SAP (NYSE: SAP) Sapphire Now is underway in Orlando, Fla. More than 600 SAP partners are seeking updates on SAP's channel strategy. What are partners hoping to hear from SAP at the conference? The partners we spoke with seemed to be honing in on a few main areas of interest. One key starting point: Getting an update on SAP HANA, while also hoping to learn how SAP will maintain the channel as a community -- not a sales force. 

Understanding SAP's overall strategy is a main priority for Illumiti COO Dror Orbach. The value-added reseller (VAR) is an SAP Gold Partner that has placed all its eggs in the SAP basket. A dramatic change in SAP's strategy can affect Illumiti in a tremendous way.

"They [SAP] have a broad coverage of their footprint," he said. "What will they emphasize? What will they invest in? How are they positioning an all-in-one in the cloud?"

Orbach also mentioned the importance of SAP HANA success stories. He said a lot of talk last year was about SAP HANA gaining momentum. Now, more success stories of SAP HANA at the mid-market level would be useful.

Keeping the channel as a community, not a salesforce

Idhasoft Vice President of Sales Anthony de la Fuente said he'll be looking to see what they have planned for SAP HANA, too, but he's also focused on the channel.

"Channel is not an extension of the sales force, but a community," he said.

He added that SAP has really grown its channel focus over the past five years. When SAP employees understand what the channel needs, "the relationship sings."

SAP Senior VP Kevin Gilroy and VP Meaghan Sullivan provided us with a few teasers to The VAR Guy last week.

Stay tuned for our live coverage.