A paradox: SAP appears unchanged, even though great efforts are made in programming, customizing, and consulting. There are meetings, online events, and a 50th anniversary celebration with almost 1,000 guests and many anecdotes from the past. There are invitation-only Sapphire Now events all over the globe. And yet, everything appears exactly the same as in previous years.
A closer look at the state of things, however, shows that nothing is really happening at SAP: The company appears frozen in time, motionless and rigid. No one is really doing anything. Nothing significant, strategic, or visionary is happening. The only message for the future: We will keep S/4 in maintenance until 2040. Nothing else is happening – but doing nothing is not an option!
Paralysis in the community
One example: The popular and successful SolMan needs a successor for the cloud computing age. Theoretically, ILM, Information Lifecycle Management, could succeed SolMan, but there has been no further development for three years. There are SAP partners who are waiting for a resurrection and revival. Until that happens, they, too, are frozen in time, motionless and rigid.
Clearly, there is a paralysis emanating from SAP that has now gripped large parts of the SAP partner community. Who will blink first? Who will communicate first? Or do we no longer need to communicate with each other?
Journalists writing for WiWo have calculated that SAP CEO Christian Klein has destroyed around 60 billion in stock market value over the past two years. If the DAX had developed similarly to SAP, the index would currently stand at around 8,500 points. The alarm bells should be ringing 24/7 at SAP and in the partner community. This crisis has already reached SAP’s customers. They are reacting and verifying new IT partners because users know that doing nothing is not an option.
The price for doing nothing
The calm and indifference with which Christian Klein and many managing directors of SAP partner companies are currently acting seems puzzling. While many SAP customers are looking beyond their familiar horizons to find interesting logistics, IoT, AI, and HR offerings, doing nothing seems like a plausible option to them.
SAP customers will remain SAP customers, but inaction by SAP and some partners will force them to reduce their share of SAP-based solutions – to the benefit of ServiceNow, Salesforce, Workday, Oracle, Microsoft, Google, IBM, and AWS. A lot of functionalities that used to be delivered by SAP will come from competitors in the future. SAP is paying the price for many years of doing nothing.