Critiquing the SAP 2021 organization roadmap

Catrina P. Smith

Earlier currently, Thomas Sauerresig, Executive Board of SAP for SAP Item Engineering utilized LinkedIn to point at a story attributed to Jan Gilg, President SAP S/4HANA at SAP that appeared on Forbes BrandVoice entitled: 2021 Tech Predictions For A New 12 months That Can’t Appear Rapidly Adequate. Long time diginomica visitors will know that we favor unpredictions but that fact this story was posted on BrandVoice tells you all you need to know about how SAP applied that media as a way of telegraphing its business enterprise roadmap for the 12 months. Let us study what Gilg claims as this offers sturdy clues for the knowledgeable consumer looking at its business application approach and the place SAP occupies. 

Source chains stay local

Working with the argument that fragility in the world supply chain forces corporations to assume much more regional sounds great in principle but reconfiguring offer chain equally physically and digitally is considerably from trivial. The subliminal message is that with its deep knowledge, SAP is below to assist but you have to inquire – are there alternate options?

Cloud-based services overtake on-premise services

This can barely be termed a prediction, and by its very own admission in earnings phone calls, SAP’s on-premises business is drifting away. But – and here is the biggie – SAP has nonetheless to get its cloud act jointly. We hope announcements shortly, possible just following Q4 FY2020 earnings that will established out the firm’s eyesight of how they see cloud types. These clarity is very important presented that SAP has attempted, and so much mainly failed, to give a posture from which prospects can make strategic options all around both equally infrastructure and platform. 

Of distinct notice is the stated rationale behind Gilg’s place:

From a technological viewpoint, improved accessibility of data is a single of cloud data’s greatest rewards, as it supports horizontally built-in solutions. When in the cloud, corporations acquire a easier entry route to content material and details, a far more steady software with less operators, and larger transparency, improvements in particular important in work-from-residence environments. Some significant applications will need edge solutions to sustain functionality, but most will transition to cloud-primarily based products and services to assistance digital function, on the web commerce, and other pandemic-made points of lifetime. 

Does that jibe with what clients are searching for? Effectively of course, except that Gilg’s characterization of a ‘simpler accessibility route’ would not always indicate it is simple to use that exact same knowledge in hybrid and various database formats. Far from it. As for on the web commerce, we know SAP has nailed its shades to the Emarsys mast so count on some chat on that front, primarily offered that SAP’s CX person Estaban Kolsky has been teasing the LinkedIn crowd with a promise to expose SAP’s next steps in this location. Kolsky is not only effectively revered in his area but also identified for his sharp elbows when it arrives to critiquing vendor positioning. We shall see just how influential he is been in having SAP to both place and create something the world desires. 

Courses that present incremental benefit will receive the inexperienced light 

Gilg says:

Companies will rapid track small-term assignments that show incremental benefit to the entrance of their roadmaps. The highlight will be on facts as more organizations commence treating it as an asset, exploiting it through analytics or ever maturing AI capabilities, and producing it sharable across the organization.  

His to start with assertion is right. Inquiries from customers and user groups firmly indicate that 12-7 days jobs are likely to be Ok but they should occur with a clear expense/reward and a frugal price tag. Incremental? I am not confident. If anything at all, we see those tasks as created to plug holes or resolve particular issues. If that’s incremental then fine.

On the facts aspect, this is a obvious engage in for SAC or SAP Analytics Cloud but buyers are previously seeking at alternatives where communications providers are baked in – feel PowerBI and 365 from Microsoft as your starting position with a lashing of Zoom. 

2021 jobs will start out with a concentrate of bringing together internal data—but expanding to leverage exterior information by year near

This is taking part in capture up. Analysts have long asked SAP (and other distributors) to clearly show how they consume both interior and exterior info resources as a way of constructing a comprehensive photo on which choices can be taken and upon which system execution can be calculated.

SAP has a specific problem in that its HANA databases is aimed squarely at SAP programs. Why is that a difficulty? Put just, even though SAP continues to be 1 of the most high-priced pieces of the apps puzzle, it is a shrinking part of the over-all small business programs landscape. How about Snowflake?

Of better concern is that this section conflates info with automation and AI. Those are unique difficulties and I am not sure SAP has entirely recognized that you have to address problems in piece components. Gilg states:

These assignments will be close to approach automation and shopper insight enabled by AI.

