SAP has gotten a lot of work done over the past two years. The young team around SAP CEO Christian Klein is hard at work, but obviously no one thought to communicate the good deeds. Because of the lack of communication, many accomplishments were misunderstood and misinterpreted.
For example, at the DSAG Technology Days 2022, Juergen Mueller praised the successes of his team in the area of business warehousing and SAP Analytics Cloud. Many resources have been invested to improve the user experience in terms of speed and operation. When asked to specify what exactly they needed to improve about the speed of the SAP warehouse, which is supposedly based on the fastest in-memory computing database, Hana, Mueller had to correct himself: Of course, no one in Walldorf has touched the Hana database, because it really is above any doubts when it comes to performance. The improvements only affected the frontend and apps. It was a matter of optimizing the Java code and other processes upstream of Hana.
In this case, Juergen Mueller gave a simple explanation that everyone could understand, but this cannot hide the sad fact that SAP’s basic communication is in great need of improvement. The reasons for the gaffes, mishaps, and lack of communication are difficult to pin down: Is it inability, disrespect for the SAP community, negligence, lack of resources, or simply sloppiness? I don’t know. However, what I do know is that it has disastrous effects on the SAP community.
Because of the company’s size, no SAP board member can now talk personally to every customer or SAP community member. SAP must rely on platforms for communication such as user groups and E-3. For the distribution of information to work successfully, it must start with verified content, and that can only come from SAP itself. However, finding the right tone and the right content is not a trivial task, and the SAP community is not a consolidated mass, but a very heterogeneous entity.
This has become increasingly evident, the most recent SAP Annual General Meeting one in a long line of examples: Shareholders and shareholder representatives debated SAP’s age clause and whether Professor Hasso Plattner can or even should run for another two-year term as head of the supervisory board.
From the perspective of SAP customers, this discussion may seem petty and irrelevant: Do two years on the supervisory board really matter, compared to their massive S/4 conversion projects? Instead, shareholders should have been asking questions like: Are Hana and S/4 still relevant to the times? What comes after S/4? And, in the absence of a strategy and vision from the executive board and supervisory board, will SAP shares still have any value at all in 2030?