SAP reinforced the two key elements of their overall strategy at SAPPHIRE NOW 2014:
1. SAP’s product strategy will be HANA centric
2. The move/push to Cloud
SAP’s mantra for customers is changing from “run better” to “run simpler” under the slogan “Simplify everything, so you can do anything”. Their formula for simplified technology is cloud + SAP HANA aided by simplifying the user experience and pricing model. Everything revolves around simplicity.
“The most intractable challenge of our time is complexity,” Bill McDermott said in his opening keynote address. “SAP has a bold vision for the future of business. We see a dream for a simpler world, a simpler SAP and a simpler customer experience. In support of his CEO’s day one message, Hasso Plattner in his day two keynote said: “It is not a marketing slogan, to be simple; it is a necessity that we fight the complexity we have experienced over the last 25 years.”
Announcements in support of a future on HANA and simplicity include;
- Upgrades to the SAP HANA platform. New features include mobile, analytics, data services and cloud integration services. More specifically, SAP released a new service pack 8 for HANA.
- A Test and Evaluation Program for SAP HANA. Working closely with the partner ecosystem SAP plans to offer customers broader choice, ease of deployment and simplified IT environments. The aim of the program is to allow customers to leverage existing IT infrastructure investments for HANA.
- SAP Simple Finance, running on the HANA Database. Finance departments will be able to run all their mission-critical processes in real time on the cloud, including planning, accounting, treasury, financial operations, risk and compliance. This has been done though simplifying the architecture and removing aggregates. Simple Finance will be available via subscription. It will be possible to link it with other SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications as well as on-premises deployments. Simple Finance will be launched for 25 industries and in more than 50 countries.
- All applications will have eventually have “Simple” versions. Although detailed roadmaps and timing are yet to be made available.
- Enhancements to “Simple” versions will be available to SaaS customers immediately, but availability of improved functionality will be delayed to on-premise customers.
- A partnership with eBay. This partnership will join together the largest business network (Ariba) and the largest consumer market place in the world. The other announcement was on getting away from age old payment by cheque through real time payment by Ariba Pay . The convincing effort around HANA could be seen as both encouraging and troubling. SAP stands unified behind HANA, and if the information they presented is correct, it does offer a chance for businesses to streamline their cloud applications. But the fact that SAP still feels the need to hard-sell the concept could be indicative of hiccups the company is experiencing with its own customers as it encourages them to make the migration. In an admission that not all companies will adopt the new SAP strategy at the pace SAP would like, Hasso said “The user can decide when they want to make the transition. This is a mistake we made before.”