search results on SAP Partner Finder as well. Partners will be able to request their logo via the competencies and specializations card in SAP for Me and use the designations they earn on marketing assets and digital tools to let customers and prospects see the status they’ve earned.

6. Earning multiple designations

While designations are designed to provide customers with a window into your specific expertise, that expertise may extend to more than one competency. SAP can award and recognize a partner for multiple competencies and specializations when they’ve met the additional criteria.

7. No fees or need to apply

Competencies and specializations are a benefit of the SAP PartnerEdge program, and there are no fees associated with the designations. They’re also awarded automatically, so there’s no application or approval process for you to navigate.

8. SAP resources that support competency and specialization achievement

SAP Learning Journeys are available for the products that map to competencies and specializations. See the Competency Framework page on SAP Partner Portal.

9. The impact on silver and gold partnership levels

With the introduction of the Competency Framework, SAP will halt display of the silver and gold logos on SAP Partner Finder after December 31, 2022, and will sunset the use of silver and gold logos by July 2023.

Partners have until July 31, 2023, to remove silver and gold logos from their materials and digital assets, however, current silver and gold partner levels and benefits will continue for program management purposes.

10. Competencies and specializations promotion by SAP

To boost partners’ marketing initiatives that leverage competencies and specializations, SAP will raise the visibility of these designations with press, analyst and customer awareness campaigns. Customers that learn about the new framework can then go to SAP Partner Finder and see which businesses have the specialties and expertise they’re seeking.

How SAP Competencies and Specializations Will Benefit Your Business

SAP is committed to helping you and your customers find the greatest success with SAP products. Increasing your visibility in your market and showcasing your competencies and specializations will help differentiate your business and find prospective clients in need of your skills and expertise.

The new framework will also help you focus on deals that provide the greatest chance of success for both your business and your customers.

Get started today by checking your competencies and specializations card on SAP for Me, and learn more about the new Competency Framework on SAP Partner Portal.