Before I wrote this article, I had to make my anger known at the breakfast table. My lovely wife just said, “Why don’t you give Christian Klein a chance? He’s still young and has to sow his wild oats first.” I replied, “Yes, of course I don’t begrudge him his playground – greenfield and RISE – but please not at the expense of existing customers.”
The March issue of the German Manager Magazin reads, “The hard-working and likeable Mr. Klein has, as he himself says, done his homework on integration and increased customer satisfaction to record levels – plus ten points on the Net Promoter Score. But rock solid is not enough, anywhere and certainly not in the software world, which thrives on imagining tomorrow.”
Digital transformation, Asap, Run Simple, Conversion, or RISE are necessary repair service behavior for the Hana and S/4 strategy that has gone nowhere so far. Too many questions have been left unanswered: What will happen to AnyDB licenses after 2025? How do you replace large Oracle and DB2 databases with the in-memory computing technology of the Hana platform? It seems as though no journalist or analyst is interested in this anymore, and even the German-speaking SAP user group DSAG has been silent on this topic – but for us customers, the answers are vital for future business success.
More than a year ago, SAP Chief Technology Officer Juergen Mueller promised us a solution for AnyDB – nothing has happened! SAP remains silent on the AnyDB conversion but continues to buy new companies. SAP’s customers are now supposed to replace Aris wallpaper with colorful diagrams from Signavio. What used to be called business process reengineering is now called business process mining or intelligence. However, Signavio is just a different label. For 25 years, there have been excellent tools available to perform ‘process mining’ in a sustainable way. Otherwise, the many thousands of SAP legacy customers would not have survived.
One idea after another
To me, RISE is at its core a labeling scam designed to distract from the real issues. After Christian Klein gave an exclusive interview to the American SAP user group ASUG, which shamelessly used the broadcast to recruit new members, ASUG praised SAP’s RISE to the highest heavens. Ultimately, however, RISE is just another IT tool like Asap, Run Simple, or Conversion. Somehow, the release change has to succeed, and this is why SAP’s young board members Christian Klein, Juergen Mueller, and Thomas Saueressig keep coming up with something new every time – eventually, something has to stick, right?
I don’t expect much from our beloved DSAG in the near future. The new board first has to consolidate, and the Annual DSAG Congress has already been canceled again. The innovative power of the association seems to be drying up as well. My last hope are the ex-Microsoft executives joining SAP’s executive board. I am banking on sustainable communication from the new marketing director Julia White and innovation, vision, and strategy from COO Sabine Bendiek.
Microsoft has done an excellent job of managing cultural and technological change, so perhaps the two managers also see an opportunity at SAP to pull the cart out of the mud. Otherwise, SAP could suffer a similar fate as IBM: Big enough to survive, but without any real hope of success, because Hana and S/4 will not save the ERP company.