SAP customers are loyal. Our robust foundation are R/3 and ECC 6.0. AnyDB with Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle works well for the most part. According to a joint survey by the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) and the German-speaking SAP User Group (DSAG) in April and May 2021, both user groups generally regard SAP as somewhat or very trustworthy (ASUG: 80 percent; DSAG: 72 percent). However, the survey also highlights SAP’s shortcomings when it comes to providing answers and a clear path.
The survey shows that customers are willing to accept S/4 and Hana, but SAP has yet to answer many of their questions. I fear that it’s not because SAP is willfully ignoring customer demands – it’s because the ERP company itself doesn’t know the answers. SAP customers might be loyal, but we are not willing to abandon what works (R/3 and ECC 6.0) for an uncertain future with S/4 Hana.
I don’t have answers, either – I only have more questions. For example, how can SAP customers leave the cloud without on-prem licenses? Does SAP offer an exit strategy? What will SAP do about customers having to pay double for Hana and AnyDB? What will FUE’s (Full Use Equivalent) impact be: higher or lower cloud subscription fees? Who’s better, Signavio or Celonis? Is S/4 after so many years still modern enough? What will become of MaxAttention? Does the on-prem model have a future?
We are SAP
SAP customers might be loyal, but they won’t turn a blind eye to SAP’s unresolved problems. Many executives like Hasso Plattner, Gerd Oswald, and Henning Kagermann have built a solid, sustainable foundation for SAP’s business to flourish. Recent success boasted by CEO Christian Klein and CFO Luka Mucic is largely still based on that foundation. SAP’s current executive board has yet to prove that they can create something similar.
Christian Klein and his executive board have solved many challenges, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about creating products, strategies, and visions that in turn birth new products, strategies, and visions. Right now, all we have is an 18-month roadmap. But what about the next ERP generation? What happens after 2030?
I for one will retire in 2030. But until then, I need to decide in which direction to take our SAP landscape. Making decisions about SAP software often feels like commandeering a tanker: There’s no immediate effect when changing course or braking. Any action you take can only be felt a few miles later. So, I really need SAP to explain to me what will happen after 2030, preferably in the next two years.
Communication is key
Christian Klein has to learn how to communicate with customers – not through user groups like ASUG and DSAG or expensive events. He has to leave SAP’s echo bubble to engage in open discussion with the SAP community, who is in dire need of answers.