SAP should include explanations for its customers in their ERP contracts. I of course don’t want to interfere with SAP CEO Christian Klein’s agenda; he and his colleagues on the executive and supervisory boards are busy looking for a way forward for the ERP world market leader, after all. Shouting from the sidelines is counterproductive and thus forbidden—and this applies to everyone in the SAP community, including analysts and journalists.
However, it seems unforgivable to me that Christian Klein would talk about RISE and offer “cloud only” as a solution. Not long after, he changed his tune to “cloud first”. Then, since neither a private nor a public cloud service proved enticing enough, he brought out the “hybrid cloud” marketing gimmick. Is there a rationale behind this? My impression is that Christian Klein has lost his compass and is resorting to merely repeating what he thinks others want to hear.
From this point of view, my former DSAG (German-speaking User Group) colleague Andreas Oczko is in the right: we, the audience at the DSAG Annual Congress, are not required to simply take whatever SAP throws at us lying down. There must be a middle ground between flattery and insult, and that begins with SAP’s obligation to justify its actions. Andreas Oczko’s wake-up call to SAP in Leipzig, Germany at the 2022 DSAG Annual Congress was both important and appropriate. In the heat of the moment, Oczko overshot the mark, but that shot was heard around the world (of SAP).
SAP refuses to make clear statements, especially on the subject of cloud computing. Away from the public eye, the ERP company is quite content with crown jewels like Hybris, which is currently called BRIM and stands for Billing and Revenue Innovation Management. This on-prem product generates a good deal of revenue. However, it does not fit neatly into the current cloud mold and is thus given the cold shoulder.
In contrast, the cloud-only product IBP, Integrated Business Planning, is often mentioned and praised everywhere as the successor to the on-prem APO, Advanced Planning and Optimization. Unfortunately, IBP is a real challenge to use, so in the area of supply chain planning, some SAP partners offer less sophisticated alternatives. This is another case where it would be helpful for SAP to offer its customers some form of explanation. For example, why is there no IBP Light which—even with all the disadvantages it would imply—could also be customized on-prem?
SAP customers live in a disruptive and fragmented world. In this situation, SAP providing a justification for their hybrid option would be especially helpful. The 2022 DSAG Annual Congress’ theme “In Search of …” clearly showed that the community is in search of guidance, of explanations as to why things are the way they are—in other words: SAP, please give us an answer!
The SAP Executive Board’s silence on extremely important issues is unbearable. An S/4 under maintenance until 2040 is not the answer. It would be essential to know: what could be the ERP roadmap for 2050? How is Hana developing? What does SAP mean by hybrid cloud? And why does on-prem scare the living daylights out of SAP?
The SAP community and my DSAG colleagues continue to listen attentively and sympathetically to the members of the Executive Board, Christian Klein and Thomas Saueressig—perhaps too sympathetically, however, as Klein and Saueressig speak a great deal, but actually say very little.
Nonetheless, there must still be something left to say, which brings me back to my demand for an explanation, a justification. On my next trip to Walldorf, Germany—SAP’s headquarters—I will attempt to hold my long-time friend on the Supervisory Board and the SAP Executive Board accountable—for the benefit of the entire community.
very helpful article, hopefully it will be useful for everyone who sees it.