It wasn’t just the former deadline 2025 that had many customers dissatisfied with SAP’s management. In the past few years, executives also seemed to completely ignore on prem. Cloud was supposedly the way to go, but many customers had reasonable doubts.
SAP promises it has seen reason. During FKOM (Field Kick-off Meeting) 2020, it proudly proclaimed: We are ERP! There were no over-the-top praises of Hana. The once ambitious cloud program Embrace has effectively been reduced to an exclusive contract with Microsoft. AWS as Embrace partner is practically invisible. Google is still trying – most recently with a booth at the 2020 DSAG Technology Days – but customer interest is low.
SAP’s management failed to recognize the sign of the times. As a result, customer satisfaction is at an all time low, indicated by e.g. its negative Net Promoter Score (meaning that for the first time, customers would not recommend SAP’s software).
Who has to answer for these catastrophic numbers? Not SAP’s management. SAP employees are now eligible for bonuses and premiums based on how high or low customer satisfaction is. This grassroots activism is a good PR strategy: By prioritizing customers this way, SAP is listening to its customers again, right?
One step forward, three steps back
Another ambivalent example of how SAP is listening to customers again: the new deadline 2027/2030. To extend maintenance for Business Suite 7 with AnyDB as well as AS Abap, AS Java and the NetWeaver stack was the right decision – but who is going to pay for that? Technical, organizational, personnel and licensing challenges lie ahead.
One swallow doesn’t make a summer, and extended maintenance doesn’t solve all of customers’ problems. Customer dissatisfaction roots in so many things: inconsistent on-prem and cloud APIs, confusing business partner definitions, half-baked roadmaps as well as lack of integration.
Despite extended maintenance for Business Suite 7 until 2030, customer dissatisfaction still runs rampant because there are no clear, solid statements regarding AnyDB or NetWeaver, not to mention the compatibility packs.
Another construction site: SAP Lumira
The ERP company seems a little misguided in general. Of course it’s the right decision to offer customers a strategy for visualizing analyses and big data – Lumira enjoys high customer acceptance, after all. However, it’s the wrong decision to cancel Lumira without a clear migration path to SAP Analytics Cloud.
Asking customers for their opinion is the right thing to do but asking customers what to do is another thing entirely. SAP needs to realize how big a role it plays in customers’ digital transformation. SAP is the ERP company, and customers look to it for answers and solutions, not just products.