Despite their best efforts, SAP CEO Christian Klein has been treading water more than he’s made real progress. He knows just what to say to soothe the concerns of customers, but his words are rarely followed by decisive action.
SAP is big, SAP is slow. SAP is diverse and SAP has a complex pricing list – too complex, as German-speaking SAP user group DSAG would say. Over the past few years, SAP has been busy acquiring instead of integrating. Many genuinely good ideas and advice have been lost in the fray.
Christian Klein is really trying. Their public appearances have been met with lots of praise and approval. They are likeable and enthusiastic – but a friendly attitude won’t be enough to renew – or at least rescue – SAP.
SAP is really trying
The software in general and especially Hana are exceptional, but the structures are lacking. Over the past few months, SAP has been treading water without making any progress on software concepts and IT structures.
Hasso Plattner and former SAP CEO Bill McDermott really tried, too. Their solution was to get rid of dead weight, but unfortunately, they also got rid of some genuinely capable and smart people. For example, former CTO Bernd Leukert was ousted overnight, which only worsened the software chaos at SAP.
No software component in the SAP realm is truly bad, but many of the different pieces just won’t fit together. Harmonizing them becomes an almost impossible challenge. Still, Christian Klein is really trying to create a structured and consistent software concept.
Hana might be the best in-memory computing database worldwide, but it was never designed to serve thousands of SAP customers in a gigantic cloud datacenter. It cannot scale infinitely, meaning SAP never reached the necessary scaling effect. Hana cloud services are expensive, not because SAP is greedy, but because the existing Hana code is not capable of doubling as cloud solution.
SAP is trying, though: there’s a new Hana code for SAP’s cloud which is distinctly different from the on-prem Hana version. The transformation of successful on-prem Hana solutions to the Hana Enterprise Cloud becomes possible. If and when SAP Hana 3 is presented as the new cloud edition is still up in the air, but SAP is really trying.