Blog Last and Least

Humble SAP

This headline is euphemistic; SAP is actually immoderate and rude.

In the end, all is right with the world once more: SAP is increasing cloud subscription and maintenance fees by 3.3 percent, and instead of the SAP CEO Christian Klein announcing this news himself to the DSAG—German-speaking User Group—members at the annual congress in Leipzig, Germany, he sends SAP Executive Board member Thomas Saueressig into the lion’s den.

Christian Klein has many people he needs to please: shareholders, partners, customers, employees, analysts, and journalists. The share price is supposed to rise, but the prices for cloud services, on-prem licenses, and maintenance are supposed to fall. The dilemma of squaring the circle remains.

There is an exit strategy that no one at SAP wants to hear about: more modesty, more openness, more transparency, more partnership, and more communication. If SAP wanted to be become more humble, then it would drop the maintenance fee for ECC, which stands for ERP Central Core and is an enterprise resource planning software. ECC is a discontinued model and has hardly been developed any further. Support for it is standardized and largely automated. With modern IT tools, challenges should be overcome with half the effort compared to five years ago—which would mean the maintenance fee should not increase by 3.3 percent, but instead decrease by five percent every year.

It is euphemistic, evasive, and obfuscating when the headline says, “Humble SAP”. SAP is neither open, nor transparent, nor communicative: the new “invitation-only” format of the SAP Sapphire open house is a perfect example of this. German Telekom is turning the whole of the city of Cologne into a festival site to showcase the future and has organized open panel discussions and street festivals. In contrast, SAP hides and isolates itself, yet philosophizes about cloud and open-source services.

SAP not only needs a successor for Hana and S/4, but also a new discourse for shareholders and customers. What is SAP planning for 2025, 2030, and beyond? Support for S/4 will be offered until 2040, although the cloud ERP is sure to be obsolete by then. However, the rest is still up in the air. SAP makes big claims but delivers very little. Accordingly, the vast majority of SAP statements belong in the realm of euphemisms—metaphors, curse words, cover-ups, or embellishments. A euphemism is a linguistic expression that understates, mitigates, or obfuscates a person, group of people, object, or circumstance. Perhaps the SAP community would use said linguistic expression when speaking about SAP at the DSAG Annual Congress in Leipzig.

E-3 Magazine November 2022 (German)

About the author

Peter M. Färbinger, Editor-in-Chief

Peter M. Färbinger is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher at E-3 Magazine, AG, Munich, Germany. He can be reached at

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