Many SAP customers are asking if S/4 and Hana are only Potemkin villages or if they are truly the revolutionary solutions SAP CEO Bill McDermott makes them out to be.
Some people like to credit Russian Prince Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin-Tauricheski with the invention of fake news and alternative facts. However, this sentiment is historically inaccurate.
He was the lover of Catherine the Great, genius strategist and businessman – but malicious deceit was not one of his talents. His prospering villages were real; only his enemies claimed they were nothing but an illusion, a façade.
Which begs the question: are S/4 and Hana (historically inaccurate) Potemkin villages? At least SAP CEO Bill McDermott might be similarly brilliant at marketing as Grigory once was.
Grigory Potemkin created something exceptional when he was given the chance but chose to hide it from view behind fake house fronts and idyllic backdrop.
Sometimes, it is better to hide real success behind alternative facts. Grigori Potemkin used props to hide enormous military buildings, pompous churches and other successful projects of his. This is not what SAP has been doing, however.
SAP’s Potemkin villages
His program Embrace lets Bill McDermott companionably hug hyperscalers AWS, Google and Microsoft. The program is designed to make customers believe that SAP software is cost-efficiently available anywhere they choose. S/4 aims to convince customers they are preparing for a new ERP era. Hana is supposed to be the key to real-time data analysis.
Behind Embrace, S/4 and Hana hide real products, but their façades send the wrong message. SAP’s merciless licensing models also apply in the AWS, Google or Microsoft cloud. S/4 is easily customizable for SAP partners because its core consists of old ERP/ECC 6.0 code. Hana is just as fast as other in-memory databases.
SAP’s Potemkin villages are not easy to spot at first glance – making it an imperative that customers take a closer look and do not take everything that Bill McDermott says at face value.