The SAP Sapphire Now conference sounds like a customer gathering. But take a closer look and you'll notice roughly 600 to 700 SAP channel partners at the event, which includes a Partner Summit. Check in with Senior VP Kevin Gilroy or VP Meaghan Sullivan, and you'll hear upbeat perspectives amid the gathering. As Gilroy puts it, "Our channel is rocking." Why's that?

Simply put, SAP's overall business appears strong. And SAP's channel business appears even stronger. SAP has previously stated that it wants 40 percent of its software revenue to come from partners in 2015, up from about 33 percent in 2012. Gilroy says SAP is on track to meet that goal, and the channel business is experiencing double-digit growth.

Gilroy credit's SAP's ability to mix enterprise heritage with channel commitment and key hires -- including fellow HP veteran Sullivan. "People like Meaghan get it," said Gilroy during a phone chat with The VAR Guy last week. "We also have committment to the channel from our co-CEOs. They get the power and the reach of the channel."

"Whether it's our HANA announcements or mobility, database, cloud or ERP, you'll see the channel is front and center," added Sullivan, who joined SAP about 10 months ago from HP. "That's the over-arching theme."

Sullivan and Gilroy stopped short of describing what SAP would announce at Sapphire. But Gilroy offered this tempting sound bite: "When you look at what we're going to announce, you'll see there will be fortunes made in the channel. Some involve products that are well-established. Others will involve new products where partners get at the front-end of the curve and it will triple the value of their companies."

To help empower those partners, SAP's channel marketing team has introduced a range of fast-ramp partnering activities. The idea is ramp to revenue as fast as possible from demand generation activities, notes Sullivan. There are also new one-to-one dedicated marketing resources, which have helped some partners improve their marketing pipelines by a factor of 3.

"I never had a doubt that we'd get here when I joined SAP three years ago," said Gilroy. "I'm not saying there aren't bumps in the road. But we're on a march and it's going extremely well."

How well? The VAR Guy is keeping close tabs on Sapphire for more details. And Associate Editor CJ Arlotta is on hand at the conference to deliver more insights.