It was not only the supposed deadline of 2025 that made many existing SAP customers doubt the sincerity of the ERP supplier. In recent years, SAP's executive board acted completely detached from the earthly problems of existing customers. "Cloud" was the solution from the board's perspective, but a bugbear for users.
Now the group has rowed back and announced at the Fkom 2020 (Field Kick-off Meeting) in Las Vegas: We are ERP! There was no praise for Hana.
The big cloud fraternization "Embrace" reduced to an exclusive contract with Microsoft from last fall. The result: AWS and Google canceled their traditional sponsorship of SAP Fkom.
AWS is invisible as an Embrace partner. Google tried it with its own booth at the DSAG Technology Days 2020 - according to my subjective observation, the large booth was empty for a long time.
Perception and interest tended toward zero. Embrace also needs a reboot in terms of customer (dis)satisfaction.
The SAP Executive Board has driven the ERP group to the wall in terms of customer satisfaction in recent years - as can be read in the 2018 Annual Report under the heading Net Promotor Score, which was negative for the first time in SAP history. This means that existing customers are very disappointed with SAP and therefore do not recommend the software to others.
However, the SAP Executive Board does not have to pay for this catastrophe of a negative recommendation rate! Without further ado, it was decided that future special payments and bonuses for all SAP employees would also be defined on the basis of customer (dis)satisfaction.
This grassroots actionism sells well in terms of advertising: SAP is listening to its customers again, isn't it? Why all SAP employees now have to spoon out the soup that the SAP Executive Board has brought them remains a mystery.
It seems to be the new SAP style that the executive board is very self-important and detached from all real facts: The well-intentioned maintenance extension 2027/2030 for Business Suite 7 with AnyDB and AS Abap as well as AS Java from the NetWeaver stack is spectacular - only who is going to pay for it?
The technical, organizational, logistical and personnel effort for the five-year maintenance extension is enormous - apart from the necessary license payments to IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.
Steffen Pietsch, Chief Technology Officer at the user association DSAG, has postulated: "Strategy is right. Implementation not yet. Clarity and plannability are lacking." There's no better way to put it, but SAP management is responsible for clarity and planability - not the rank and file, whose bonuses are now to be measured by customer (dis)satisfaction.
One swallow doesn't make a summer, and a maintenance extension doesn't eliminate the problems of SAP's existing customers. Why? Because Steffen Pietsch showed in his DSAG keynote that true customer (dis)satisfaction has other causes: inconsistent use of on-prem APIs and cloud APIs, of business partner definitions and of roadmaps, and sustained inconsistency in cross-application integration.
Despite maintenance extension of SAP Business Suite 7, ERP/ECC 6.0, until 2030, there must be customer (dis)satisfaction because there are no robust statements on AnyDB (see SAP note 2881788) and in SAP note 1648480 a table on the roadmap of the NetWeaver stack (AS Abap and AS Java) is more a search picture than a solution. And of course, in the context of the announced maintenance extension, not only AnyDB and NetWeaver, but also the Compatibility Packs are a construction site for SAP's existing customers.
Perhaps SAP has misunderstood something: Customer (dis)satisfaction is not dependent on applause during a Sapphire keynote, but on the strategies and their implementation. Of course, SAP was right to offer a strategy for the visualization of analytics and Big Data.
Lumira is therefore a product that is widely accepted. Discontinuing Lumira without a migration path in favor of SAP Analytics Cloud is disastrous. Why SAP employees should now be judged by such management decisions remains another SAP mystery. Listening to the wishes of customers should remain a management task.
Asking customers for their opinion is good, but asking customers what to do now is ambivalent: The ERP core competence still lies with SAP, as was emphasized several times at Fkom in Las Vegas.
This means that SAP should also provide appropriate answers and solutions to problems, and not "just" products. SAP must finally become aware of its responsibility in the course of the digital transformation. SAP should be a solution provider and not a product provider.