SAP: A User’s Nightmare
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SAP: A User’s Nightmare

SAP implementations often take longer than expected, are expensive or fail altogether. Is there really no other way?

On the 8th of March, on the cover of the German weekly business magazine “Wirtschaftswoche”, there was a story about SAP. Managing Editor Michael Kroker writes, “SAP: A user’s nightmare. SAP is the leading enterprise software company. But for many customers, implementing SAP systems becomes a nightmare. Projects take longer than expected, are expensive – or fail altogether. However, there is another way.”

Michael Kroker has done his research, and it shows. However, there is one phrase that I cannot agree with. He writes, “There is another way.” However, he should have written, “There was another way.”

The beginning of the new year 2019 marked a turning point in SAP’s successful history.

Once upon a time

For a long time, SAP’s management consisted of many genius minds. There were researchers, controllers, programmers, service staff, financial experts, visionaries, and mathematicians.

Once upon a time, there even was a CEO who liked to solve complex math riddles in his free time and was fluent in SAP’s programming language Abap. His name is Henning Kagermann who has a PhD in physics. He was surrounded by IT handymen with the best possible education and reputation: Gerd Oswald, Peter Zencke, Claus Heinrich, Shai Agassi… just to name a few.

Of course, everything wasn’t perfect back then. SAP implementations often got out of hand, and managers and technicians had to fly to Switzerland to assist Nestle, or to Austria to support Swarovski.

However, back then, the entire SAP community was a family – and a successful one at that. People supported each other, and if something went wrong, SAP fixed it. Henning Kagermann and Gerd Oswald never simply cancelled a project. They always found another way.

Now, a nightmare

Now, SAP’s management consists of sales associates responsible for revenue growth. CEO and salesman Bill McDermott concerns himself more with the stock price than his customers. Letting go of SAP’s top managers, Bernd Leukert and Bjoern Goerke, is only the symptom of a deeply rooted change in SAP’s entire structure. It’s a public farewell to traditions and values.

Once upon a time, there was another way. Now, I am not so sure about that anymore.

E-3 Magazine March 2019 (German)

About the author

Peter M. Färbinger, Editor-in-Chief

Peter M. Färbinger is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher at E-3 Magazine, AG, Munich, Germany. He can be reached at


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  • Poor article..! I agree that product line is confusing but it’s still one of the best ERP .. And not users user doesn’t care all that..he doesn’t chose the product..SAP is a business enterprise facing company and not end end user doesn’t face the dilemma what a IT management team faces.

  • Approximately 70% of all SAP implementations are not successful. This is due to various reasons but most in my opinion most failures are caused by poor project management. Many projects are supervised by System Integrators interested in milking projects and billing hours. When people start taking pride in their work instead of trying to advance their personal agendas, maybe things might improve.

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