Okay – that may be some type of endstate but you have to search at the componentry to get a sense of the scale needed for this sort of porojects.

2021 is the yr of the shopper

The most clear and admittedly cynical comment has to be: Oh really? So all those past ‘year of the customer’ statements actually have been BS. Thanks for that. Far more basically, you could collapse this back again into the cloud-primarily based services critique. Gilg claims that:

Consumer experience will drive all business decisions as organizations press to make every part of the purchaser journey seamless. The old difference between front office and back office will go away.

No it will not likely. I won’t be able to believe of an field in which we are remotely near to ‘seamless’ anything at all. Colleagues have rants, case studies, posture evaluation bundled in around 4.600 of our stories covering the CX concern. They all clearly show items of the puzzle but none of them would assert the sort of endstate Gilg indicates. Phil Wainewright has talked about XaaS and the frictionless enterprise for decades and when he is optimistic, it truly is anything but a accomplished offer. Somewhere else, HfS has aggressively pushed the OneOffice roadmap and mantra but they see this as a multi-year venture. 

For myself, I see much also numerous going pieces and gaps in the consumer journey for Gilg’s statements to be just about anything other than aspirational. 2021 is not a yr to be aspirational about just about anything but about having matters completed as under no circumstances in advance of. 2020 was the effortless portion. Spinning up Zoom occasion and organizing virtual events was barely hard technically but the significantly more substantial issues associated with executing business enterprise are significantly from solved. Merely talking about a collapse amongst front and back again business may well sound attractive but of itself it’s ‘meh.’ 

ERP programs will evolve to control persons, income, materials AND normal sources

Gilg says these techniques will be considerably much more modular. I hope he’s ideal but I’d like to see the detail describing both equally what that signifies and how it functions. Gilg also takes advantage of this component to make the sustainability participate in, a subject I know is close to CEO Christian Klein’s heart. It is really a wonderful thought and just one that I personally hope gains traction. Even so, there are vital cultural hurdles to defeat and a prerequisite to rethink what enterprise usually means outside of 2021. It can be a subject to which I will return in a different tale. Correct now, the recurring theme in many industries is about survival. Wherever is SAP’s agenda there? 

Each working day will be a funds administration day

I’m pleased to hear SAP say this despite the fact that I sense it is a tad late in the day. SAP has to recognize that their dollars administration alternatives are not the only types out there and that they should really actively look at partnering. A single curiosity in this aspect is Gilg’s statement that:

With so many unknowns in our long term, income administration will elbow out past priorities this kind of as automation, optimization, and charge reduction. All those areas will continue to be critical but just take a back again seat to cash administration, money circulation, and liquidity.    

Isn’t that contradictory to what has gone just before? If not then how will SAP existing the funds argument even though at the exact time encouraging clients to invest on ‘automation, optimization and charge reduction?’ I have no doubt that dollars administration remains prime of thoughts but it has to be tempered with considered investing, consequently why the short-term challenge piece of the over-all roadmap puzzle makes feeling. 

My acquire

Irrespective of its significant products portfolio SAP can’t be all issues to all folks and it is aware of that. Although I admire Gilg’s exertion to lay out some of the 2021 themes, most of them have a emotion of response relatively than professional-action set gainst that portfolio. The included subject areas are all on the C-suite agendas albeit with distinct emphases, dependent on which market you are searching at and the players in just those people industries. In my view, SAP wants to be more bold and expansive but without the specter of multi-yr, overly sophisticated initiatives. In this article, I suspect the sustainability tale has legs that were being not clear in 2020 but that requires a unique tactic to the ‘its great for the planet’ punchline. 

Lacking from the checklist is a dialogue about industries. Sellers that made the industry engage in in 2020 did very properly as prospects grappled with field precise complications. All over again, SAP is aware of this is an challenge for its prospects but in this story at minimum, chose to continue being silent. 

At last and perhaps adjacent to the industries tale, Gilg chose not to say everything about IIoT. Once more I see this as a skipped chance but then it is probably a reflection of how its Leonardo challenge unsuccessful, demanding a reboot that’s below dialogue. In that context, I note that we haven’t talked about Leonardo in more than a yr. 

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