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All of SAP Is Cloud Only

SAP CEO Christian Klein's motto is "cloud only". With this, he is provoking controversy because the world cannot be divided into black and white.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine
January 8, 2024

According to SAP CEO Christian Klein, all customers must move to the cloud and use the cloud-only operating model. While that is an interesting vision, it is unfortunately foundless. The real world is hybrid!

In Christian Klein's vision, the entire SAP community could and should live in the cloud. But that is simply not possible. There are areas that have not yet been developed for cloud computing and because of that users obviously operate an SAP on-prem system. The question here is not whether there are advantages or disadvantages to a digital transformation. It is simply not technically possible.

One area of SAP dominance is called BRIM, and it is currently resisting any cloud strategy. BRIM, Billing and Revenue Innovation Management, is a complex billing system for multiple services and payment methods. An example of a successful BRIM customer is Swiss Post. Nonetheless, there is no need to discuss cloud computing regarding BRIM as it is only available as an on-prem installation.

So far, so good? Unfortunately not! This summer, Christian Klein announced to financial analysts that AI and similar innovations would only be available to SAP cloud customers. Chatbots, assistants such as Joule, Copilots for Java and JavaScript, the Green Ledger and more to come will not be available to traditional on-prem customers.

Financial analysts were impressed with this cloud-only strategy, and SAP's share price hit a new high this fall. Once again, Christian Klein has gotten it right, and on-premises customers are losing out.

 Unruly or logically consistent? The SAP on-prem community is neither malicious nor recalcitrant, but consistently rational. How are SAP users supposed to move to the cloud when, eight years after the introduction of S/4, the cloud version offers only the same functionality as the on-premises offering, and nothing more? How can an SAP customer move to the cloud if there is no exit strategy? What should a user do if his SAP solutions are only available as an on-prem solution?

SAP S/4 was an on-prem system from the beginning, see the presentation by Professor Hasso Plattner and former SAP CEO Bill McDermott in New York in 2015. Much later, S/4 became a sufficiently usable cloud offering through a lift and shift strategy. It will take many years before SAP has conquered the last on-prem area, because cloud is merely a vision.

The cartoon by Robert Platzgummer (1975 to 2016) was first published in the May 2002 issue of E3. This very early illustration by the late E3 cartoonist shows customers' resistance to the global ERP monopolist SAP, which already existed at the time.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine

Peter M. Färbinger, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief E3 Magazine DE, US and ES (, AG, Freilassing (DE), E-Mail: and Tel. +49(0)8654/77130-21

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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.