However, Bill might be wrong this time: A good economic climate and loyal customers mean massive sales increases and satisfactory returns for SAP, but Bill McDermott’s cloud and Hana vision has no foundation. Customers don’t want to switch from R/3 to ERP 6.0 to S/7 with AnyDB, to SoH, Hana as well as to S/4 at breakneck speed in order to finally end up in the SAP Cloud Platform. The digital transformation calls for a pioneering spirit. In other words, new business processes, new structures and procedures have to be invented, designed and customized. The real challenges go far beyond in-memory, mobile and cloud computing.
In the distant past, the big fish swallowed the small fry and the hares overtook the tortoises. Today, what really counts is innovation, intelligence and pioneering spirit. A sound degree in business studies and efficient business processes are replacing the supremacy of hardware and in-memory computing databases. When Salesforce and Google join forces, no Hana speed frenzy can help. The cloud strategy followed by SAP boss Bill McDermott based on the record-breaking fever of ex-CTO Vishal Sikka are no longer in keeping with the times and might lead SAP into a dead end by 2020.
SAP Cloud Platform – after all the trials and tribulations connected with HEC and HCP – is still only one solution among many on offer and possesses no unique selling features aside from being SAP products. SAP customers are better and more flexibly served by a cloud exit strategy and multi-cloud concepts; the SAP Sword of Damocles of “indirect use” can still manage to thwart their hopes.
In reality, customers are switching to a cloud computing model without SAP being able to show any significant growth in its own ERP cloud. And anyone opting for the “wrong” cloud offer is threatened to be hit with licensing fees for “indirect use”. What SAP customers need are affordable tools, platforms and solutions. The tasks that need tackling are IoT, machine learning, blockchain and open source. It’s here that pioneering spirit is called for.
Digital transformation is massively widening the ERP spectrum, bots, IoT, AI and blockchain being a typical selection. Blockchain is an almost endless chain of certificates buried in users’ computers all around the world. Does a SAP blockchain turn SAP customers into indirect users? Will every IoT sensor and every M2M communication incur licensing fees for SAP Leonardo? Must a bot that uses Leonardo Machine Learning also purchase the SAP Professional User license for €3,200 and pay AI maintenance fees in the future?
The SAP record-breaking fever leaves many questions unanswered and will thus become a risk factor for customers whose pioneering spirit might suffer as a result. The “digital transformation” hill must be climbed head-on and not just circumnavigated in increasingly faster circles.