Due to the numerous and (technically) successful cloud offerings from SAP, the question “Can SAP also do cloud?” may sound more rhetorical than serious. However, there is one area that is essential for cloud computing which SAP has been neglecting: the cloud licensing model. If you take a closer look at SAP’s cloud subscriptions and FUE (Full Use Equivalent), a vendor-lock-in seems imminent.
SAP has transformed the on-prem licensing model with one-time payments and maintenance fees into the cloud – the only difference is the name. This licensing model is similar to an R/3 license: Once customized, SAP customers’ systems are trapped in SAP’s cloud. There is no exit strategy. There is no dynamic license adjustment. SAP’s cloud licensing model reflects the same rigidity that the community is familiar with from back in the R/3 days. The cloud rental model is very inflexible and ultimately negates all the benefits that cloud computing should bring.
A return to own data centers – despite many hybrid concepts existing on paper – won’t happen anytime soon if SAP gets its way. The future of the SAP cloud is a continuation of the on-prem past. If customers enter the SAP cloud realm, they are to remain there forever – at least that is how CFO Luka Mucic defines cloud subscriptions for SAP itself. So yes, SAP can do cloud, but not for the benefit of its own customers!