SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) has opened a channel program to help partners build, market and sell cloud-based packaged applications. The vendor is calling the program the SAP NetWeaver Cloud Applications Partner program, and, as you might expect, membership gains channel partners access to the vendor’s cloud building and management NetWeaver Cloud Service.

Bernd-Uwe Pagel, SAP senior vice president, Platform Ecosystem and eChannels, sees a broader cloud market opportunity for the vendor through an enlarged channel profile. "With the growing demand for software-as-a-service applications, the window of opportunity for this market is wide open,” he said. “Continuing a deep commitment to the ecosystem, SAP is helping partners take advantage of this huge market opportunity to develop cloud application offerings and reach SAP's vast customer base by selling them on SAP Store."

SAP’s cloud channel partner program, which the vendor rolled out at the Sapphire Now event in Madrid, Spain, features enablement tools, benefits and support. The program supplies members with a starter package equipped with platform resources and development licenses, access to SAP’s developer community, enablement, tools to manage their partner relationship, and use of the online partner portal. In addition, partners can achieve SAP certification for NetWeaver Cloud apps and can tap into the vendor’s SAP Store to market and sell their cloud, mobile and other applications, officials said.

Under senior vice president of global channels Kevin Gilroy’s direction, SAP has noticeably expanded its channel presence to consistently deliver significant quarter-over-quarter indirect sales growth, setting a reachable goal of generating 40 percent of its business through partners by 2015, up from one-third right now. This new cloud channel program adds heft to SAP’s overall value proposition to channel partners, perhaps attracting more ISVs and developers into the fold.

This past August, SAP kicked off a new partner program for mobile software developers, particularly those building business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) mobile applications. The Mobile Apps Partner program offers developers looking to make a business out of packaged mobile apps a series of tools, resources, benefits and a sales outlet through the SAP Store.