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More Reliability, Less Risk-taking

At last week's annual press conference, SAP announced its intention to strengthen its enterprise resource planning (ERP) business and make cuts in programs for sales and marketing/CRM.

“The ERP business’ plans for strengthening, specifically the strengthening of their core, is a positive sign,” commented Jens Hungershausen, Chairman of the Board of the German-speaking SAP User Group (DSAG). “However, it is important to look more closely. SAP’s announcement raises questions for us as a user association: does the business network’s strategy still work for us if customer management’s essential IT processes are no longer developed at the same speed as ERP? What does this mean for the Lead-to-Cash process, which was counted among the core processes, if essential components from the CX portfolio lose priority?

In principle, as an interest group representing more than 3,800 companies, we understand that isolated features or functions may be changed or removed from the roadmap—but only as long as this does not jeopardize the overarching goals. We expect SAP to set out its roadmaps with the direction of their developments as clear milestones. What is needed here is reliability, not further risk-taking. User companies want to associate SAP with reliability, security, and future viability. But if key components of the product portfolio are scaled back, in contrast to previous public announcements, then this calls SAP into question as a fundamentally trustworthy provider.

The SAP architectures in most companies are complex. However, the software manufacturer has not taken this under sufficient consideration. Comprehensive standards, clarity, and investment security are indispensable—especially for cloud solutions. However, the recent announcements about Fioneer and patient management (IS-H) are causing displeasure among user companies. Customers should be able to depend on a reliable SAP portfolio as part of their IT investments. The current portfolio dynamics pose challenges for user companies and partners.

Migration projects cannot be completed overnight. In fact, depending on their complexity, they can take years to complete. In addition, it is unclear how SAP’s many individual initiatives are meant to enact their long-term vision to successfully steer companies into the 21st century. With its strategic announcements, SAP is taking another step in the direction of best-of-breed—and in doing so is accepting that the previous interactions of SAP solutions will become replaceable as a result of the interface switch (API).

Since the launch of S/4 Hana eight years ago, we have come a long way together. Customers have accompanied the implementation of a core product that has remained “unfinished” for years and have invested a great deal. At the same time, we see and appreciate the work that SAP is doing as part of its own transformation. Nevertheless, we cannot yet share the software manufacturer’s assessment that it is now a true cloud company. S/4 Hana’s finalization cannot mean that innovations and enhancements will only take place within the public cloud and that the on-prem and private cloud editions will be forgotten. Binding commitments are needed here to protect the investments that companies and users have already made.

Looking back on 25 years of partnership and constructive cooperation, we see it as our mission to question the status quo and demand further solution development and binding commitments from SAP on behalf of our members. The fact that we are fulfilling our mission in the interests of our members is also demonstrated by the fact that SAP is now no longer propagating a cloud-only approach that cannot be reconciled with companies’ realities. Instead, the software manufacturer announced at the DSAG Annual Congress 2022 that it would be focusing on hybrid scenarios. Although there is still room for interpretation here, we welcome this development and are happy to support SAP in this concrete design for the benefit of all parties involved.”

Jens Hungerhausen, Chairman of the DSAG Board

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