Blog Editor-in-Chief

Sapphire: Pinocchio in Barcelona

The irrelevance that led to the end of the European Sapphire many years ago continued unchanged this year in Barcelona. After the pandemic, many customers and partners hoped for a new beginning, structurally speaking, but SAP CEO Christian Klein did not deliver. The mildest verdict was that he always tells the same story, says the same thing.

The fact is that Christian Klein now communicates in a completely incoherent manner. First, he announces the sale of Qualtrics, but later emphasizes the importance of customer experience, which Qualtrics was known for. He promises hybrid landscapes, but in the same breath claims that ultimately everything will end up in the public cloud. He emphasizes the importance of SAP partners for digital transformation, and yet at the same time he excludes them through missing interfaces on BTP, SAP Business Technology Platform. Christian Klein unabashedly contradicts himself and has thus become a Pinocchio at the Sapphire event in Barcelona.

Consistency and stability sound different

The SAP CEO is well within his right to sell companies after acquisition, especially if doing so turns a profit. The purchase of Qualtrics was not without controversy, and the sale also raises questions about SAP’s strategy. However, a final closing statement at the end of this year could yield a hefty profit. It would seem that all’s well that ends well, if it weren’t for Christian Klein’s irritating insistence on the lasting importance of customer experience. What now? The topic is an important one, but the IT tool that would guarantee customer experience is now being sold. Christian Klein would have had the opportunity to clear up the contradiction at Sapphire in Barcelona—he didn’t.

“Partners are very important”

At his Sapphire press conference in Barcelona, Christian Klein emphatically stressed the importance of SAP partners, but the vast majority of partners have had a different experience. Due to its own shortcomings, SAP needs a few partners, such as hyperscalers, for cloud computing. It needs IBM and Microsoft with its ChatGPT for AI and machine learning. Selected partners are also sometimes useful as support during the S/4 conversion. But if Christian Klein’s vision is anything to go by, then every digital transformation will end in the public cloud. There, SAP reigns absolute and truly needs no more partners.

Private Cloud

Abap modifications have always been a key guarantee of success for SAP’s ERP. Customized modifications brought the desired added value to SAP’s existing customers. In the future, modifications and add-ons will be developed on the Business Technology Platform with Steampunk, Build, and other SAP tools. However, sustainable Steampunk added value will only be available in a private cloud environment, i.e., an on-prem operating model. And this need not be a disadvantage for SAP customers. The only irritating thing is Christian Klein’s insistence on the singularity of a public cloud. At Sapphire in Barcelona, he repeatedly emphasized that many things are possible, but that they will ultimately end up in the public cloud. Is Steampunk then just a mirage?

Any questions, comments, or concerns? Feel free to let us know in a comment below.

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

1 Comment

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  • SAP is misleading its partners and its own salesforce. SAP by publicly pushing RISE only while still allowing customers to migrate to the cloud with perpetual licenses is sending an inconsistent message. SAP becomes irate with partners when they support customers that do this. Further more, SAP still gets additional license revenue for these customers that move to cloud on their own, but does not compensate their sales staff on these license sales since they are not RISE related. SAP should be investing in its SAAS cloud products like S4HANA cloud, btp(aka future proofing-remember that theme from sapphire) rather than pushing managed services in an IAAS model- S4HANA private edition which is not a scalable model.

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