Former SAP CEO Bill McDermott used to repeat his favorite mantra, ‘Run Simple’, so much that everyone in the SAP community is now familiar with it. Which also means that it has lost its appeal – not to mention that Bill McDermott doesn’t work at SAP anymore.
A very young but motivated team, primarily consisting of executive board members Christian Klein, Jürgen Müller and Thomas Saueressig, has inherited ‘Run Simple’ as well as many other construction sites. Of course, the three musketeers will try to run simple – meaning they will try to deliver a simple roadmap. After all, SAP isn’t complicated, just complex, right? Simplification, consolidation and integration are the order of the day to deliver an agile and simple ERP system.
However, it won’t be that easy. Most SAP customers are happy if their systems run at all – if simple, loud, or complex doesn’t matter. The impending release change to S/4 Hana is further complicating matters.
Because ‘Run Simple’ isn’t exactly a roadmap, SAP needed a new buzzword to reassure its customers. It decided on ‘Intelligent Enterprise’. What was simple, easy and dumb before should now become intelligent. Software won’t be free of errors, support won’t be more customer-friendly, pricing won’t be more clear or manageable, and executive board members won’t give more concrete answers – but at least the enterprise will be more intelligent, right?
The ‘Intelligent Enterprise’ will probably never be more than a vision, just as ‘Run Simple’ could never have become a reasonable roadmap. Buzzwords are plenty, but to his credit, SAP CEO Christian Klein is trying to clean up the messes he inherited. We’ll have to wait and see how fruitful his efforts will be.