Historically and strategically speaking, there has always been a rift between SAP D/A/CH (German-speaking countries) and SAP Global. Trying to fuse them together and just pretending like there are no differences is unmanageable, near impossible – just ask former SAP CEO Léo Apotheker.
Long-standing SAP community members like myself might remember it like it was yesterday: in 2008, Apotheker tried to significantly increase annual maintenance fees. He seemed surprised that customers in the D/A/CH region were so opposed to them while most of the global SAP community accepted the new fees as appropriate – his endeavor failed, by the way, for anyone wondering.
Internationally, SAP customers are used to maintenance fees of well over 22 percent from other IT suppliers. In German-speaking countries, SAP and customers go way back; most of them started out with R/1 and IBM mainframes while the first SAP systems for many international users had been ERP/ECC 6.0 or SAP’s Business Suite 7.
SAP’s many construction sites
This rift is not the only difficulty SAP is dealing with at the moment. The new management is trying to present itself as one unified SAP, but this try at harmony is getting more and more complex.
For example, Huawei is an invaluable SAP partner in China – but the Chinese company is dealing with backlash from the U.S. and Europe. In the U.S., SAP is working closely with military intelligence. It has been public knowledge for many years now that National Security Services (NS2) is an independent U.S. subsidiary of SAP working with government and military officials. This is not uncommon in the U.S., but European customers are having a harder time accepting a military SAP subsidiary.
It’s not going to be easy going into 2020 with this many construction sites to take care of. If SAP co-CEOs Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein will be able to unite all SAP subsidiaries, partners and customers – from the U.S. to China to Europe – under one joint message remains to be seen.