SAP Has a Credibility Problem
SAP wants to become a cloud service provider, but at best it has no more to offer than Microsoft, Amazon, or Google. SAP speaks a great deal about cloud computing, but has no unique selling points in the field. And for the services which SAP does excel in, there is hardly any recognition. What are recognized as unique selling points are the SAP product BRIM, Billing and Revenue Innovation Management (on-prem), and the somewhat weaker SAP cloud counterpart, Subscription Billing.
At the DSAG—German-speaking User Group—Annual Congress in Leipzig, Germany, I spoke with SAP Executive Board member Thomas Saueressig about the successful BRIM project at the Swiss Post. Within seconds a lively conversation ensued, wherein Thomas Saueressig confirmed the success and strategic importance of BRIM. It occurred to me that SAP could write a report on the BRIM solution—even if it is not yet cloud-capable at the moment and thus perhaps does not fit one hundred percent into the current cloud-obsessed “SAP philosophy”. Thomas Saueressig gave me the impression that he would be happy to consider the request.
Consequently, at the DSAG Annual Congress, a meeting took place between all parties involved, with the approval of the SAP Executive Board. But even well-intentioned communication can be destructive if no concrete steps are taken. Thomas Saueressig’s words in Leipzig during the meeting between the executive board and E-3 Magazine no longer seem credible. What went wrong?
Insiders will be unsurprised, yet appalled: when something doesn’t fit into the official SAP picture—as in this case, a successful on-prem product—the issue is delegated downward until it subsides and order is restored. All those involved aware of BRIM’s contributory value will be horrified. Hardly any other SAP product continuously brings in as much revenue into SAP’s coffers as BRIM does. After BRIM’s successful customizing, SAP’s wallet continues to grow fatter and fatter. Even in the usually critical circles of the DSAG, experts are convinced of BRIM’s quality , but draw attention to its high costs, which hardly any small or mid-sized companies can afford.
For the SAP community, SAP’s disinterest comes as a culture shock. SAP should strive to ensure communication remains consistent, and middle management and legions of assistants should not allowed to slow down the board of directors. In the end, however, what SAP has is a noncredible, unreliable, and thus compromised board of directors. Communication can only be relevant if it is credible. SAP partners’ commitment and the board’s willingness are relevant to the success of the entire SAP community.