In the ‘good old days’, the IT department ordered a bunch of SAP licenses, a central database, some Abap servers and enough client PCs. A few years later, R/3 or ECC 6.0 were fully customized and integrated in core processes.
Then, a shift took place: some CIOs (Chief Innovation Officers) got more and more skeptical of SAP’s cost-effectiveness – did the high price really match the delivered performance? In their pursuit of more efficiency, they didn’t stray far from the SAP community; SAP partners offered them suitable alternatives and innovative add-ons. Even though ERP/ECC 6.0 remained and to this day remains the base system, digital transformation and innovation can also be achieved with non-SAP solutions. As soon as SAP heard, sales team shifted their focus to the individual departments – often leaving the CIO out of the decision.
This development – and SAP’s past tendency to buy any cloud app that didn’t run away fast enough – lead to uncontrolled growth of IT landscapes, leaving CIOs to clean up the mess. They not only have to consolidate and integrate numerous different IT systems and cloud apps inside their own company, but also have almost no choice but to follow SAP into a Hana-only, multi-cloud future.
SAP and customers alike have to try to control the proliferation of cloud apps, databases and systems – a worthy challenge for SAP’s CEO Christian Klein and his two management colleagues Juergen Mueller and Thomas Saueressig.