What Thomas Saueressig is trying to do with Fiori is nothing new at SAP. In 2005, the ERP company tried to hide the R/3 conglomerate under a layer of Enterprise Service Architecture frosting to consolidate the different R/3 modules. Then SAP CEO Henning Kagermann never tired to rave about the sweet, sweet system landscapes that this consolidation promised SAP customers.
Never change a running system!
Of course, it didn’t work. The first disaster was mySAP ERP 2004 with ECC 5.0, and the second was SAP Web AS (Application Server) 6.40 – some executive board members, including Thomas Saueressig, might not even remember them from first-hand experience.
Only a short time later, ERP/ECC 6.0 as core of SAP Business Suite 7 accomplished – and will continue to accomplish until 2030, courtesy of SAP’s maintenance extension – what SAP originally set out to do.
Frosting isn’t cake
Consolidation and harmonization aren’t easy, considering Thomas Saueressig has numerous cloud acquisitions with many different system architectures to consider. Many things have gotten better in the SAP realm as some cloud applications have found their way onto Hana. A technical database integration replaced the superficial frosting in some cases. However, Thomas Saueressig himself was the one to point out that only end-to-end processes add real value to companies’ system landscapes.
Creating end-to-end processes based on master data is no easy feat – which could explain why SAP yet again got out its spatula and slathered everything from cloud to on premises in delicious Fiori frosting.
SAP CEO Christian Klein promised end-to-end integration, and that’s what customers will get – not on a syntactical database level, but on a semantic level. Fiori frosting is generously poured over all the different ingredients that make an SAP system landscape, but – to stay in the metaphor – Christian Klein and Thomas Saueressig neglected to bake the actual cake.
Superficial Fiori integration on a semantic level means that SAP’s unique selling point is lost. If integrating solutions from, let’s say, Salesforce or Adobe isn’t more cumbersome than integrating SAP’s own product, why even opt for the like of Qualtrics? Fiori frosting can be poured onto any solution, after all.