SAP AG Global Customer Operations (GCO) COO Mark Ferrer succeeded former Channel Chief Eric Duffaut last week. Ferrer has built global go-to-market strategies in the past. In this interview with Associate Editor CJ Arlotta, Ferrer describes where he's heading next with SAP's ERP and SaaS channel partners.

As many VARs know, SAP has a "you innovate, we support" philosophy with channel partners, a strategy discussed at SAP Americas Partner Leadership Summit in mid-2013. But does Ferrer plan to continue this channel strategy? Here's the update.

CJ: What made you want to take on this new role in the channel? Do you have any prior channel experience?

Ferrer: I have a lot of channel background, and an understanding of different and unique routes to market. Eric and I spent a lot of time together building the go-to-market for the broader sales organization and understanding how the ecosystem and channels piece fits into that, and how we would deploy that in the regions and manage it globally. Also, as the COO of global customer operations, I worked very closely with our regional presidents and looked forward to spending time in the regions, strengthening the relationships with customers, partners and our teams.

CJ: With Duffaut gone, will you follow in his footsteps, or will you go your own route?

Ferrer: He built a very solid foundation, and the business is robust. My focus now will be on execution and to capitalize on this solid foundation we already have. The design and structure are right -- it’s just a question now of executing the strategy, and ensuring that we are disciplined about our governance model. I’m a big believer in understanding how the business is executed in the regions by spending time there with customers and partners. You only get a sense of whether the model is working when you see how it’s deployed in-country.

CJ: How will you go about things differently than Duffaut?

Ferrer: It’s not so much a question of what I’ll do differently, as how I’ll take what the team has done, extend it and enhance our alignment, especially through a strong focus on the regions.

CJ: What, specifically, should channel partners pay close attention to in the fourth quarter of 2013?

Ferrer: Accelerating innovation, seeing what they can achieve for customers with our innovative technologies and identifying how they can serve the customers in their niche industry or in their geography.

CJ: Now that you've been appointed to your new role, what will be some of your first initiatives, goals?

Ferrer: I’m interested in looking at how we can leverage alternative routes to market. Moving to a platform company requires us to identify new paths, so I’m very eager to continue reinforcing our multi-channel go-to-market and explore new channels like web commerce and social.