During the 2020 annual conference of German-speaking SAP user group DSAG, Christian Klein stood in front of an empty auditorium and explained his strategic plan for the coming years: a combination of ‘back to the roots’ and integration beyond the SAP horizon.
I know I’m often giving the young CEO a hard time, but this is actually a very clever plan! SAP’s strength has always come from E2E integration, from the single point of truth, from a central database where every document, every data set, every last bit of information can be found.
These databases were surrounded by application modules, later called clients (the database was the server). What it found clever or useful, SAP integrated into the ‘black box‘ R/3. Today, this tradition still continues, with numerous cloud and on-prem apps flocking around Hana.
Christian Klein has announced that he wants to go even further along this comprehensive integration path: In the future, non-SAP products and the numerous cloud acquisitions made over the past years will also be integrated into SAP’s ERP, so that users will always have end-to-end processes.
This idea is fascinating, and despite all the technological challenges, I think that yes, SAP could master this complex roadmap with the Hana platform and its cloud technology. Existing SAP customers will have to be patient, but it could be worth the wait – at the very least, Christian Klein has finally developed a viable vision. Bravo!