By now, we know that RISE was hastily cobbled together at the end of 2020. It’s sadly no longer possible to determine what part ex-SAP chief strategist Anuj Kapur (who had to leave the company in September 2021) played in this. However, we do know that the problem is not and never was Kapur. He is just another anecdote in the SAP personnel merry-go-round. The problem is the vision that SAP’s top management has for its own company.
SAP is a global corporation with international customers. After the departure of former Chief Technology Officer Vishal Sikka, there was immediate criticism of the lack of more international voices on SAP’s executive board, which at times consisted only of old, German men. SAP has now achieved sufficient gender parity, but the question of internationalization remains open.
People like to discuss the complexity of SAP’s ERP. Of course, SAP is complex because the system is universal. No other enterprise software has comparable depth and breadth. For me, its roots and SAP’s success lie in Europe and in the business knowledge that has developed here over centuries. Anyone who has not had the opportunity to get to know and study this culture cannot be a chief strategist for SAP. Anuj Kapur is a prime example: he’s undoubtedly smart and fantastic at what he does, but he lacks the European spirit that is an essential component of SAP’s universe.
Accordingly, we need discourse from the SAP base – from the grassroots – when it comes to SAP’s strategy. User groups are working intensively on correcting SAP’s strategy, but the community needs a grassroots revolution, a renewal by us existing customers. SAP needs critical and constructive voices from the community, not another manager poached from a consulting firm like Roland Berger, Boston Consulting, or Accenture. Perhaps SAP’s new strategy should come more from the heart (the community) than from the head (another executive)?